All, Features, Life

The transatlantic team that designed The Ned

Alice Lund is based in London; Adam Greco in New York City. Together, they led the design of our biggest opening to date. They explain how they worked together across an ocean

Alice Lund When it comes to design, the collaboration process is not as high-tech as you might think. We talk on the phone. A lot. Several times a day. But we also send plenty of emails, and there we need to be more mindful of the words we’re using. Luckily, Adam and I have very similar professional temperaments, and can be direct without offending each another.  

Adam Greco Something I’ve noticed working with Alice is the big difference in how Americans and Brits end conversations. Maybe it’s a New York thing, but we don’t really bother with, ‘How are you?’, or ‘So lovely to hear from you.’ Or exclamation points, or little kisses.

Alice I remember in the early days receiving an email from Adam. He wrote something like, ‘Alice can you revise this immediately?’ and I thought, wow, is he mad at me?

Adam That’s just how we do things in the States. On the other hand, I’ve learned that when Alice writes, ‘Would you mind doing this?’ it’s not a question. It means: get it done right away! Plus, there’s so much separate terminology, even within our profession. We say millwork, you say joinery.

Alice You say pillow, we say cushion. That’s a pretty important distinction when you’re ordering thousands of pillows. The time difference is also a bit of a pain. New York is five hours behind London. 

Adam By the time I arrive in the office, Alice is already well into her day, meaning when I’m switching on the computer and sipping my coffee, she’s ringing me up for an epic rant about all the problems that have arisen that morning. 

Alice When we do get together it’s so great because we can go for a beer. That was a huge turning point the first time it happened. This project would be a nightmare if we didn’t get on so well.

Adam We’ve had the opportunity to go on some really fun trips as well. A supplier took us to Italy to check out the Carrara mountain, which is made of white marble. They drove us right inside.

Alice Standing in a 30-metre high mountain cave with marble on all four sides – I was literally screeching with joy.

Adam We both get super enthusiastic. This is a dream project for us. Alice is great to work with because not only is she a fantastic designer – the embossed leather bar she’s designed for Cecconi’s at The Ned is insane – but she’s a fighter. It’s not easy being a woman in the construction world. She keeps the guys in line, and will happily tell a room full of 30 men they’re doing it wrong. 

Alice It’s infuriating at meetings sometimes. Adam will get the  handshake, the back-pat. Whenever somebody doesn’t shake my hand I instantly, loudly, call them out on it, embarrass them in front of everyone.

Adam She’s bad cop, I’m good cop. Like, every single time. 

Alice Adam was such a great choice for this project. His style, his aesthetic, even the way he dresses lends itself perfectly to The Ned. He’s got his own brand. Wait till you see his signature tassels. There are hundreds of them. 

Adam There are only a few short months to go on the project. I hope we work together again in future. Even if we don’t, I’m positive we’ll pick up the phone from time to time for inspiration, or to pick each other’s brains. 

Alice I need to watch my step sending blunt emails to people when I’m done dealing with Adam all the time. 

Adam I might work on my politeness. Maybe. 

Interview by Andy Hill

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