Meet Dante Wilkins, our newest designer

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dPOP: What drew you to design?

DW: I have always had a knack for design, but initially, I didn’t know what direction I wanted to take. I landed on interior design because people often find it hard to connect the imagery in their head and struggle to manifest their ideas. [As designers] we help digest and externalize that concept and are able to translate their reality. It’s all about communication and helping someone else visualize an idea, and ultimately manifest it.

dPOP: What are your greatest design accomplishments thus far?

DW: I gauge my career success by the lives I have touched. While working at my very first firm in Seattle, I worked on a public outreach pro bono project that was an after school facility for underprivileged children who lived on the South Side of Seattle. We did a lot of test fitting for their facility, arranging new offices for the volunteer teachers and preparing their facilities for the students. We arranged a furniture donation, painted the interior and made small changes to the design, but the reward came from how grateful the students were. They had no idea their environment was changing, but they were so joyful and appreciative of the work we did on their space.

dPOP: What do you think of Detroit?

DW:Life in Detroit is great because there is a vibrancy here. I live downtown just a short walk away from everything and the city has a great energy; it feels like a sort of college campus for grownups. I love it here, and it has exceeded my expectations.

dPOP: Where do you draw your inspiration from when it comes to design?

DW: I find I really have to feed off of my clients' input because at the end of the day, I want to be able to deliver something for them that meets their end goals. With that in mind, I draw a lot of my inspiration from the appropriate qualities of design that the client is looking for. For example, if the client wants to give me complete freedom, then I want to tell their story, something that is intrinsic to the space, to bring out the personality of their surroundings, and its characteristics. If it’s possible to tell a compelling story through materiality, through experiential qualities and through tactile qualities, then you are embedding the design that makes it translatable to the client.

dPOP: What do you love about dPOP?

DW: Everything! There is so much going on here all the time! I really like the fact that at dPOP the goals that we set for ourselves as a studio and as a whole company is to stay inspired and to deliver inspiring spaces for people to work and play in. I think that is, in and of itself, enough inspiration and a great direction. Maintaining and snowballing off of that energy is what I am looking forward to and how far that can take me professionally and personally. I love that I feel like an integral part of this company. I can feel that my employer cares about not only me personally, but also my career trajectory. It’s an anomaly in the industry.