Black Sheep Design Strategist, Laura Elwick give us 5 minutes of her time…


To view the shortlist, visit:

To enquire about entering the awards, please email:


Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)

I have had a fascination with buildings and architecture from a young age, which I believe stemmed from visiting building sites my dad was working on. I loved how interior design could transform an existing building into a completely new use. I pursued a route of studying a foundation year in art & design and 3 year BA Hons degree in Interior Design at Kingston. My experience has been in designing hospitality interiors where my role at Blacksheep involves developing concepts through to delivering a scheme on site.


How would you describe your personal design style?
We have a varied client base, each requiring such different design solutions tailored to their brief, therefore there is not a specific house style. My personal design approach is to be adaptable and not trend-led, so that an individual design language develops as part of the process.


Where does your design inspiration come from?

Formed from a basis of research and insight, inspiration can simply come from an extraordinary image that sums up the meaning behind a concept we are trying to express. Great design stems from the strength of a concept, and being true to it in every idea, touch point and execution.


In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?

The industrial and reclaimed look has been so overdone, so it’s finding a new way of interpreting this. There should always be an honest expression in the design and the strength of a concept or brand should be allowed to shine through, as many people become more design savvy this is even more key to the success of a design.


Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2013 and beyond.

1.Surprise – create things that the customer will not expect

2.Honesty – avoid allowing design to become contrived

3.Contrast – mix styles up with each other

4.Colour – colour should always play an important part of a scheme

5.Restraint – random can be overdone


If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design, what would it be?

Understand your client and their aspirations; marry this with your design but by offering something they never expected!


How important are The International Hotel and Property Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?

Being nominated allows our work to be seen by more people and gives the design exposure, perhaps to a different audience.


What projects are you currently working on?

Developing a new restaurant concept with Hilton to roll out in the Middle East. Developing a new UK based mid-market chicken concept.


What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?

Surprise and delight all our clients, and offer the best design married with top class service in completing a project all the way through to completion.


Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself

Your most treasured possession?
My car, a little Fiat 500, takes me everywhere

Your favourite holiday destination?
Umbria in Italy – a complete contrast to the hub-bub and stresses of London life, a change to get away from it all

Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar?
Hotel Caruso, Ravello / Bob Bob Ricard / Paramount – purely for the best views in London

Your favourite book / film / song?
Of mice and men / The Pianist / Hardsoul, Back Together

Your favourite food and drink?
Something hearty and English, bangers and mash perhaps with a nice glass of red wine

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon? (in no more than 25 words)
With family relaxing and doing absolutely nothing!

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
A dancer


To view more of Black Sheep’s work, click here.