Putting it All Together: AE Works New Chief Development Officer Shares What’s Shaping the Future

January 2021


Building design is figuring out how to create and arrange the puzzle pieces of many systems, features and details to best work together.

This need for creative energy and constant evolution has driven interior designer, project leader and executive Mark Logston throughout his four-decade long career.  In that time, he has overseen $4 billion of hospitality and corporate interior design projects for international organizations including Marriott, Hilton and corporate headquarters projects for Consol Energy, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, to name a few.

In his new role at AE Works as Chief Development Officer, Mark brings this expansive creative industry leadership experience to support the firm’s growing private sector client base. In a time when buildings are expected to perform and evolve to meet the demands of today, Mark shared his thoughts in this Q&A about design trends, how building projects can bring a better value and more.

In 2020, the societal change that usually occurs in the span of many years, happened in just a few weeks. How do you see this shaping the future of buildings?

Every market goes through cycles that create new opportunities for businesses to advance. Buildings play an important role in supporting that evolution. From healthcare and hospitality to workplaces, there will be changes to how we approach building design not only to keep people healthy and safe, but also to meet the evolving needs of organizations and people.  As designers, we have a responsibility to listen to those desires and imagine what is possible.

Speaking of trends, what is the driver behind your approach to interior design?

Adaptability has been at the center of my design approach and style. Building projects are about the client. Our work is to create a design that helps them achieve their vision.

Throughout my career that has spanned K-12, higher education, institutional, correctional, hospitality, corporate office and headquarters projects, adaptability has been the key to stretch my own capabilities to deliver on a client’s vision. Most recently, I led the interior design for a new Margaritaville complex. The Florida beach resort housed three restaurants and also five bars - all of which were built on sand. On that project, I learned all about turtle lighting and how complex it is to make sure the right areas are illuminated. Never thought I’d need to know about turtle lighting!

“Adaptability has been at the center of my design approach and style.”

New Margaritaville complex. Image Credit TPI Hospitality/H Studio

New Margaritaville complex. Image Credit TPI Hospitality/H Studio

Historic White House Inn, Biloxi, MS. Image Credit White House Inn.

As a designer, it’s important to be able to reinvent your thought process constantly while staying on top of the market and design trends to create a lasting impact. A building is a part of a company’s brand. Design is understanding how a client wants their image to be presented and responding to that.

How does interior design impact the experience of a space?

Together with architecture, building systems engineering and the planning of a project, interior design creates beautiful, highly functional and safer spaces. The end result is an experience that transforms the lives of organizations and people.

Following Hurricane Katrina, I led the restoration design of the historic White House Inn in Biloxi, MS. Every detail had to be documented for this highly visible project. The vision focused on remaining true to the grand history of the hotel, while creating its future with a modern experience for guests. Inside of this beautiful Palladial mansion, the design evoked New York living with loft-style rooms and a trendy restaurant to create a memorable guest experience.

Donnell House for the Washington Health System. Image Credit Donnell House.

One project that made a profound impact on me is the Donnell House for the Washington Health System, a new residential neighborhood hospice concept. At the time, my mother had recently passed so this project took on a new meaning for me. It became a journey of healing and an opportunity to donate my time and skills to help other families. The house was created to comfort and welcome families. Through color, materials and furniture, the interior design worked to provide that safe space. For years following the opening of the facility, I received calls from families thanking me for being a part of their loved ones journey and how the facility made their journey easier. Building projects are always about people and how the space can make their lives better.

You’ve talked about the impact of design details to deliver a better experience, how can building projects be delivered for better value?

That value is determined by the client. A better value could be a great experience for those using the space, which builds an organization’s brand or supports employee retention. Those are just a few examples. Integration of services and continuity of those services builds in value with a well functioning team. Certainly in the details, especially on large scale projects, even the decision of a hinge can make an impact on value and budget. Selecting a hinge that is $1 less than others, but provides the same functionality could make a considerable difference in the project budget. Going the extra mile to figure out what will really work best to achieve a client’s goals is how we make projects a better value.

What are you looking forward to in 2021 now at AE Works?

I’ve been building my career to be here. I’m here to be a mentor and help grow AE Works. I enjoy seeing people be successful, both our team and our clients.