is the Founding Principal and President of , a Houston, Texas based architecture and design firm with professionals in Los Angeles, New York, and Shanghai. The celebrated firm is behind projects that span from architecture, interior design, product design, furniture design, graphic design, branding, and art selection, with companies like Disney, Goldman Sachs, Viacom, New York Stock Exchange, United Talent Agency, Target, Comcast, Four Seasons, Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, and more. Along with her many corporate and hospitality projects, Rottet’s repertoire extends to residential and furniture design, where her furniture and product designs have won four gold medals for the Best of NeoCon. Her latest venture, , is a furniture company launched in 2017 that has garnered much attention along with the Best of Year award from Interior Design. In this Friday Five, the award-winning, multifaceted architect and designer shares her favorite parts of the world and what art inspires her.
1. Experiencing places like in Lisbon, Portugal
Palacio Belmonte is more than the epitome of the perfect boutique hotel; it is an unforgettable experience in every way. Maria Coustols, who adoringly manages the hotel and becomes your best friend, confidante and trusted advisor on all to experience in and around Lisbon, taught me unforgettable lessons about engaging with others, cherishing the past and bringing it into your life in a meaningful, almost spiritual way. When I bought my home in Montauk the day I saw it (after looking for 10 years for a second home near Los Angeles) I remembered Maria telling me the story of her passion for Palácio Belmonte and how she and her husband Frédéric bought it without even seeing inside. I was reassured.
Quote from Frédéric Coustols:
“It’s about knowing yourself…When you travel widely, and mix with people and other cultures and traditions, you take a different view of everything – including your own personal opinions. It’s an exchange; people who come here don’t just take, they always bring something.”
Quote from Maria Coustols:
“Palácio Belmonte is the oldest palácio in Lisbon. The house had been in the same family for more than 500 years. It is a stunning sculpture, a 2198-year synthesis of Portuguese history and culture, located on top of the historical center of the city. When I saw it for the first time from its courtyard, I just felt an overwhelming attraction. My heart started to beat faster. I felt as if I were arriving home. It happened to be for sale and we bought it the next day without even visiting it.”
2. The Bay at Cap Juluca Anguilla
I must be near or on a beach at least six times a year and maybe more. The ability to look out and see nothing more than water and sky, the lack of human intervention, the feeling that all has been lifted off my shoulders and I have nothing to do but enjoy… I take it in so hard the first day that by day two or three I am so inspired to design, I work the rest of the time, but it is not work. The people of Anguilla are lovely and caring and truly enjoy having you join them on their island.
3. At home in Houston (yes, I am a Texan) with family and dogs
Houston is known for the hot, humid weather, but the best-kept secret is the other eight months of 70-degree weather, bright blue skies, shockingly green grass and 10 minutes from anywhere inside the loop. Lilly, my rescue poodle, loves it.
4. Art, and in particular, the artist Theaster Gates for his brilliance and contribution to society
As a child I was taken by my father to every art museum in the U.S. so there is a reason for my passion for art. I cannot go too long without exploring new artists and seeing some art show somewhere in the world. I like to keep it fresh and see different installations in as many different venues a possible. Wherever I am when I see a work of Theaster Gates I am moved both from the enjoyment of the art and the enjoyment of what he gives back to the community and the world in his passion for life.
5. Getting to know the East Coast
I grew up in Houston, went to school in Austin then spent my professional life first in San Francisco then Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles. I had always wanted to work a year or two in Manhattan to round out my U.S. city experience, but that opportunity did not come until 2008 when we started Rottet Studio and opened an office there. I looked for a small pied-à-terre, but after months of searching found I loved to hotel hop and experience all the different brands, styles, food and methods of service. I had never been to the Hamptons and went in the summer of 2011. I love looking at houses, so I pretended to be looking to buy, found a house designed by George Nelson and Gordon Chadwick and bought it the day I saw it – this after looking for 10 years on the West Coast for a second home. I never tire of the two-to-three-hour Jitney ride as when I arrive I am filled with the smells, sounds, color of light, deep rich history and the sea.