By: Andie Lumsden

Dart's women in design

Dart's women in design

The fourth and final article in a series about women working in construction-related jobs at Dart focuses on seven females with roles in the Development, Delivery & Infrastructure department’s design team.

The lobby at 60 Nexus Way, Camana Bay’s next commercial office building, promises to be an airy mix of industrial and tropical design that revolves around the concept of bringing the outside world indoors.

Ms. Piper’s Kitchen + Garden, which is nestled behind the recently opened Hampton by Hilton, offers diners a fresh and cosy space that harmonises with the hotel design’s modern warmth and whimsy.

The new interiors at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, currently under renovation, will celebrate tropical flora with diverse and lush groupings of potted living plants.

These are a few examples of the vibrant and creative contributions by women on the design team at Dart. Their areas of expertise include architecture, interior design, master planning, landscape design and project administration. Their projects include hotels, office buildings, residential spaces, retail fit-outs, eco-responsible gardens and courtyards, infrastructure facilities and planning.

“Our design team operates from a holistic standpoint,” says Senior Vice President Design & Construction Gary Gibbs. “These talented women are part of a team that is tasked with the design supervision and execution of all Dart construction and renovation projects. Creativity and innovation are demanded of them daily and they consistently deliver.”

Phenicia Fraser, Dart’s senior administrative assistant for planning, design & BIM team support, is like the glue that keeps the design team operating cohesively and effectively. Frasier takes pride in her work and enjoys the variety of tasks required of her role.

“I love the diverse nature of my work," says Fraser. "On any given day I might submit drawings to the Department of Planning, work on implementing an internal team policy or collaborate with the architects or designers on required paperwork.”

INTERIOR DESIGN

The talent behind the concept and design for all interior public spaces at 60 Nexus Way is Caymanian interior designer Gina Powell.

“60 Nexus Way is my first opportunity to be involved in every aspect of the design process,” says Powell. “From concept to design completion, I was given the creative freedom to define a new and fresh approach to the building’s commercial interiors. It has been an extremely exciting process.”

Powell says that she has worked on many other Dart projects in collaboration with other interior designers.

“I enjoy the opportunities to collaborate with other designers, whether they’re on our Dart team or engaged as contractors for a particular project," she says. "It’s a very rewarding part of my job because it allows me to continue learning."

Similarly, Lucy Gardner, another Caymanian who recently joined the Dart team as an interior designer, enjoys the collaboration aspect of her role.

“Collaboration is imperative for a design to work," she says.
Gardner is currently collaborating with Dart Senior Interior Designer Dana Nauta and a team of New York City-based designers on the renovations at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. Nauta’s 19 years of experience give her an edge that is evident in the transformation of the former Comfort Suites to the Hampton by Hilton. The new design is at once fresh and whimsical, modern and warm.

INNOVATION

Another designer with creative contributions to Hampton by Hilton is Dart Landscape Designer Jessica Barefoot, who says that some of the design decisions were made on-site.

"This would be impossible for a larger space, but due to its compact nature as a smaller hotel, it was a fun method to tackle how the plantings would look," she says.

Barefoot is currently working on the interior planting packages for The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.

“Although it’s not traditional for someone in landscape architecture to work on indoor projects, I have enjoyed it as a means of bringing nature inside,” says Barefoot. “As a designer, I like the idea of blurring the line between outside and inside and this was an opportunity to achieve that.”

Senior Design Manager Carmen Damaso-Doucette says it’s Dart’s contributions to the Cayman Islands that inspire her the most. Working on ReGen, Cayman's integrated solid waste management project, allowed her to contribute to something good for the community and the local environment.

“To have the opportunity to work on a project to solve the island’s solid waste problem is highly gratifying, both on a professional level and on a personal level," she says.

As the only female architect on the team, Doucette believes that “women bring a different perspective and focus to the built environment, which creates a great balance and creates opportunities for better products.”

Land use planner Colleen Stoetzel also understands the importance of addressing issues that affect a community and the environment.

“Design must always consider a variety of environmental factors,” says Stoetzel. “In the past I’ve had to consider factors such as flooding, endangered species and archaeological sites. I’ve recently been involved with creating turtle lighting plans, which is an important conservation issue here.”

In her role with Dart, Stoetzel is often asked to research planning histories for developments in order to gain insights on environmental issues, variances and interpretation of laws and regulations.

“This helps the team understand risks and opportunities when formulating next steps,” she says, adding that she also takes an active role in shaping Camana Bay's growth, as well as master planning many of Dart's large holdings throughout the islands.

This article appears in the October 2021 print edition of the Camana Bay Times.

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