Name: Greg and Wendy Blackband
Company: Blackband Design
Position within company: Owners
Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)
My husband Greg and I have been in the design industry for over 16 years. I attended the University of Southern California. My mom is a professor in the design and architecture school at UCLA and my dad built custom homes so design has always been in my blood.
How would you describe your personal design style?
Coastal modern – our designs are sophisticated with a West Coast casualness.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
I’m in awe and totally inspired by travel. I keep Travel + Leisure as my web homepage and love checking out the incredible architecture, hotels and restaurants featured. National Geographic also inspires me – so many unbelievable photos of amazing places. Lastly, some news station websites will show “this week in photos” or the best photos of the week and I find a lot of inspiration in what’s happening around the world.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
I think design is moving towards a juxtaposition of opposites – organic and curved shapes mixed with sleek, contemporary architecture, textured wall coverings adding dimension to flat walls and lush velvets layered in rooms of coarse stone. We also see a movement away from minimalism and into a luxury feel of more is more.
Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2019 and beyond.
– Refinement – cleaning up the reclaimed textures of rift oak and utilizing smoother finishes and woods such as walnut.
– Mixing sleek modern lines with organic materials.
– Creating multidimensional and multicultural designs by using different art forms and periods.
– Showcasing Renaissance art with contemporary furniture for an unexpected combination of styles.
– And it’s always a good idea to mix styles and trends to keep designs timeless over the years.
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
- Focus first and foremost on a really well thought-out space plan. Layouts are so important to the flow and function of a space, as well as the aesthetics and scale.
- Get inspired and the mix it up. Mixing design styles and creating contrast within a space makes for a really interesting result – play with light/dark, old/new, mixed materials, intricate patterns and varying repeat sizes.
How important are The International Design & Architecture Awards?
The International Design and Architecture awards are important because they hold a standard for globally appreciated design. Gathering the most impressive designs from around the world provide us with newfound inspiration outside of our reach. This promotes design curiosity and continually elevates creative professionals’ work.
What projects are you currently working on?
We have many incredible projects in the works right now – from new builds and major renovations to furnishings and material specs our team is constantly on the move! We are especially excited about a full-scale renovation on one of the hottest lots in Newport Beach with some of the best views of the bay. We’re having fun mixing modern styles and beautiful Spanish accents in our Terracotta Mod / Spanish Modern project – think mosaic walls, Tabarka tiles and terracotta finishes mixed with squared off edges, straight lines and gallery style walls with no base boards. A luxury contemporary home looking over Newport Beach is also in development and we’re eager to see some really cool features come to life like rammed earth focal walls.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
- We would love to win at the awards!
- Travel through the Mediterranean for design inspiration.
- Spend time bringing in professionals from different fields i.e. lighting, construction, etc, to talk about trends and share knowledge with our team.
- Continue to work with clients who inspire us and allow us to look at things differently and create interesting design.
- Find more design situations where we can break the rules!
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:
Your most treasured possession? My kids, Cooper and Piper
Your favourite holiday destination? Paris and Thailand
Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?
Hotel & Bar: One and Only Palmilla in Cabo. We love the bar with its beautiful multi-coloured, Moroccan-infused hurricane lighting.
Restaurant: Bayside Restaurant – it’s a 5-minute walk from our island home and one of those places that you want to order EVERYTHING on the menu. Consistently delicious! Best Snap-Pea Grilled Shrimp Risotto, insanely good.
Your favourite book, film & song?
Books: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Films: Casablanca and Out of Africa
Songs: I was just blown away watching the recent Grammy Awards when Brandi Carlile belted out the song “The Joke” – such raw talent!
Your favourite food and drink? My husband makes a mean Old Fashioned with his barrel-aged bourbon – you only need one!
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon? Hanging with my husband on our boat in the harbour watching our kids’ sailing regattas.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be? A photojournalist.
Anything else interesting? I once got trapped in a snowstorm on Mt. Rainier and spent a cold winter’s night lost in the mountains. I survived both.