Fascinated with architecture and design from an early age, Amy Cassell was already building model houses and drawing floor plans by the time she reached elementary school. She embarked on her studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture, cum laude, in 1998. Furthermore, she has achieved NCIDQ certification from the National Council for Interior Design Qualification and LEED AP certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Starting out with Suzanne Lovell Inc. and becoming a partner in 1998, Ms. Cassell cultivated considerable expertise in residential architecture and interiors and remained with the firm until 2010 before joining Pierre-Yves Rochon as the design director for the Chicago office from 2010 to 2014.
In 2014, Ms. Cassell established her own architecture and interior design firm, Amy Cassell Atelier, focusing on residential, commercial, and hospitality design work. She begins each assignment without a preconceived style and prides herself in a rigorous design process with initial sketches, building palettes, furniture sourcing and final installation. Her design portfolio includes the Sandbox Industries headquarters in Chicago, penthouses in The Montgomery and guest cabanas at Caribbean resorts. While she attributes a good deal of her success to her creativity, focus and organizational skills, Ms. Cassell primarily credits her ability to put herself in her clients’ shoes. She notes that a number of clients have come to her to say that they felt incredible peace of mind while she was working on their projects because of how respectful, honest and open to discussion she was.
Motivated throughout her career to provide spaces for people to tell their own stories and pass down through multiple generations, Ms. Cassell also feels strongly about giving back in regard to education. She feels blessed by her own quality education and the professional mentors she has had, and feels it is her duty to pass on the knowledge she has gained over the course of her career. To that end, she ensures that Amy Cassell Atelier always has internship opportunities for students in order to provide them with real world design experience that will give them joy and excitement for their future vocation. She is incredibly proud to have been able to keep the internships going through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alongside her primary responsibilities, Ms. Cassell has contributed her skills to a number of other professional endeavors as well. Notably, she maintains affiliation with the International Interior Design Association, the National Council for Interior Design Qualification and the American Society of Interior Designers in order to keep abreast of developments in her field. She has also been involved with DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS and was showcased in the DIFFA Dining by Design event in 2015. Having accomplished much over the course of her career, Ms. Cassell has been featured in a number of publications, including the Luxe Interiors + Design magazine, where she was named “The Ground Breaker”; the Beyond Black book series, which recognized her as a Top Designer; and Crain’s Chicago Business, where her work was featured in the article “Behold the Ultimate Man Cave (With Room for 16 Vintage Cars).”
Having accomplished much over the course of her career, Ms. Cassell considers her greatest achievement to be founding and building up her own company. Drawing inspiration from the book, “The Lean Startup,” she put early emphasis on building her business from her own home even before the pandemic required companies to turn to remote work. In her day to day work, she is also extremely gratified when a customer walks into a finished project and feels that they have been completely understood. Always looking forward to her next project, Ms. Cassell’s goal is to continue to bring a personal approach to her clients, through ensuring that she can dedicate the necessary time, taking on fitting projects, recruiting skilled team members and ensuring they can perform their best and have fun doing it.