Name and professional title: Diane S. Taitt, ASID, Assoc AIA; Founder and Managing Principal of De Space Designs
Name of business: De Space Designs, a “Wholistic” earth-centered interior architecture & design practice.
Brief: Taitt has practiced interior architecture in the U.S. for more than 20 years. She launched De Space Designs in 2005 to focus on “Earth-Centered Design,” a wholistic integrated design concept she created.
She studied architecture in Italy and Denmark, backpacked through North Africa, led commercial interior architecture projects in China, and documented a spiritual journey through Indonesia. She has worked with the YMCA, schools, Creative Associates, and The Refuge of Hope and served as a mentor and adjunct professor.
Years at business: 20-plus years of professional experience; seven years as founder and president of De Space Designs
Born: London, England
Raised: Trinidad & Tobago in the Caribbean
College, locations, degrees:
Pratt Institute, NYC, Bachelors of Architecture;
Baruch College, NYC, Masters of Business Administration, Marketing and Management;
Parsons, NYC, Certificate of Set Design;
First job: When I was eight years old, I appointed myself creative director of our neighborhood kids theatre production group. The production was held on my parent’s front porch to a full house.
Worst job: Every undesirable job I had helped me focus on what I was passionate about and helped steel my commitment to be an entrepreneur. However, every job requiring me to “toe someone else’s line” was a challenge.
Who is (was) your mentor? My life mentors are God, my Dad, and Nature. I’ve had many other mentors throughout my life, however. When I was 18, three people were influential in forging my path to architecture. Lloyd De Souza mentored me at my first architectural internship in Trinidad; he was pivotal in my decision to attend Pratt. My good friend and local artist Christopher Cozier taught me how to paint and see the natural world. Ann Dardaine, a good friend and artist, guided me through a portfolio compilation for my Pratt interview.
What inspires you? I am inspired by the genius of nature, truly the greatest artist and designer. I am particularly in awe of the sea, with its myriad of color, pattern and visual textures. My Caribbean roots and childhood experiences inspire my aesthetic sense of design, like feeling the grass beneath my bare feet, feeling the sand between my toes, watching the sun rise with my father on Store Bay Beach in Tobago, watching silvery fish dancing in the early morning light, and smelling aromatic fruit and flowers. The intangible transfer of experience and the essence of a sensual Caribbean land and people are central to the creation of a sensory journey in all my designs.
Who (or what) do you credit for your success? Believing in myself and my passion; accepting that it was okay to fail; my unwavering perseverance; possessing an over-arching vision; a keen awareness of the connectivity of humanity, the connectivity of all things with energy and vibrations.
What lies ahead for you? We will continue to build our “wholistic” design practice and brand globally. We’re working on a coffee table book on creating sacred spaces. There may be a product line of soft furnishings and furniture in the future. An international partnership that will also provide mentoring, training and a global exchange study program. We want to take our experience to third world countries, helping grow the movement of earth and human-centered design.
Advice to the aspiring professional? Follow your passion. Believe and trust in yourself. Surround yourself with like-minded professionals. You cannot build a successful business alone.