37 Questions with Brandon Davis

To say Block Club co-founder and creative director Brandon Davis has his hands full is an understatement. But in between steering the company’s future and ensuring every Block Club deliverable is up to his meticulous standards, he still manages to find time for his passions: creating safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people and traveling the world (just to name two). In our latest 37 Questions—a humble nod to Vogue’s 73—Brandon fills us in on the impetus behind Block Club’s Residency Program—an employee development initiative that sends team members abroad on an extended business and cultural immersion—and his long wish list for the city he proudly calls home.

  1. How do you start your day?

    I hit snooze a few times, drag myself downstairs to the espresso machine, eat the same breakfast daily, and practice Spanish for 20 minutes.

  2. What are your plans for the weekend?

    My husband and I are throwing the fifth installment of a gay/queer party we started in Buffalo. The DJs are flying in from Buenos Aires and Bogotá, and we’re hosting them at our house through the weekend.

  3. Do you collect anything?

    I do: mid-century Danish and American modern furniture

  4. What’s your favorite piece?

    A walnut Hans Wegner Wishbone Chair

  5. What makes you nervous?

    Being ill-prepared and the thought of singing karaoke

  6. What is one thing you’ve learned about life recently?

    It’s important to take any opportunity that comes your way to step outside of what’s familiar and comfortable.

  7. What is the best place you’ve ever traveled?

    Copenhagen

  8. Why?

    Oh, where do I start? I visited for the first time 10 years ago. It was my first trip abroad as an adult, and it sparked my love for Danish design—interior, furniture, architecture, etc. I’ve been lucky to make some very dear friends there; every Copenhagener I know is so lovely, cool, kind, interesting, and educated but not the least bit pretentious. I love that it’s not a huge city. It’s dense, colorful, and has the best biking infrastructure of any place I’ve visited; to bike Copenhagen is an absolute dream. Over the last 10 or so years, Copenhagen’s restaurant scene has exploded. Even the way the Danes prepare and present their food is so beautifully understated and nuanced. It really is my perfect place.

  9. What is the last place you traveled?

    Prince Edward County, Ontario

  10. Do you have any upcoming travel plans?

    Actually, Copenhagen!

  11. Where do you want to travel to?

    I’m currently fixated on South America, so anywhere there. I hiked Peru earlier this year with my younger brother, and then spent my Block Club Residency in Buenos Aires this spring. Exploring Colombia is next on the list.

  12. How did you come up with the idea for Block Club’s Residency Program?

    Nothing has opened my eyes more than my travels. You can learn so much when you have the opportunity to check out from daily responsibilities and explore a new place.

    In our line of work, it’s crucial that we’re adept problem solvers and critical thinkers and that we have our fingers on the pulse of what’s going on around the world. It’s always been important to me that everyone at Block Club travels. So, we developed a program that would send employees to live abroad in a world capital for six to eight weeks to work remotely, immerse in the city’s culture, and connect with its people.

  13. What did you do for your last birthday?

    I was one week into my residency in Buenos Aires, and I flew to Bogotá to meet up with friends and see some of my favorite DJs play at our friend’s club.

  14. Are you looking forward to anything?

    My husband and partner, Patrick, is about to leave for his residency in Paris. Having recently completed my residency—leaving Patrick home for eight weeks to take care of our house, dog, and company—I’m very excited for him to get to experience this for himself, and I’m looking forward to holding down the fort at home in Buffalo while he’s away.

  15. What brand do you love?

    Ace Hotels

  16. Why?

    Hospitality businesses—hotels in particular—present exciting opportunities for creating truly incredible, multifaceted brands. I think Ace Hotels do a fantastic job of remaining fresh and relevant to their customers and engaging with them in ways that are authentic to their locale. Each location is totally unique, thoughtfully designed, and comfortable to stay at. I look forward to exploring some of the other hotels developed by Atelier Ace.

  17. What is your favorite movie?

    My default answer is always A Single Man, just because I think it’s one of the most beautiful films ever made. But really, it’s too hard to choose just one favorite movie.

  18. What is your best habit?

    My mom can attest that it didn’t work so well for me as a kid, but I’m relentless pursuing something I want—and questioning and challenging convention.

  19. What is your worst habit?

    I’m perpetually late.

  20. Where do you find inspiration?

    I don’t know…everywhere? My clients, colleagues, friends, community, travel, fashion, interior design and architecture, product design, food, music, art, drag, etc.

  21. What makes you proud?

    A lot of things: starting and building Block Club into the agency that it is today, and getting to do exciting work with a smart, talented team; making a really nice life in Buffalo surrounded by a community that has become family; and buying a house with my husband on our own.

  22. Who do you look up to?

    People who stand up and take action to help and give to others—whatever form that takes

  23. What is a cause you feel passionately about?

    Creating and preserving safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people in Buffalo

  24. Where do you do your best thinking?

    When traveling

  25. Where do you see yourself in ten years?

    In Buffalo, of course

  26. Why Buffalo?

    Because Buffalo has been incredibly good to me. This is where my community is, and you can’t beat the quality of life here.

  27. What do you want for Buffalo?

    Opportunity for all; better education; a healthier, more equitable city and stronger middle class; more jobs; for young people to keep moving here; less car dependency; more bike infrastructure; fewer parking lots; better design and architectural standards among the big real estate developers in town; more mixed-use density and walkable neighborhoods; better public transportation and an expanded subway line; I think the city could do a better job with snow removal to make sidewalks safer for those who don’t drive; fewer pot holes…haha, I could keep going. I love Buffalo, but we still have a long way to go and should push for better.

  28. What do you want for our country?

    I want corporate greed to get out of politics, and I want more people to pay attention.

  29. What makes you laugh?

    Among other things, my dog and Daniel Levy and Catherine Ohara’s characters, David and Moira, on the show Schitt’s Creek

  30. Who should everyone be following on social media right now?

    Everyone should follow people who make them laugh, who inspire them, who challenge their beliefs, and who teach them something.

  31. What is your favorite fashion trend of all time?

    I don’t have a favorite fashion trend. I wear the same few things, regularly. But I admire fashion that is personally expressive or that challenges gender norms.

  32. What excites you to come into work every day?

    Every day is different. Every client and every project presents new challenges. I love to help clients solve their problems and shape and realize their visions.

  33. How do you typically start a creative project?

    Well, to be honest, I typically start a project with a bit of healthy fear and anxiety. Because at that stage, I don’t know the answer and that can be scary. But that’s a critical and humbling part of the process for me—it fuels a drive to learn and dive deep into the challenge.

  34. Which designers inspire you?

    Too many to name: Dieter Rams, Isamu Noguchi, Rei Kawakubo, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Børge Mogensen, Le Corbusier, Charles and Ray Eames, Deborah Berke, Eero Saarinen, Sander Lak, Jonny Johansson, Thom Browne, Yohji Yamamoto, Stefan Sagmeister, Jessica Walsh. As I think about this, I’m realizing too many are men.

  35. What has been a pivotal project in your career?

    Hotel Henry

  36. Why?

    Aside from hospitality being one of my favorite industries, to have had the opportunity to brand a hotel that would occupy such a revered, high-profile building—an abandoned former insane asylum designed by one of America’s top three architects—was incredible. Block Club was engaged nearly three years before the hotel opened, so we got to do a ton of foundational brand work: surveying public perception; articulating brand positioning, vision and building alignment; and ultimately, developing the brand identity. Collaborating with our client and Deborah Berke Partners—who collectively, in my opinion, gave Buffalo the most world-class restoration it has seen—was soup to nuts a challenging, career-changing project for me.

  37. What’s next for Block Club?

    Continued sustainable growth and expansion outside of Buffalo