One of the co-founders of leading interior design company By Davenport Woods takes five minutes to talk to us about their key influencing elements and the importance of The Design Awards. By Davenport Woods were shortlisted in The International Design and Architecture Awards 2011. For more information about the awards from design et al, please visit www.design-et-al.co.uk
By Davenport Woods are Design Partners of the design society, please visit- thedesignsoc.com/davenportwoodslondon/
Designer: Curtis Davenport-Woods
What direction do you feel design is moving towards in general terms?
Technology: As technology advances so does its integration into design at all levels. A fine example is smart home technology. Once a signature and available to only a rarefied clientele but now we are witnessing, I believe, a steady flow into to the mass market. So what was rare I believe will become standard and in its place new and more advanced and sophisticated systems will be crowned rare and sought after by the elite.
What are the key influencing elements at present?
Depends on what level of Design you’re operating in. If its affordable design or mid-range, clearly its still the economy.At the very high end, with regards to the client, I would say “culture”.The dramatic rise of a significantly younger and super-elite from strong growth-economies like India, Hong Kong, China, and also Eastern Europe’s newly emerged super elite has dominated and saved not only the UK’s super-prime property market but indeed the global luxury industry.
This has and is continuing to affect not only the way we do business as design companies but also how and what we design, as bespoke becomes more culturally referenced and inherently more international. As for developers, it would be without a doubt, Code For Sustainable Homes level 4 Legislation affecting Housing.
A designer’s work is so diverse – how do you manage to hold down a career and a life?
By striking a fine balance, one I’m forever fine tuning. So far carving generous time to escape and completely switch off from work, seems to work wonders, Once I’ve perfected it, I promise you’ll be the first to know.
And key trends that we should be aware of?
I don’t really believe in skipping from one trend to another when designing something as personal as a home but I’m in constant search for rare and exotic materials and finishes. So I would have to say Metal Finishes.
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
Dare to Dream, then Dare to Create, in so doing Dare to be Unique. We must never stop exploring and challenging before we create.
How important do you feel Design Awards are as recognition of designers talents and achievements?
I feel they’re very important. Design awards give more than credibility to a designer’s aesthetic and skills, it also gives assurance to an increasingly insecure client base. However and more importantly, I feel it gives designers support via confidence. It’s a wholesome and rewarding feeling for your colleagues to pat you on the back and say ” well done !”. The morale boost it gives to any studio should never be under-estimated and far outweighs the satiated ego of our competitive spirit.
How do you relax?
I go cycling around the Kensington and Hyde Park listening to Bossa Nova Jazz (Brazilian Jazz), fortunately I live very close by and then I visit an Art Gallery or two, usually end by rummaging a book store for another book I really don’t need, but can’t live without.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
Perfect handmade loafers for cycling and chasing planes of course!
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself
The car you drive?
I don’t drive yet but if I did it would most certainly be a classic 1957 Aston Martin db3 with lots of cool treats.
Your favourite place to travel to in the world?
Bora Bora. No contest!
Your favourite hotel/ restaurant/ bar?
My favourite Hotels are Kasbah Tamadot in the Morrocan High Atlas Mountains and Necker Island in the Carribean. You really must go..now!
The place that gives you the most energy?
The constant changing views I see whilst casually cycling on my bicycle to start or underline the day I find to be a constant source of invigoration.
And the place that enables you to totally relax?
A really good laugh and a great cocktail sitting in the park gossiping with friends who really should know better. However for a quick and very effective fix ,I recommend an Ayurveda massage. Slice of Heaven.
Your favourite food and drink?
Anything served by Guillaume Bracaval at L’Agape in paris. Haute cuisine with the power to reduce any one to tears!