Vanessa Brady OBE is a multi-award-winning interior designer and founder of the Society of British and International Design (SBID). The ABB LEAF Awards judge talks exclusively to Compelo.

Vanessa Brady’s projects and clients include the Hard Rock Cafe, the Design Council, the Sultan of Brunei and the King of Saudi Arabia. In 2014, she entered into collaboration with Sunseeker International on the new Predator II yacht.

What role have awards such as the ABB LEAF Awards played in shaping your career?

They have changed the marketplace for everyone as clients now want an award-winning architect when they consider project appointments.

What qualities must successful architecture possess in order to be outstanding?

It must have a human interaction as well as that formed through computer software. Computer architecture has changed architecture beyond our imagination and the world’s skylines have changed forever.

However, we need both architects’ personal touch and interaction with the possibilities that “blobbi-tecture” software can create to prevent designs from becoming fashion statements rather than functional buildings.

How has the architect’s role in society changed during your career?

The architect has always rightfully been respected as a pioneer of change. However, now they are regarded as an added value for every investment and promoted as a marque of excellence by the developer.

What do you think the architect’s role should be, ideally?

I think architects are more reachable today, they are more engaging. As such, they do more than design buildings for their function and their look. They design for wellbeing and the built environment too.

What most excites you about the modern architecture scene?

The fantasy element. Looking through the nominations for the LEAF Awards was like looking at Gotham City, amazing.

Conversely, are there any trends that you find particularly troubling?

Again, the idea of clients looking towards big name competition-winning architects as the only people they want on their projects.

Is there a building you wish you could have designed, and why?

The British Museum − it’s a classic building, with a modern twist. As a result, even today its balanced architecture is a monument of powerful shape and curve from a time when every detail was a mathematical calculation.

The ABB LEAF Awards take place on 21 September at the Royal Horseguards, London. For more information, visit

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