Designer Crush: Bobby Berk

1. Who is your biggest role model?

My biggest role model is Paul Rowan from Umbra. Many aspects of Paul's career inspired mine. He founded the internationally renowned window shade brand, and when he started, he was selling out of his car. Twenty years later, it's one of the biggest brands around. He showed me that no dream is too big to be realized.

2. Which movie or play do you wish you could have designed the set for?

The Hunger Games. Phillip Messina's take on the dystopian future melded classic and retro design, including German Nazi-era elements with modern touches. It looks like it would have been an amazing project to be a part of. 

3. What is the best way to gauge a client’s personality before starting a project?

One of the first things I ask for when doing a project is if a client has an Instagram and/or a Pinterest account. If they have them, I can usually gauge what kinds of things they find interesting. Clients can't always articulate their own aesthetic, so for me, a picture is worth 1,000 words. 

4. What new design trends are you excited to integrate into your work?

A huge amount of technology from home automation, to appliances to environmental products are really driving the homes of the future. As a tech enthusiast, bringing design and tech together combines my two biggest passions. 

5. How do you completely unwind?

A nice long international flight is often the only time I really unplug. I have to literally be strapped to a chair and be without Internet to not pick up a device and work. I love being able to watch as many films as I want or read a magazine or book. 

6. If you hadn't become a designer, which career would you have pursued?

Hands down a lawyer. I love a good debate!

7. What’s the worst pre-designer job you’ve ever had and why?

I used to work a graveyard shift at a gas station in Missouri. My friends would always be worried I would get robbed, because it wasn't in the best area. They'd often come sit with me and drink beers out of the cooler during my shifts. 

8. What’s your favorite recipe?

I can't say that I have a specific recipe, but my mother makes amazing Vietnamese. Anything she makes is my favorite. 

9. Create your perfect playlist for us.

10. Who is your designer crush?

I've been crushing on Sabrina Soto for years. Not only is she an amazing designer and professional businesswoman, but she's as sweet in real life as on television. She sets the bar high.

Lightning round!

11. Would you rather shop new or vintage?

Historically vintage, but lately there have been so many vintage classics that have been reimagined, that I've gravitated to a lot of new pieces as well. 

12. First celebrity crush?


Mark Wahlberg circa Calvin Klein years!

13. What’s your hidden talent?

I see dead people. 

14. Best restaurant in your area? Where is it?

Little Sister in downtown la. Unique modern take on classic Vietnamese food. 

15. SF or LA?

LA by far. I'm a Virgo. The chaos of San Francisco drives me crazy.