16 Sep Interview: Elaine Cecconi – Founding Partner
Cecconi Simone is a Toronto-based interior design practice established in 1982 by Elaine Cecconi and Anna Simone. As a result of their talent for designing smart, small space interior environments, Lifetime Developments has partnered with Cecconi Simone on a numerous projects, including INDX, Karma and X2, to create beautiful living spaces. Lifetime had a chat with founding partner, Elaine Cecconi, on her views of working with Lifetime.
LD: What inspires you professionally?
Good design in any form, be it interiors, architecture, graphics/communications, fashion, art, public spaces, visual arts, music, cinema and cuisine. Travel inspires me; it provides exposure to different cultures, cuisine and new ideas. It changes your perspective from local to global.
LD: How do you keep fresh ideas and concepts coming out of your office?
Cecconi Simone is inherently ‘fresh’ in that we challenge ourselves to be innovative and original. Not solely for the sake of doing something ‘new’, it is important that innovation is relevant and economically viable. Our clients are banking on this. We consider complacency the death knell of any person or company.
LD: What is the most memorable milestone for you in your career and/or for your firm?
In my career, it would be the decision to practice interior design as opposed to pursuing work in the field of architecture. This was a game-changer which created the opportunity for Anna Simone and me to create Cecconi Simone.
For Cecconi Simone, we’ve had many milestones that have either taken us into a new direction or projects that were landmarks in the industry. The Merchandise Building launched our firm into multi-unit residential design, in which we paved the way with our designs for small-space, urban dwelling units, units that are highly efficient and smart in their use of cubic feet, not simply square feet. Many of the concepts we introduced at the time  – in-board bedrooms, sliding walls, project-specific kitchen/bath designs – have become standard in the market in urban centres in North America and internationally.
LD: How would you describe working with Lifetime Developments?
We have the highest regard for the Lifetime group. They’re an experienced team yet every project is approached with enthusiasm and a desire to create something unique that’s specific to the site and the neighbourhood in which it is located. They have all the qualities you want in a client: integrity, professionalism, intelligence and a respect for design. And, as an added bonus, they’re fun. It’s really exciting for Cecconi Simone to be part of their team.
LD: What makes Lifetime different from some of your other clients?
It’s fascinating to watch the evolution of Lifetime, an established development company, and how it transitions into the new generation. There’s the transfer of knowledge, wisdom and experience all the while keeping the core values and vision of an organization, those upon which its reputation has been built. The new generation brings energy, new ideas and concepts. It’s the sum of the parts that make Lifetime a truly unique development company.
LD: What does “Creating, Defining, Inspiring” mean to you and how does it relate to Lifetime?
Creating, Defining, Inspiring.
There are developers who build what we consider to be commodity product: conservative, safe, predictable. Then there are developers who see their projects beyond that, the ones that are pushing architecture, urban design, landscape design and interior design. It’s not simply building condos, these are the developers who understand that they’re impacting our urban landscape and the people who choose to live in the City. They want to do things better and they want to do things right. This is an immense responsibility and every project is treated as an opportunity to create something that is defining and inspiring. Lifetime doesn’t have to work at this; it is embedded in its DNA.