Interview: Danielle Rios (2013) GBK Pre-Oscars Luxury Lounge

GBK Productions, which pioneered and perfected the gift lounge concept, has added another master stroke to their creation: interior designer Danielle Rios. This former Tadashi model took her experience on the runway as well as her extensive work in design to create a provocative confluence of fashion and space for the 2013 GBK Pre-Oscars Luxury Lounge. Her first collaboration with GBK, Rios was happy to share her experiences as well as explain the influences that helped mold her designs.

Surprisingly, Danielle Rios did not pursue interior design in school. Nor did she consider fashion design, which seemed like the conventional choice, considering her background. “I never wanted to pursue fashion…as a career,” she says, opting instead to major in Speech Communications. “I was doing commercials and things like that while I was modeling, and I wanted to do production, behind the scenes things.” While in school at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, however, Rios also took an alternative class in interior design. As luck would have it, a guest speaker, who was designing the casino hotel New York-New York, opened Rios’ eyes to new opportunities. “She was so enthusiastic and thrilled with the chandeliers they were designing custom for the hotel, and that just took me in a whole different direction. I decided to go into architecture and get my degree from that point.”

Regarding her design philosophy, Rios says, “It’s all about the client to me, and what their needs are. I do have general little tidbits that I always incorporate. One piece of furniture may be in the room that’s a little offbeat, over scale, and gets people talking. There’s interest. Since I do hospitality…it’s all about the show.” Rios enjoys taking eclectic pieces and placing them in such a way as to juxtapose fabrics and eras, creating spaces that are delightful to experience.

Rios references the Wildwing residence, which she showcases on her website, as a space she designed that truly inspired her. “I’m really into design from the 1930’s to the 1960’s and I really did an homage to Dorothy Draper for that particular space.” She verbally walks through the space, highlighting the different elements she touched to “take architecture from the past and make it relevant for today.”

For the GBK Pre-Oscars Luxury Lounge, there was definitely a fashion angle to pursue since the Oscars is very fashion oriented. To that end, Rios drew from some of her favorite designers for inspiration to create striking spaces that punctuated the lounge. “We just thought it would be something really fun to do. And it was!”


The Versace seating area featured a metallic and free-form Chista table and white sofa that Rios described as “decadent” and fitting very well with the Oscars. Nearby stood the cake table complete with a marvelously crafted Oscar-shaped cake on top. This piece was inspired by the Ralph and Russo dress that Angelina Jolie wore on the red carpet, and the influence was manifested in the embellishment that wrapped the table. Another standout space was the McQueen media wall inspired by the Alexander McQueen dresses worn by Jessica Chastain and Kate Hudson.


Rios is currently working with Station Casinos, and her work can be seen in an upcoming redesign of the lobby for the Green Valley Ranch Resort, Casino and Spa. She’s also designing a rock n’ roll themed suite for the hotel as well. “And then I have a high-end residential that is phenomenal! And the things we are doing in this house are incredible. Each room is an homage to Chanel, to Gucci. And it’s fabulous the way the client came to me for this – because it’s my passion anyway – and we created Coco Chanel’s bedroom from Paris. So I’m excited to give everybody a sneak peek!” Rios plans to reveal this space on her site toward the end of April or early May this year.


Looking around the lounge, Rios’ touch was confident, but not heavy, and her designs definitely added the sense of opulence befitting a luxury lounge hosted by GBK. Hopefully the collaboration will continue for years to come. It’ll be interesting to see what new creations could materialize from a long-lasting partnership. “They were absolutely great to work with,” Rios says, “Lots of fun. Very open to my suggestions, and I really think it’s turned out beautifully.”

Follow Danielle Rios and see more of her work on her website: