Gemma Banks joins Create as Head of Creativity. With over ten years experience in the London events industry her passion for food, design and photography will help to lead the development of our creative team.
How did you first get into events?
When I left uni I worked for nightclub group PoNaNa, and when they took over the Hammersmith Palais I started organising events as part of the marketing team. And the first event I worked on was the NME Awards – which was definitely a baptism of fire – and I was hooked!!
What inspires you?
So many things inspire me. All my life I have admired strong creative women like Patti Smith & Barbara Hulanicki. My father, who is an artist, constantly inspires me with his drive to create and it is he who also introduced me to the artists I adore like Frank Stella, David Hockney & Basquiat. Music has had a massive influence on me throughout my life, especially Jimi Hendrix, and still does so today. The colours we find in nature also fill me with wonder – the grey of a stormy sea, the rainbow created by the Arora Borealis, the hues of Autumn leaves.
What do you love about your job/events?
I love the ever changing world of events. I love that each day is different. I love working with people who share my passion for good food & impeccable service. I love that we work in some of London’s most awe-inspiring spaces like the V&A. And I love taking people on a journey through what we do.
What was the best event you’ve run?
The craziest event that I have had the pleasure of running was for a very well know British modern artist & his staff. We created a dark Victoriana Christmas in an old Victorian theatre (now a nightclub). We decorated it with black velvet & lace panels, towering candelabra entwined with ivy & deep red roses, food stations heaving with meats & cheeses, bell jars containing weird & wonderful artefacts and lots and lots of full size skull candles. The ‘piece de resistance’ was the incredible (and naked) aeriel artist Empress Stah hanging from an enormous glitter ball above the dancefloor. It was a night of gothic hedonism that I will never forget!
What are your favourite things at the moment?
My favourite things at the moment are skulls, marbled enamel tableware, Per-Anders Jörgensen photography, Mr Bingo Hate Mail, table linen guests can draw on and the cocktail book Good Things To Drink by Mr Lyan & Friends.
What would you pick as your last meal?
Fresh tomatoes with Nunez de Prado olive oil, Nordur sea salt, fresh bread & a cold Estrella beer.
And finally, where is your favourite place to eat in London?
I have two… Dosa ‘n’ Chutny in Tooting & Kurobuta on the Kings Road (make sure you have one of their Slushie Beers and the BBQ Pork Belly Buns)
Look out for some stunning ideas from Gemma and the team!