In addition to working with artists from across the globe, we also have a team of world-class artists in our studio.

Neela Kler has been a designer at FBFA since 2014. An integral member of the design team, Kler contributes regularly to benchmark projects, lending her acute eye and keen aesthetic to a breadth of projects. We checked-in with our talented team member to learn more about her artistic process and design approach.

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Explain a bit about your art background. What is your artistic practice primary based around?

I have a diploma in Fine Art from the University of British Columbia, Okanagan and a Bachelor of Fine Art from OCAD University and at both institutions my focus was on sculpture and installation, which gave me a perspective on space and dimension. After art school I freelanced as a graphic designer before coming to FBFA. My personal practice outside of FBFA is rooted in collage and sculpture that is informed by studies of color and surface, explored thorough painting.

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What kinds of different materials and processes do you employ when creating new content?

When creating content for FBFA I often like to work with scanned textured of various surfaces and objects, there is a richness to these real-life surfaces that keeps the final piece from appearing too flat and gives it a kind of warmth. I then manipulate the scans digitally so everything feels neat and tidy. I love using Photoshop to arrange and layer content and finely tune colors. Of course, I always enjoy creating a good brushstroke and will scan and incorporate those when I can.

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You’re working with a very dynamic range of asks from our clients, how are you able to tailor your skillset for each client?

My time at OCAD definitely fostered a flexible approach to my creative process. Conceptually I like to start from scratch each time and find the right medium and form of expression for each particular brief, I find this always achieves the best results. Instead of trying to fit a design into a preconceived framework, I open up to what makes this client and request unique.

How has working at FBFA informed the way you make your work?

Working at FBFA exposes you to a dynamic range of asks and clients, with varying degrees of complexity to their requests. I’ve learned nuances of regions throughout the US, Canada, and the Middle East. The quick pace challenges problem solving and hones the creative processes overall. It has been immensely influential in my design practice and in hitting the mark as closely and as richly as possible in the first go then adjusting as needed through subsequent conversations. I’ve learned how to read between the lines and cut the fluff—to get right to the good stuff.

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Recently, what trends in hospitality have been exciting to work with?

My favorite new trend is the move in healthcare environments to be less sterile and to warm up spaces using bold colors and design in wayfinding. And more generally, properties that are eager to move the art beyond the framed object and into the entirety of the space, creating a larger narrative through their interior spaces that incorporates art more fully. But having said that, there is a way to achieve this type of wholeness on a smaller scale, too. My favorite projects always start with a rich story for the property, I love to dig into their thought process and add the art, which is often the jewel on a crown that they have crafted.

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This article first appeared in our 2018 Summer Almanac. Contact us for your print or e-copy. 

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