Designer Profile: Lacina Heitler Architects

This is the second interview in a new series of Designer Profiles.  Let’s get to know the designers and architects who are specifying DuChateau Floors in their projects. 


Formed in 1995, Lacina Heitler is a full service design firm offering expertise in architecture, interior design, space planning, and project management.  Through an interactive design process, Lacina Heitler creates personalized human experiences within the corporate, residential, and retail projects they design.  Principal Josh Heitler, AIA, filled us in on what’s new with his firm.

Lacina Heitler recently completed several locations for Drybar, a successful “blow dry bar”, and continues to design the company’s upcoming locations, including New York, Dallas and Atlanta.  All nine current drybar locations feature the DuChateau Vernal Collection in San Tropez.

Photography: Clark Dugger / Photos courtesy of Drybar and Lacina Heitler Architects

Tell us about your first job in the design field.
I started like many young architects, doing summer internships with a couple of small design firms.  But I feel like my design experience actually began before that when I did some construction labor and interior finishing work.  Seeing and understanding how things are built in the field has always helped me think about design.

How would you describe the style of your own home?
I would say our home is “natural modern.”  The lines and details are generally clean and minimal but the materials tend to be warm and natural woods, stones, corks, etc.  For me this is the best of both worlds – clean lines and the beauty and character of natural materials.

What inspires you today?
I’ve always been a design generalist so I am interested and constantly looking at all types of design – from cars to toothbrushes.  In general, I am most inspired by designs that subtly innovate and improve on a long standing design problem.  Good furniture design often does this – tables and chairs have been around forever and yet, every once and a while, someone finds a new way.  Apple is another good example – they weren’t the first to make a tablet or smartphone, they just did it better.

What is your most memorable travel destination?
I know it is a bit of cliché for an architect but I really value the semester I spent living in Florence, Italy.  Being there for 6 months, we really got to know the City and I can still remember and see in my mind some of my favorite walks through the streets and Piazzas.  While there was plenty of famous historical architecture, the Italian architects have also come up with many ways to do modern architecture in an historical context.  Not to mention the really great food.

What is your favorite book/magazine on design? Favorite website?
We get a lot of magazines at the office and I try to keep up as much as I can.  Dwell, Architectural Record, Architect and many of the new, sustainable building focused publications are great sources of inspiration and current ideas.

What projects are you working on now?
Besides the many Drybars in development, we are finishing up a large law firm in lower Manhattan, working on some major residential renovations in Connecticut and Newport Beach, and a few new retail concepts including a make-up lounge called Blushington.  We’re also really excited to start a 53-unit supportive senior housing project in Brooklyn with the local community Developer Cypress Hills.  The project will be our first large scale modular construction project.

What’s left on your wish list of design projects?
An art museum is one of those rare opportunities that architects covet.  I am also a great food fan (and wannabe chef) so a restaurant would be an exciting project to tackle.  We’ve also started two major hotel/condo projects in Las Vegas that were stopped or cancelled – so finishing something on that scale would also be satisfying.

Thanks Josh!