PHOTO BY Roy Inman
Designer Eric Negrete takes a break from creating upscale residential and commercial designs to chat with KC Magazine about his take on Kansas City.
1.Tell us, Eric, what do you do?
I’m the owner and interior designer of design Eric Negrete (dEN). I’ve designed spaces for Indigo Wild, Hotel Phillips and Cellar Rat, a host of residential and commercial clients, and I'm doing an outdoor space for Lidia's.
2.How would you describe your own design aesthetic?
My personal design taste is eclectic. I like a little bit of everything.
3.What is one piece of design advice everyone should know?
Remain true to one’s authentic self. As a design professional, I want to get a clear understanding of the clients’ personalities and lifestyles to meet their needs and expectations of their authentic selves.
4.How has the KC design industry evolved over the years?
Just in the past decade, there is a noticeable growth of the various art forms in Kansas City: architecture and design, culinary arts, performing arts, visual arts and so on. Technology also has played a major role in bringing the far reaches of the world much closer to each of us. It has allowed us to immediately experience other lands and cultures without having to leave our computers.
5.If you could throw out one design trend right now, what would it be?
I think American product designers have gone overboard in designing eye-catching packaging with enough paper and plastic to spot the product from 50 yards away! In most scenarios, the product is one-fifth the size of the packaging, which is immediately disposed of once brought home. When I’ve traveled abroad, I’ve noticed how conservative they are about packaging. The product is allowed to stand alone and sell itself. The display is much more modest but impressively beautiful without being as plastic and wasteful as its American counterparts.
6.You served as a judge for our Design Excellence Awards this year. What did you think of the crop?
I was impressed with the number of submitted projects. There are definitely some strong designers with incredible projects.
7. Where does Eric Negrete go for dinner on a Saturday night?
I have a number of favorite standbys: Bluestem, Michael Smith, Story, El Patron or The American.
8 What makes you proud to be a Kansas Citian?
Being a part of one of the best art worlds in the country and serving on the board of the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City.
9 Who is the one person in Kansas City that you want to meet?
Someday, I want to shake the hand of a local entrepreneur who supersedes Mark Zuckerberg.
10. Finally, if you have a free afternoon on your hands, how do you spend it?
Exploring and discovering what’s new in our city. I recently had the privilege of meeting the great group of students, teachers and administrators at Pioneer Charter School. I was refreshingly inspired.