Perspectives 08.09.2016

15 Minutes With: Meena Krenek

We recently chatted with Meena Krenek, the newly appointed Interior Design Director of our New York studio. Meena’s passion and divergent thinking are evident in her work ethic and bold approach to design. Read on to discover how Meena empowers and inspires through transformative projects.

What is your role at Perkins&Will?

I’ve recently become the Interior Design Director of the New York studio. I foster innovative thinking for provocative design exploration. I really love to be inspired, and to inspire, and be around passionate people who are fearless. I want our office to step away from normalcy and think of bold ways to consider space and the use of space. For example, I want our teams to think about the end user and provide a memorable experience that influences and connects the users to the space.

I participate in the Design Leadership Council, which allows me to elevate the excellence of Interior Design in our practice. I also am a graduate of the Leadership Institute of 2015. This year I was selected to be a rotating member of the Executive Committee.

What are your workspace must-haves?

For me, being inspired never occurs in the same way. My work environment could be at a workstation, in a meeting room with a team, in the shower, in transit, etc. I’m always “on.” Design becomes alive in all forms when I think about projects and design ideas. My favorite experiences typically occur with team members. When I chat with designers, I love the way our ideas feed off each other, and collectively, our ideas become a concept for a project—it’s so cool and rewarding!

In short, a workplace must have the most talented, intelligent, inspiring, creative thinkers! I get excited about our workplace because of the designers that work beside me!

Whether in the office or outside on the streets of Manhattan, working with inspiring individuals is always a part of Meena’s MO.

What’s your most coveted design object?

Well—my object is constantly evolving. I feel the need to always be on the pulse of new ways of thinking, fashion, and design. Recently, I have been thinking about Zaha Hadid and the iconic shoes she developed. The revolutionary design of the NOVA shoe combines innovative materialization and ergonomic considerations with the dynamism of Hadid’s unmistakable architectural language to convey an inherent sense of movement. This combination reveals the experimentation and invention of Hadid’s process through every stage of design and construction.

Zaha Hadid Shoes
NOVA Shoes by Zaha Hadid

Which designer do you most admire–and why? 

Zaha Hadid—the boldness. The beauty and forms. What else can I say?

What’s your dream project–real or imagined?

I would like to be involved in a project that is truly transformative with a capital “T.” Throughout my career, I have helped transform corporate cultures and impacted businesses through effective storytelling; however, I would be honored to work with a client who wants to do something big, opting to disregard normalcy and embrace risk-taking. I’m looking to partner with clients who want to be expressive and bold, pushing design to places that are unthinkable. In order to live up to this aspiration, we need to build mutual trust with our clients so that together, we can explore new design possibilities that positively transform all aspects of their businesses.

60 Second Charrette: Take a minute and sketch us something that embodies your design philosophy
“A House for All”

If you weren’t in your position at Perkins&Will, what would you do instead?

I would design jewelry, or be a full-time student, or be a design professor, or be a Soul Cycle instructor (random, but could help inspire others!)

What lesson would you share with the next generation of designers, or what do you wish someone told you as you started your career?

Think big. Never let a contractor or another designer tell you that you can’t get something built. Question everything. Be curious about all things. And learn how to listen. Listen between words and emotions, and you will build trust with all team members and clients!

In ten words or less, why does design matter?

Design matters because creative problem solving can change the world.


Discover more about Meena’s design inspirations on Interior Design.