This Feature Friday we check in with Christina Johnson, a fifth-generation Arizona native who grew up in the Valley. She began working in Scottsdale 20 years ago when she took her first job at a design firm while finishing up a degree at Arizona State University. Today, she is the creative director of Private Label, an interior design studio.
Creative Director, Private Label International
What is Private Label?
Private Label is a full-service, strategic interior design studio. We provide interior design services for multifamily and hospitality ground-up developments, renovations, and adaptive reuse, as well as procurement services, custom art and graphics, and exterior colorizing.
Favorite projects so far?
My favorite project is always the one I’m working on right now. There are a couple of projects that I’m very excited to see come to fruition soon. One is called Three Collective, a three-building high-rise adaptive reuse project [where] existing office buildings are being converted into live/work apartments and amenities. It’s located in Falls Church, Virginia.
We were asked by a longtime client of ours to design about 30,000 square feet of common spaces and super amenities, as well as corridors, units, and exterior spaces. My team has done some of their best work bringing this project to life, and I’m excited to see it complete.
Another one—that we just broke ground on—is First+Farmer. We’ve had the pleasure of working with a new client to bring affordable and market-rate units to Tempe in what will be one of the most beautiful buildings in Arizona. The architect did a great job translating the client’s vision, and the exterior is truly stunning. It made our job easy to piggyback off their design.
Interiors that focus on authentic materials, natural lighting, handmade items, and [things that] reflect personality are all very much on trend right now.
What design trends are on the horizon?
Trends in the digital age are interesting because so many things can be “on trend” at any given moment. One thing I can say that I see consistently trending is authenticity. We are bombarded daily by social media, tech, the collateral results of the ongoing pandemic, escalating social issues, so many things that feel fabricated and beyond our control. Art has always been something that responds to current events and, in most cases, rallies against it. Interiors that focus on authentic materials, natural lighting, handmade items, and [things that] reflect personality are all very much on trend right now. How those things are expressed can vary from space to space, whether it is monochromatic and textural neutral colors, a curated space with lots of character, or biophilic and sustainable design. Culturally we are craving real, true authentic connections, so our spaces will reflect that.
Who is your dream client?
My dream client is someone who is forward-thinking, willing to innovate, and [who hands] the reins of trust over to us to create something meaningful for them.
Favorite location in Scottsdale?
There are so many—I have three daughters, so we like taking trips to the Butterfly Wonderland or OdySea. And I love to eat, so there are way too many good restaurants.
Favorite restaurant in Scottsdale?
My absolute favorite is The Mission in Old Town—great space and great food.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I love writing and would probably be doing something related to that if I wasn’t a designer. I’m a published poet and have plans to write multiple children’s books and non-fiction books.