Thomas Schlesser

Founder, Design Bureaux

Thomas Schlesser is a designer with over twenty years of combined experience in Architectural, Interior and Product Design. He has been responsible for the design of an extremely diverse range of projects that have provided him with breadth and depth of experience in hospitality, retail, office, and residential projects. Gaining a culturally diverse perspective from having lived and worked in urban settings ranging across the globe he blends his experience and interests to create fresh yet timeless results. His approach is founded upon the intent to create projects that are culturally relevant, environmentally and economically responsible, informed by function and context, and that realize the highest level of craft and design excellence. Rigorous program and design research, close client collaboration and intensive study of the projected audience needs are considered key to achieving beautiful, poetic, and humane projects that are appropriately suited to those who will ultimately live, work and recreate in the realized environments. In recent years he has become increasingly known for his restaurant and bar design work. In this work he explores and celebrates the culture of food and drink with every gesture, form, and material predicated on extensive research into the culinary background and dining experience associated with the culinary vision of the client. In this process historic elements are reinterpreted in a contemporary way and blended with sophisticated spatial environments. He has received numerous design awards and his work is frequently featured in journals and books. He is a three time recipient of the prestigious James Beard Award for Excellence in Restaurant Design. Mr. Schlesser was a senior associate at the architectural firm of KPF in New York before officially opening his own office in 2005. There he was responsible for designing a range of projects including the Shangri-La Hotel in Shanghai, the Samsung Headquarters in Seoul and the CB16 office tower in Paris. Prior to that he worked as senior designer at LDS in Chicago and Din Associates in London. He also held the position of Design Director at Niedermaier where he designed a wide range of retail environments and furniture. He holds a BS from the University of Iowa and an MA from the Domus Academy in Milan.