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Hilden Style Awards: Meet The Judge – Lee Birchall

We’re now halfway through our search to find the unsung heroes in interior design so keep those entries coming in for our Hilden Style Awards 2016. Each week, we’ll be meeting one of the judges to find out a little more about them and what they’ll be looking for come the day of judging.

Our Style Awards are the only awards to celebrate and discover unique and fresh interior design from the independent establishments across the healthcare and hospitality sectors. Do you think you have what it takes? Enter our awards and see for yourself!

This week, we’re talking to Lee Birchall; architect, interior designer for bars and restaurants and Managing Director of DV8 Designs.

Judge - Lee Birchall - MD at DV8 Designs

About Lee Birchall 

Having always had a keen eye for detail since a young age, Lee decided to put his passion for build and design into action by studying Design and Construction at Liverpool John Moores University in 1991.

Now, with 25 years’ experience under his belt, Lee has been fortunate enough to witness the ever-evolving trends and developments in interior design and architecture over the past two decades.

Lee then set up DV8 Designs in 2006. With a focus on both style and functionality, Lee likes to look at how the public would use a space – whether it’s a restaurant, bar, pub, hotel or leisure centre.

It’s because of this attention to detail and straight-talking approach that Lee and DV8 have earned respect across the north west of England. In his personal life, Lee is a huge fan of Rugby League and aspires to be the manager of the Warrington Wolves one day!

What made you decide to be a judge this year?

Having built up respect and a reputation within the industry, it was an honour to have been approached to become a judge for this year’s Style Awards. I’m very much looking forward to being joined by some of the best talents in the independent hospitality and care home sectors and to recognise their efforts for delivering style and innovation.

What do you think will be some key trends over the next 12 months?

Geometric patterns are becoming increasingly popular throughout a range of interiors; in the form of fabrics, tiles and decorative elements. The timeless trend features bold geometry and angular structures that offer an interesting visual when combined with smooth lines and sophisticated prints.

As natural geometry is found all around us, it’s all about working with the given structure of the building to create something completely unique in order to complement its surroundings.

Another key trend is accented colours which offer character and a splash of bold colour. By introducing a vivid colour sparingly to the overall palette, this will emphasise the design, offer contrast and create rhythm throughout.

In a highly competitive hospitality market, how do you think the design and style of a hotel or B&B may influence the decision to stay?

It’s vital that the design and style of the venue reflect the overall ethos and image of the hotel or B&B. With websites such as TripAdvisor and social media playing such an important role in customer’s booking habits, it’s become easier than ever to critique a venue before stepping foot in the door. With a wide range of reviewing mediums available to the public everyone can become a critic with a respected opinion, these days. To ensure that the venue is being talked about for all the right reasons, interior design is a staple attribute.

A lot of modern restaurants don’t use table linen anymore. How important do you think table linen is as part of the restaurant’s design?

The most important factor is the way a table is dressed – but this doesn’t necessarily have to involve table linen. The presentation of each table must be consistent throughout and it needs to harmonise the tone and feel of the given venue. Whilst I am a firm believer in offering a more relaxed and unforced edge when it comes to table dressing, I appreciate that quality linen is essential in a formal setting.

How important is stylish design within a care home setting, taking into account that it needs to be functional and practical?

In order to change the perception of care homes, it is vital to build an image that combines style and practicality. It’s vital to offer home comforts to ensure that residents are surrounded by a warm and inviting setting. Nowadays, many care homes are taking design inspiration from boutique hotels to provide residents with a tranquil retreat. The functionalist of the design also plays a massive role in making sure that the living space can be specially adapted to meet individual needs and requirements.

What do you think will set an entry apart from the rest this year?

While trends are ever-evolving, certain attributes are timeless. What will set an entry apart is not only the look of the end result but the process that was put into place during the design of the project. I am a firm advocate of using reclaimed materials to avoid wastage and make the most out of the available budget, so I am intrigued to see how this will have been implemented in the design. Personally, my favourite aesthetics to any design are the intermingling of carefully constructed lighting and interesting textures.

How to Enter our Style Awards

If you think you have superior style in either your:

  • Independent Hotel or B&B.
  • Independent Restaurant.
  • Small to Medium Care Home.

Then enter our Style Awards today. Entries close at midnight on Friday 2nd September. All you have to do to enter is simply visit our entry page and fill in the form attached.

Good luck!


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