Michael Bedner, CEO of HBA/Hirsch Bedner Associates, an international hospitality interior design firm headquartered in Santa Monica, was recently honored with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Interior Design Association (IIDA).
Bedner started his interior design firm in 1964 with his friend and partner, Howard Hirsch. The company began with a focus on hospitality design – then a virtually non-existent category – working on the Beverly Rodeo Hotel in Beverly Hills and Chez Voltaire, a restaurant in Florida. That led to a career spanning 900-plus projects in all parts of the world, and widespread critical acclaim.
The firm, headquartered on Nebraska Avenue, has 12 offices and 430 employees worldwide. It ranks No. 1 in hospitality design and No. 10 in the Top 100 interior design firms in terms of fees, according to the trade journal Interior Design Magazine, and claims 26 million square feet of design to its credit.
Michael Bedner, who began his design career in Southern California in the early 1960s after driving the length of legendary Route 66 from Detroit to the end of Santa Monica Pier, expressed his appreciation to the Nineteenth Annual Calibre Awards sponsored by the IIDA Southern California Chapter. He thanked his clients, industry associates, friends and family, and especially his colleagues at HBA whom he said are “at the heart of what we do.” He also noted the three main principles that have guided him throughout his life and career: 1) to always do the best job possible; 2) to learn from experience; and 3) to have fun at what you do. More than 1,000 design professionals, consultants and others attended the event.
“For nearly half a century,” the firm said, “the company has been guided by a philosophy of creating a ‘sense of place’ – a well-designed and integrated package of fantasy, drama and creature comfort delivered on time, and within budget.”
Summing up his lifetime of achievement, Bedner said, “As a young man, I embarked on a journey that I thought was my final destination – the end of Route 66. But I discovered this truth in a saying I learned from another young man who, very sadly, died while covering the conflict in Somalia as a photojournalist at age 22: The journey is the destination. I am very grateful that my journey still continues today and that I can share it with you.”
Bedner’s vision and his firm’s work can be seen in hundreds of the world’s finest hotels, clubs and casinos, including: The Beverly Hills Hotel; The Park Lane Hotel, London; Park Hotel, Chennai, India; The Fullerton, Singapore; Mandarin Oriental, Miami, Florida; The St. Regis Hotel, Shanghai; and The Ritz-Carlton Millenia, Singapore.