Designer Crush: Delta Wright of CURATED

1. Who is your biggest role model?

First Lady Michelle Obama. Like me, she is a mother to two girls, she was raised in Illinois and she has a Midwestern work ethic. For me, she embodies profound balance. She is personally powerful yet a supportive partner, fiercely strong yet elegantly refined, accomplished and driven yet socially and environmentally conscious.  That, and she knows how to spot a brilliant designer! She is the real deal.

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

The Fantastiks. The name says it all.

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

My goal is always to get my clients to a state of awe. This means I need to understand their desires, spoken and unspoken. We know from neuroscience that up to 95% of decision-making occurs in the subconscious.  I am a natural people person and I listen very carefully to what is being said.  I follow up with lots of questions.  A designer’s role is to use artistic and technical expertise to connect the dots and to transform a client’s vision into a living work of art.

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

Honestly, I see myself as a trend-spotter more than a follower. For example, I founded CURATED over a decade ago because I saw the explosion of design choices available to clients from around the world. I knew that clients could get overwhelmed with the abundance of options and I wanted to provide a solution.  Curation is the art of context; it creates a framework for selection and simplifies the design process.  Now that “curated” has landed in the mainstream, it can represent marketing lingo, but for me it is about a refined point of view that I develop for each project. In terms of what I am currently noting in the design world, I see masterful material innovation, craving for handmade objects and craftsmanship in a high-tech world, and the growing importance of white space to soothe the senses.

5. How do you completely unwind?

I am a singer and work with a brilliant vocal coach. Being Los Angeles based means I spend a lot of time in my car, so I run vocal exercises while cruising from project to project in my Volt. 

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

The great thing about design is that it is truly an interdisciplinary art form. I get to feed both my left and right brain interests on a regular basis. So, I am not sure that I would have pursued another career. However, in 2012, I did go public with my lifelong passion: singing. I performed a full length concert for 130 of my nearest and dearest. It was exhilarating.  I’m actually recording my first album this year and I am collaborating with an acclaimed orchestrator on the project. Not surprisingly, getting back to singing has propelled my creativity in my design practice and brought so much joy to my life.

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

Maybe it’s my Midwestern upbringing, but I have always liked to work! I like the satisfaction of creating value and seeing the results of my labor. I couldn’t wait to start working when I turned 16 and I found joy in each job I had. This includes a summer in the fat and oils processing plant that my engineer father managed. I worked the assembly line for 8 hours a day and would escape by reading Chekhov during my 5 minute breaks then get back on the line and daydream.

8. What’s your favorite recipe?

I married a chef. I don’t cook.

9. Create your perfect playlist for us.

Lightning round!

10. Would you rather shop new or vintage?

My eye is highly trained for the golden trifecta, a piece needs to capture my mind, my heart and my eye. I look for thoughtful design, craftsmanship and delight. The rest is irrelevant.  

11. First celebrity crush?

Remington Steele. First and Last. Forever.

12. What’s your hidden talent?

The beauty of getting to a certain point in your life and hitting your stride is that you understand how ALL of your talents play a role in your success. I don’t hide my talents anymore. I put passionate effort and dedication into utilizing them all!

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

Casa Escobar. On my corner. Killer Piano Bar action on the weekends. Great chips and salsa. Old school lounge vibe.

14. SF or LA?

No contest. #ILoveLA