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Interview with Blenheim Design Ltd

Home > Designer Interviews > Blenheim Design Ltd

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Blenheim Design Ltd (BDL) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Blenheim Design Ltd by clicking here.

Interview with Blenheim Design Ltd at Monday 9th of March 2020

FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
BDL: My design path was different to most of my colleagues. I always enjoyed creating objects out of everyday, mundane items. I use to melt plastic ends of the lollipop and make them into buttons. Results were not always good but it made me experiment with the materials. I wanted to be a product designer and design fashionable objects and furniture. I enrolled in Belgrade College of Design and Applied arts where I was experimenting with sculpture, painting, graphics and technical drawings. Technical drawing was my least favourite subject but now I love it. Civil war broke in my country whilst I was traveling the UK, my career went on a back burner for a while. After couple of years, I realised that the war was going to last and studied 3d design at York College before enrolling at Interior Architecture degree. University tutors disliked my passion for computer drawings and told me that I’ll never get a job if I pursue CAD skills. I was hungry to learn new computer programs and taught myself CAD then few rendering programs whilst everyone else was still drawing by hand and rendering with pantone pens. This gave me an edge and I walked into my first job with an award winning structural engineers. I quickly progressed and after four years I was running a team at an award winning hospitality design agency.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
BDL: We enjoy exploring new materials and testing the latest products. We are all technically minded and we make a good team. Studio is an open space on the first floor opposite Brighton Pavilion. We share building with other creative agencies and University of Brighton lecturers. My desk overlooks the garden at the back and sometime I get birds landing on the window before they go for a bird bath or feed in the garden below. It is inspiring space to be.

FS: What is "design" for you?
BDL: To me, design beauty is in functionality. I think that beauty on its own is pointless. Good design has to be tactile as well as beautiful to look at, but above all it has to be functional.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
BDL: I like helping people achieve the most with what they have. If we can see potential we will most likely take the project on. Some projects have vast budget whilst some are struggling to purchase second hand furniture, yet both are challenging in different ways. If we get exited about the project then we'll go for it.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
BDL: My most favorite design is a humble object, designed by an engineer George Carwardine over 80 years ago. Every house probably has one, it is the angle-poise lamp. It is elegant and efficient.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
BDL: The first thing I designed under Blenheim Design was a bar area in Bertorelli's restaurant. It was a big thing for me as the restaurant was originally featured in the film Sliding Doors.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
BDL: I always like to use real, honest materials. Materials and lighting are very importin in our interiors; both can define the space and set the tone. As an interior designer, knowledge of different materials is imperative. We use wide variety of stone from polished, raked, split faced or simple humble Carrara Marble for the traditional fish counters. Stitched leathers, aged metals and timber rank high on my list.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
BDL: Most creative time is when I am exited about the project.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
BDL: Each design stage is important, however I ensure that the layout plan and concept are solid base to work on. Making the space work for the client is number one priority before we dress it up with materials and carefully considered illumination.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
BDL: That is a very probing question. I guess it is like a love affair; exiting, exhilarating, frustrating, compromising but satisfying.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
BDL: Mixed emotions! I am glad that the project is alive, I have to confess that large part of me feels sad. It is not in my hands any more and it has to stand on its own two feet. I guess that is how parents feel when children move out.

FS: What makes a design successful?
BDL: For me the design is successful when it is functional, comfortable to use and ecstatically pleasing.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
BDL: Its functionality. Functionality of the design should be playing the crucial role and contributing to the locality and its end user. Good design should show the ability to complement and be sensitive to its surroundings as well as the way people interact with the space. Innovation, originality and environmental consideration follow closely.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
BDL: Environmental consideration is vital, now more than ever before. Rational use of available natural resources in the project is a must. We creatively formulate active and passive means to assure more efficient use of energy and minimize negative impact on the ecological environment.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
BDL: Future is ever so exiting. I believe that the energy efficiency will be better represented in the future. We are at the beginning of a revolution, as artificial intelligence and machine learning turn the design field on its head. I think Graphic design and Web design will be more effected than any other industry.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
BDL: Every restaurant we design is an exhibition.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
BDL: Look, feel, experience! Experience tough me that research and experimentation are crucial in design. Inspiration can come from anywhere, it can be a magazine, sound of the cup and saucer, leather strap on a beautiful handbag or a boat clasp. Keep on looking.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
BDL: I am proud to say that I am not constrained by one particular style. To develop an idea, we need to be adaptable and imaginative. I like to understand the food style, than match the setting to suit the clientele. My strength is to listen carefully to the clients and bring forward what they want.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
BDL: I was born in Yugoslavia which ceased to exist twenty years ago. I live in England, one of the most liberal countries in the world and Brighton is very eccentric as well as fun. Design is there to be enjoyed by many, in my field research is important. History, community, spacial context and culture are all equally important, my background is not.

FS: How do you work with companies?
BDL: We are very collaborative and happy team. We always ask questions and listen to our suppliers, before making the final decision. We also have close relationship with shopfitters and we work together through issues.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
BDL: Personality and talent is the key. You want a passion and commitment plus all round friendly person to work with you. Portfolio and ability to demonstrate clean and considered approach.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
BDL: We like to structure our approach and we use the brief as a path the final design. The process usually starts with the research of client’s culture, competitor landscape, target demographics, fashion and lifestyle of the targeted people the client wants to reach. That would give us clear frame for concept development.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
BDL: iittala cup and saucer, design is taika in cobalt blue. I just love the fairy-tale look of it. Alvar Alto vase was a present from a good friend. Every time I fill it with white tulips, reminds me of her wedding. Kipik toothpick holder, it’s in the shape of the hedgehog. I’ve seen in in MOMA SF and had to have it. Silver grey rug I designed using silk/viscose carpet remnant and edging it in dark grey border. It feels so luxurious however it was inexpensive.Dining table from Ligne Roset I bought 8 years ago, it can seat up to 12 people when fully extended or 4 people when folded back. It is very versatile and it has the best hidden mechanism. They don’t make it any more.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
BDL: I like to catch up on emails and then I’ll address tasks I set previous day. I’ll take my daughter to school then head straight to the office for an early morning meeting with colleagues. We will discuss any new projects and design challenges each team is facing. After work I love spending time with my family or meeting up with friends in newly opened restaurants and bars.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
BDL: Always consider the end user and never underestimate the power of lighting. Understand your clients requirements and never stop working hard.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
BDL: Every career has some ups and downs and the best thing about being an Interior Architect is the creative aspect and working in the profession I love. High job satisfaction comes from seeing happy clients and positive reaction to creation. I enjoy travel however that can sometime result in a very little sleep and long hours.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
BDL: Listen to the client then create the best interior for the purpose.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
BDL: Listening and intuitive understanding of client’s needs is a skill. Sometime clients will tell you indirectly things they want and it’s our job to pick up on clues. Creative ability to communicate ideas and technical knowledge is imperative. Another important factor is time management.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
BDL: I like to know what is going on, so we will regularly visit spaces and get the real feel for the environment. I also have a large library of books, magazines and web resources we regularly visit. When it comes to programs: AutoCAD, Photoshop, In Design, Illustrator are few we use daily

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
BDL: In hospitality design, timing is of essence. It is like a well executed dish, all ingredients have to come together at the precise time. Being disciplined helps but that comes with experience. I like to use intuition and to follow my instincts which sometimes results in working late to make sure project process is not jeopardized.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
BDL: If we are designing a piece if furniture, that can take anywhere between couple of days to a full week.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
BDL: Inevitably it is to do with the cost and timing. That is normal and to be expected. Experienced clients will choose the best team for the project whilst inexperienced clients will go for the less expensive. An experienced designer will save on time and money.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
BDL: I had a few; one was learning the importance of a good contract. Getting on with the client is one of the most important factors, this is a long relationship and job interview goes both ways, we have to be satisfied that we want that client as much as they want us.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
BDL: My clients are always people I'd love to have as a friend. It is a long process and we have to get on. Most of my clients come from hospitality world.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
BDL: At the moment it is restaurants and I loved designing them for the past 19 years. I enjoy improving end users experience. I love facing the blank page and the freedom that represents.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
BDL: More restaurants and retail spaces. I like improving places and I've had the misfortune to visit couple of residential homes which were tepid and uninspiring. I'd like to improve them.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
BDL: I prefer to work in a team where we can bounce ideas and inspire each other.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
BDL: We are working on the redesigning an existing bar in Mayfair, large building redesign in Brighton and few hospitality projects outside Britain. All projects are varied and that makes this profession fun.

FS: How can people contact you?
BDL: Through our website www.blenheimdesign.com or they can contact me on our office number ++44 (0) 1273 622 438contactform@blenheimdesign.com


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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