Having come from a family of artists and mechanical engineers, it’s no surprise that Brian Milburn found his passion in architecture and design. Taking his beliefs that design and function should exist in a harmonious relationship, Milburn founded the San Diego-based Milburn Group in March 2005 with the sole mission of connecting with clients “to design beautiful space.” Since then, the interior design firm has completed many projects, some of which can be found in Fortune 500 companies, film and sport celebrity homes, country clubs and resorts, and many private homes throughout the West coast. Contract magazine interviews Milburn on his design beliefs:
1. On your firm’s Web site, it reads that your “interiors reflect a luxury aesthetic that blends seamlessly into a practical, serviceable space.” Can you explain this philosophy?
In a commercial/contract space, I am designing for multiple parties at once: My client and his investment, the staff who are servicing the space, and their clients whom are being serviced. If we create a space that addresses these primary areas in a timeless fashion, we are creating a gem. As a designer, my role is to capture an aesthetic that will inspire a mood and connect a certain energy for that space’s participants while incorporating utility and day-to-day practicality.
2. Are there any particular design trends or themes that you are seeing your clients wanting today?
My clients and I now tend to collaborate more on how we can integrate technology into the environments being built. When our clients are aware of how that we can design a space that sets the mood, emotion, and energy of a space—using light, sound, and color—it leverages the project to a new level. Our clients also are more in tune to the energy of a space, and this will continue to become more significant.
3. What was your favorite project in the commercial sector to work on? Why?
My favorite to date is Coronado Shores Las Palmas, a high-rise in Coronado, Calif. I am very proud of the hallway design that we did. The significance was the massive degree of improvement that took place in the building. The energy shifted in the structure on such a monumental level.
4. How would you describe your design style?
My style operates on multiple levels at once. To the aesthetic, I bring a soft modern look of clean lines and rich textures that deliver a certain warmth and comfort. The more significant component I focus on is the energy and emotion that my client wants to connect with in the space. Design has the potency to do this.
5. What designer has been your biggest influence and inspiration?
David Rockwell was very significant in the start. His story gave context for what could be possible for a designer to create impacting spaces.
6. How did you become interested in design?
I wish I could say that designing is what I wanted to do from an early age, but the journey getting here gives a better answer. I come from a family of artists and engineers. Coming from such polarity in discipline, I first saw myself as an artist, with an inherent understanding in manufacture engineering. Design is a natural marriage of these two disciplines.
7. What advice/tips would you give to aspiring designers?
Wherever the entry point, get into the “game.” The most significant driver for me was to make the “creative process” part of my work. With that energy, the work flowed for me.