December 03, 2019
One word that best describes how you work: Focussed!
Favourite website: https://www.designspiration.com/
First of all, tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.
I started as a TV exec for various companies, from Bravo, Cartoon Network, Sky, Endemol, Disney and a few more. Deciding that a career in branding and advertising was more for me, I went on to become ECD at a London agency before consulting as a Brand and Creative Director for a number of years. After a stint in fashion, I found Fresh, who were and still are doing amazing things that bring brands and consumers together in meaningful ways.
Favourite piece of architecture: I love Span housing, the name given to the homes made under the company co-founded by Eric Lyons, Geoffrey Townsend and Leslie Bilsby in 1948. Lyons was an architect and designer who had previously worked for Bauhaus figurehead Walter Gropius and British Modernist Maxwell Fry, a pedigree that equipped him to design light, open spaces on large-scale estates in Surrey, Kent and East Sussex.
They are modern, post-war designs that were made to be affordable and have a minimalist aesthetic. Lots of light and natural materials used to create a true design classic. I would love to own one and hopefully will one day!
What motivates you?
Creativity and big ideas. Transforming brands is very motivating for me and I love to see ideas come to full fruition, whether that’s digital, film or physical environments.
What is your process of finding the answers to creative problems?
Understanding client’s needs fully. They know their industry and company way better than I ever could but match that with external thinking and design is where the magic happens. I see it as a partnership, always. The way we communicate changes all the time but the end ideas should always resonate with the end customer.
There are so many unknown unknowns, the things that we don’t even comprehend as a solution, Uncovering those is where the insight lives.
Tell us about a moment when you knew that it was all worth the hard work
There have been several small things that I have have done that really brought that home to me. The one I will never forget is when we answered a statement from the Volvo, CEO, which was to never have a cyclist killed by a Volvo again. That statement bore an idea to take safety beyond a word and into a physical asset, in this case, LifePaint, which is a spray-on reflective paint for clothes and bikes. When a car headlight reflects, so does the cyclist. It was a very powerful concept that changed a lot of things. It is a concept with true purpose.
Where is architecture going? What’s the next big thing?
Recycled buildings. Using natural resources to create useful spaces.
How do you recharge? What do you do when you want to forget about work?
I love the water and the countryside and go to these places as often as I can. A passion of mine is fly fishing, and I find it gives me headspace, away from it all, to recharge.
What book are you currently reading?
Stephen Kings The Shining. His writing is so well crafted and you really understand the minds and pain of the characters.
What would you have done differently if you knew then what you know now?
I would have moved into purpose-driven brands earlier. Making a difference is important for our work, it can impact many many lives with great design, well thought through concepts and give us human-centric notions.
Fill in the blank: I’d love to see Neil Cormican at Apple answer these same questions.
The Fresh Design Fresh Ideas series asks experts and leaders in architecture and design, to share their ambitions, routines and more.
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