Robert Herring Travel Prize Continues to Transform Interior Designers and their Designs

It is such an honor to have been awarded the Robert Herring Travel Prize. If it were not for NYSID providing this opportunity to its students, I would not have had the opportunity to travel to the beautiful country of Chile following graduation.

I decided to go to Chile because I knew very little about the country and had been fascinated by the culture since grade school. The entire experience was magical and it will be a place that I will always remember for its thrilling and beautiful hidden treasures.

How did you feel when you were awarded the Robert Herring Travel Prize?
I immediately felt a rush of adrenaline when I realized I was being awarded the Robert Herring Travel Prize. As Ellen [Fisher] started reading the first line of my essay, I could not stop smiling. 

What impact did the trip have on you as a designer?
My trip to Chile refreshed my senses to what it’s like to experience something different for the first time. Though New York is amazing for many things, inlcuding its modern architecture, it is also familiar to me. When traveling to a new country, the unknown is exciting and adventurous --you learn without even trying, you interact with different people and become more creative and innovative. Being in Chile reminded me that everyone, all over the world, lives in a unique environment. Also, it’s important that, as an interior designer, I continue to give my clients unique solutions that fit their lives, and not just trends.  

Did you see any significant sites?
I had the opportunity to visit so many significant sites: Easter Island, specifically Rano Raruku, which is one of three volcanos on the island, the Baha’i Temple by Hariri Pontarini overlooking Santiago, Chile, and the “Base of the Towers” in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia. From the beautiful mountains, ancient caves, to the blue/green glaciers, every inch of Chile was awe-inspiring.  

On a scale from 1-10, how important is it for aspiring designers to travel? And why?
On a scale from one to ten – ten! I believe it is very important for everyone to travel. Travel makes people more tolerant, sympathetic of differences, gives you more interesting stories, and a more considered opinion about the environment.

For designers specifically, travel and exploration is critical to create unique and authentic spaces. If you stay in one place your entire life, you are limiting your creativity. You should experience different places to be able to design for all types of clients and projects that come your way.

Where are you now?
I am a designer at Denton House Design Studio in New York City, and I absolutely love it!

Phyllis Greer