“It is my deep belief that design is an act of invention. Its real task begins once functional, emotional, and transformative needs are satisfied. It is not a hunger, but love and fear, and sometimes a wonder which make us create. Our aesthetics may change over time but this task remains the same.”

— Ilan Waisbrod, President

“true visionaries who absorb and interpret culture and design rather than just echo the latest trends.” – barry sternlicht (former ceo of starwood hotels, w mexico city reference)

“at studio gaia, we continually seek clients with whom we can explore the possibilities of architecture and design with while challenging the conventions of genre; be it hotels, restaurants or retail projects. By focusing on our passion and the creative potential of our work, we continue to thrive both as designers and human beings.” – ilan waisbrod, president and ceo of studio gaia.


Established in 1998, Studio GAIA trailblazed a fresh and innovative language in the hospitality field that transcends the conventional and explores the senses with a unique, elegant approach incorporating drama, movement, vitality, tension and energy, starting with Republic, Cafeteria and BondSt – signature New York City restaurant landmarks.

Seamlessly leading into the next phase of the brand’s expansion, Studio GAIA spearheaded the interior design of W Hotels movement into two major competitive markets outside of the US: Latin America and Asia Pacific. W Mexico City introduced a fresh concept of interpreting local inspiration into timeless modern design. W Walkerhill Seoul, South Korea shortly followed the success of Mexico City, successfully pushing the envelope of the brand standard to an unprecedented level.

Today, Studio GAIA’s portfolio consists of an array of famed hospitality clientele from Ritz-Carlton to MGM to several recent developments of W hotels, on an international basis truly showcasing the ability to understand, implement and elevate brand standards for each one of the projects. Unique to each project, the design narrative carves out a distinctive story throughout the site-specific project, breathing life and personality into each design.


Studio GAIA’s aesthetics follow a philosophy of creating an emotional exuberance through bright, vivid colors and strong visual statements. In every detail and facet, Studio GAIA encompasses travel, discovery and surprise elements throughout. The geometries and forms evoke a sense of movement and dynamism through the space, giving a nod to the elementary. Playing with the juxtaposition between the light and the dark, we strike a balance by using minimal elements, focusing on light and perspective – resulting in a complex space, achieved through simple, yet meticulous gestures.

The studio’s vision of architecture and interior design is inventive, sculptural and meaningful. The results divert from all forms of standardization. Instead, the design provokes sincere and pleasurable sensations as it thrives to create dynamic aesthetic forms, while carefully meeting the pragmatic requirements of the users.

The greatest challenge and achievement in all our projects are finding the perfect balance between modern and contemporary, simultaneously distilling design language to stand the test of time. The style is most certainly modern, yet not minimalist at all – simplicity translates into sleek modernism, while elegance of the warm color palette creates a harmonic atmosphere and spiritual comfort, ultimately fostering a sense of belonging and longevity.

The final design fosters extremities, such as vivid social interaction, paired with serene calmness. The space can be both restful and playful, leaving a memorable experience. We believe design is defined within the experience – the experience of the individual traveling through the space. As one experiences Studio GAIA spaces and forms, they acquire subtleties, richness in beauty, from the micro to the macro, to the overarching design – this leads the team to create designs that are a true celebration of the senses, converging modernity and warmth with a twist of theater.

A keen appreciation for how people interact with space and how that space becomes the experience has lead Ilan to create interiors that are a true celebration of the senses – modern, warm with a twist of theater. To design timeless spaces that are connected to their surrounding is what motivates and drives Ilan and Studio GAIA. With his philosophy he is shaping the way, we experience the world from the inside out.

Design Observations

One travels to escape routine and experience new sensations. Consumer’s appetites for originality is increasing. People are seeking places that are comfortable, elegant and ultimately encourage togetherness. Expectations of the guest’s experience elevate as time passes. Design is now considered one of the main criteria for guests when choosing where to stay.

Ilan perceives a common denominator in the design of a restaurant, bar or hotel: “When designing a hospitality or leisure location, our goal as designers is to create a dramatic, theatrical character with the aim of inspiring the guest with excitement on one hand, and comfort and pleasing aesthetics on the other. The combination of our talents guarantees creativity while also challenging the familiar, beloved genres, with the aim of creating an experience that appeals to all senses.”

We travel to escape routine and experience new sensations. The social diversification has grown during the recent years and has generated new types of clients, anxious for new products and scenes. Contemporary hotels inspire excellence not only in client service but in material and spiritual comfort as well.