We had a chat with Giancarlo Salonga of PDR to learn more about his design approach and how he stays current on cultural trends that affect design.

This is part of our Design Discussions series with designers who attended FWD, a place where we explore cultural trends and design influencers in an inspirational setting. We love to keep the conversations going, sharing design aspirations and what personally inspires these visionaries.

What inspires you personally and professionally?
Personally, stories of people who go out on a limb to find purpose and passion always inspire me. Professionally, researching shifts in work culture almost always provides a source of inspiration that I can apply to my work.

How do you stay current on cultural trends that affect design?
From an aesthetic standpoint, if my research shows that three examples of the same project type show the same look, I’ll think twice before incorporating that same feel for a new project. Programmatically, there always seems to be an ebb and flow with companies figuring out work/life integration, and how it should or shouldn’t apply to designs for them. Making the time to read articles in publications that aren’t specifically about design (like Fast Company) help me gauge this.

Here’s a look at one of Giancarlo’s projects: As part of the planning process for Dominion’s Richmond-area offices, PDR designed a Workplace Pilot to test a variety of workplace solutions to support their long-term goals. This one floor project integrated concepts like flexible design and improved employee wellness to empower work to happen anywhere. Dominion’s Workplace Pilot provided valuable data, metrics and feedback that are now being used to inform design decisions for their new downtown Richmond towers.

What’s next for the future of the design industry?
A continuation of the evolving levels of interaction of different communities with each other; within the office space, within the building, at the street, in the town/city/state/country.

What one building or interior space do you wished you designed?
The Turrell Tunnel that connects two buildings of the MFA Houston always leaves me wanting more.

What are your most favorite things on your desk?
My “stacked” mug by Monica Tsang always gets me weird looks from new co-workers; they think I’m walking around with stack of coffee cups when it’s really just one cup. I also love my faded, metallic, Edelman leather-wrapped measuring tape (which I use almost every day) that was given to me by my former design director. He said he found it while rifling through his garage and thought I would be the only one who would appreciate it.


Giancarlo Salonga
Associate, PDR

As an experienced project designer, Giancarlo understands that a successful project combines the designer’s training and expertise with the physical and psychological goals of the client’s space. Through his active involvement at the inception and exploration of design schemes, Giancarlo’s holistic approach to interior design allows for a better integration of the interior architecture, its corresponding exterior design, and their relationship to client goals and identity. Throughout his design career, Giancarlo has assisted with design implementations for major companies such as Dominion Energy, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Skanska.