I love your perspective on design. You apply a well-honed analytical approach to your creative process. How much of that can you attribute to your pre-design careers?
Todd: Definitely looking at design projects from a business perspective was influenced by our earlier careers. In addition to our backgrounds, we’re fortunate that we have each other to bounce ideas off of.
Can you give me an example of this synergistic approach?
Todd: Rob is really great at coming up with the inspiration and the creative concept. I will look at things architecturally and say ‘yes’ we need to do this from an architectural standpoint, and then Rob provides his input from a color and décor perspective.
When you meet with your clients do you use design boards or computer renderings to help visualize the project?
Todd: Interestingly, we don’t for our residential projects. For our commercial projects we do utilize design boards to present to various different people over a span of time. But we don’t produce lots of design boards, however we do create lots of architectural drawings with perspectives that really help tell a story.
Could you describe the process?
Todd: We keep it kind of loose because we find that it is really an evolutionary process. We ask our clients to initially prepare a file of all their loves and hates, colors, and things they are attracted to, and that in turn gives us a storyboard that we launch from.
When we are presenting in the beginning there may be a whole house worth of decorative elements that are in front of us but we do the presentation in a very casual manner. Typically on conference tables where people can see and touch the elements. Through this process the client can narrow the selection down to what they like and want.
Many times we’ve been fortunate to meet our clients before they’ve built their house, and there is a long process in which we are involved in the architectural aspect of the project. Through this process the client is also growing and changing, and I get to see where they are headed, initially, with regards to style and color palette. But I always resist limiting the design input right then and there, and defining the project too much. It is very anxiety producing not to have it all defined at that point, to get it done and settled and get to work, but you have to have faith that the true path will reveal itself and it inevitably does.
We’ve touched on the color aspect of the designs created by Brown Davis Interiors. Rob you’re known as a gifted colorist. How did you discover this love for color?
Rob: I think it’s just came naturally for me. I think I always noticed how color would affect my feelings about the world, myself, a room or whatever happened to be influenced by a single color or a combination of colors. I was really amazed by the effect colors had and was well aware of how powerful the use of color could be. I compare the power of color to affect mood to how a movie director directs us in what he wants us to see and feel. So I was definitely quite aware of how influential color was for setting moods and the role it plays in good design.
Now I’m more confident and experienced enough to take greater risks with the use of color. I now consider wilder things than I ever did before.
What kind of wilder things with regards to color?
Rob: Combination of colors and making bolder statements. My parents are English, and I spent a lot of time in England, and coming from a place like Washington DC and the east coast imbued me with a sense of conformity that shaped my attitude toward color. Making too bold of a statement with color was not necessarily encouraged. That was my color influence prior to moving to Miami Beach. Color wise there are no limitations here.
Was it liberating to open yourself up to a whole new world of colors?
Rob: Incredibly so.
Next in Series: Brown Davis Interiors: Design Talk on Projects ( Mark your calendars for July 9th, 2011 when we share Todd & Rob’s insider details on their various design projects.).