“When you walk into a cathedral and see light streaming through the stained glass, you can’t help but be moved, lifted to a whole new plateau of emotion. Flying evokes something similar: the form of the plane, the idea of flight. It’s just beautiful,” says Orlando’s Director of Hospitality Tom Barnes.
Tom doesn’t just wax poetic about the intersection of his hobbies—he’s a master-master-planner with a flair for business development. His aviation admiration in many ways echoes his exceptional skills: bringing art and science together to create an experience that not only functions intelligently and looks intriguing, but makes you feel something, too. It doesn’t hurt that Tom’s also a triple threat: having worked on all types of hotels and resorts through the lens of urban design, architecture, and facilities management.
Tom got his start at Disney, back when animation was still largely hand-drawn and park planning involved laying sheets of cellophane on top of aerial photographs. As technology evolved and data became increasingly digitally collected and organized, Tom, too, evolved—iterating and ideating at higher and higher capacities to explore multiple scenarios at a time.
“You have to look at everything at once,” says Tom. “Building a proper roadmap for complex properties and communities to thrive takes a certain understanding of the land itself—associated transportation patterns, environmental regulations, utilities, and so much more.” This is the sort of vision his seventh-grade counselor, who was the first to advise Tom to pursue architecture, must have had. And now, he’s bringing his own brand of magic to Baskervill after 25 years with Disney.
“Creative design is a service industry,” he says of the highly collaborative environment here at Baskervill. “That’s why the ask+listen+create methodology is so crucial. Designers can’t pour their everything into a single design and let their egos rule. Instead, we must tinker until we reach the highest place of purpose—balancing clients’ needs and guest expectations against what the land dictates.”
Needless to say, Tom gets us. When designers get married to their idea of the “perfect idea,” clients lose out on true creativity. That’s why we’ve welcomed him into the Baskervill fold wholeheartedly!
“Equally versed in horizontal and vertical developments, Tom’s made an instant impact at Baskervill,” says Principal Terri Callaway, AIA. “He’s already master planning in Hong Kong—and his depth and knowledge of resort design, complemented by his great attitude and excellent leadership qualities, will only help us extend our growing presence in the Caribbean.”
We’re confident that Tom’s next chapter is as bright as Florida’s changing landscape.
“I am honing my skills by surrounding myself with the incredible talent at Baskervill,” he says. “I can’t wait to leverage my master planning ability and bridge the gap between what’s already happening in hospitality and what can happen.” And, keeping in step with his earlier musings on aviation, he adds: “I’ve always got my eye toward the sky.”