Hospitality, Interior Design, & Collaboration feat. Karl Travis (Hager)

Build Our Future Podcast
Episode 36
Guest – Karl Travis


Our guest this week on the Build Our Future Podcast (Ep. 36) is Karl Travis – partner and senior interior designer at the Hagar Design International Inc. based in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Following building a successful background in the restaurant industry, including partnering at a restaurant in Whistler, BC, Karl Travis decided to pursue his passion for innovating the hospitality industry through interior design. He earned his diploma at Algonquin College in Ottawa and has spent almost 20 years working in design.
Since being founded in 1984, Hagas Design International Inc. designs have included hotels (boutique and resorts), restaurants, pubs and bars, retail stores, commercial spaces, and senior living centers.

What you will learn:

  • What was Karls beginning in the hospitality industry like?
  • How did Karl get started as an interior designer?
  • Is interior design more about natural talent, or acquired skills?
  • How collaborative of a field is interior design?
  • How to modern technologies facilitate interior designers?
  • Why is the lighting in a restaurant so important?
  • How do interior designers work with contractors, architects, and decorators?
  • Are daytime TV interior designers the real deal?
  • Can interior design be done sustainably?
  • What are alternative methods for interior designers?

They said what?

  • “I got to give kudos to everybody in the hospitality business because it’s tough. And it’s a day-to-day struggle. I didn’t want to do that again.” – Karl Travis
  • “I had an owner when I was a manager in Whistler, and he was a very prominent restauranteur. I remember one of the first things he said to me when he brought me on as a manager, as he says, “first you have the food, then you have the service, then you have the atmosphere”. All the rest after that are mechanics, right?” – Karl Travis
  • “If you buy a fixture at Home Depot, and you buy a fixture through a commercial supplier, that light fixture will last 50 years. And in the end, you probably have to buy 10 of those Home Depot fixtures to last as long, right? Do the math – it’s gonna cost you more!” Karl Travis
  • “ When it comes to lighting though, that’s the most important aspect of the whole build. I mean, you’re spending a lot of money [the client], to have some very interesting, textural finishes, and so forth. It doesn’t make any sense if you can’t see it, right?” – Karl Travis
  • “I’m not gonna knock decorators. I just think it’s important for the general public to understand what a decorator can do, and what an interior designer can do. Because there are limitations. And even for us, there are limitations. Because we can’t do what architects can do.” – Karl Travis
  • “The atmosphere is what we do. That’s what we create. And it’s the top three. It’s not food, it’s not service, but it’s the atmosphere. And the atmosphere is the place and the food and service work together with that to create the ambiance, and the energy of that space.” – Karl Travis
  • “ When it comes to sustainability, anything that we put into space is taken out of out of the whole scheme of thing. We’re human beings we need to cover ourselves with materials. It’s how you go about sourcing those materials. Recyclability is always at the forefront of your thoughts, right?” – Karl Travis

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