Saturday, 21 December 2013

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

The team here at MEADE DESIGN GROUP want to wish everyone and their families a very Happy Holidays and all the best in the new year!

We hope you enjoy our extra special video message below!

 



MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Sunday, 15 December 2013

MEADE DESIGN GROUP TEA

One of our favourite projects this year has been the creation of our own delicious line of tea.  This has been a really  fun internal exercise in which we were contemplating all the logistics of creating a product, branding it, and make it part of our work culture.

 

We started with the 4 basic kinds of tea: Black, White, Green and Rooibos.  From there we collaborated with tea experts that helped us to create our own blends.  After a lot of tea tasting we determined which blends reflected our own preferences in flavours, but also blends that would be appealing to a large public, and showcase how unique we are.

 

Once we had the blends to a tea; we went to the packaging design and label design.  We wanted the product to have a reference from the old world but with a contemporary feel to it. Our inspiration word was “Alchemy”.  

 

image

Initial Tea Prototype

 

Once we had the alchemy idea we started the hard job of  finding the packaging but we were extremely lucky as we found these really cool apothecary glass jars to pack the teas in.  We also wanted the tea to be a reflection of our work culture, so planning the graphic design and branding of the labels was a lot of fun. 

 

From there we had one the most difficult tasks – what about the name?  What about the brand?  We decided to use our own monogram, MDG, as a reference to the studio and we give Latin names to the teas to tie in the concept of alchemy and  formulas.

 

For the black tea we selected the name of “Aurea” which means gold in Latin as we added gold pearls to add a sophisticated and sweet note to it.  The white tea was named “Jasminium” to reference the floral and fresh notes on it.  The Green tea was named “Citrus” for its Seville orange, mandarin and bergamot notes. Finally the rooibos blend was called “Lavandula” for its French Province notes and the hint of lavender in it.

 

image

Final Label and Packaging Design

 

With the holiday season upon us we took the idea one step further and created a Christmas tea.  We combined an exquisite special blend of black teas, bergamot oils and the perfect balance of dry fruits to give it a festive, but yet unique flavour that reminded us of Christmas memories.  We named the blend “Ferias” which in Latin means celebrations.

 

image

Our Xmas Tea  (Special Edition)

 

During our experimentations to develop “Ferias” we discover that if you mix a half cup of tea, with a 1/4 cup of milk and a 1/4 cup of frothed eggnog you can create the most delicious Ferias Egg Nog Latte – The balance in flavours is truly an experience you need to try.

 

Even Echo and Jordan had some fun creating an ad for our website with our Xmas Tea Edition.  It is all about shameless self promotion, right! 

 

image

 

O Christmas Tea, O Christmas Tea

How Lovely is Your Fragrance,

Dried Fruit and Nuts,

Filling Teacups.

You Give Us So Much Pleasure!

O Christmas Tea, O Christmas Tea

A Meade Design Group Treasure!!!

 

The response to our tea line with friends and clients has been phenomenal.  The great feedback has our brains buzzing with ideas for new ways to represent and promote the Meade Design Group brand.   I believe it is important to have fun internal projects so that we can have carte blanche where we design without constraints and to flex our creative muscles in new ways. 

All that creativity is thirsty work, tea anyone?



MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Friday, 8 November 2013

IN CONVERSATION WITH lEANNE BUNNELL

 

image

LeAnne Bunnell

 

LeAnne Bunnell is a wonderful designer, client and personality from Calgary, Alberta. Each of her projects appears uniquely inspired and individual, yet consistently furnished with elements that are on trend, fun and classic, all at the same time; making them both adaptable and liveable while maintaining a beautiful aesthetic with an emphasis on quality and longevity. She is also a regular contributor to Décor Mentor and has been featured in popular Calgary-based magazine Avenue, as well as the Calgary Herald.

 

We had the pleasure of helping her create her brand for her beautiful studio, 7070 Headquarters – a design collective where fellow designers can rent office space and take advantage of the shared presentation room, library and kitchen. It is unique in that it is aimed at Calgary’s design professionals with beautifully designed space with private areas for tenants to truly make their own. Not to mention that all of the common areas are neutral (allowing for any presentation to take center stage) yet striking with golden accents and meticulous details with a hint of nature in the artwork and natural wood finishes.

 

Not only is LeAnne flexing her entrepreneurial muscles with 7070, she also is introducing software targeted at helping designers with their unique bookkeeping and project management needs to the Calgary market. I can’t wait to learn more about DesignDoc’s promises to increase profitability and reduce stress – who doesn’t want that??

 

For more on LeAnne, 7070 studio and Design Docs, keep reading to get in on the conversation…

 

image

Interiors by LeAnne Bunnell

 

Iván Meade - What was your first experience with design?

 

LeAnne Bunnell - I grew up in a small town where most people bought their furniture upstairs at the hardware store, so the IKEA catalogue arriving in the mail was like receiving a glimpse into the exotic outside design world. I mean, it was from SWEDEN!  That catalogue became dogeared as I used it, a pencil, a ruler and  some graph paper to design my dream bedroom over and over and over.  I also built the most rad Barbie bungalow in our basement with plywood, cardboard, packing styrofoam and Sears catalogue photos.

 

image

Interiors by LeAnne Bunnell

 

Iván Meade – How would you describe your style?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – The interiors I design are generally classic, functional, and are elegant in an approachable way. I always try to inject the personality of the homeowners through colour, art and pattern. I love layering luxury in, and art is essential.  My personal aesthetic is a little more minimalistic, but I think its because I don’t like to dust.

 

 

image

Interiors by LeAnne Bunnell

 

Iván Meade -  What is your design philosophy?

 

LeAnne Bunnell - I believe that any interior space has to first and foremost function for the client; then you can layer in the beauty, personality and artful elements.  To me a room can be gorgeous but if it doesn't meet the functional needs of the client, it creates frustration. I also like to make sure there is an element of surprise, or whimsy. A sense of humour is essential.

 

image

Interiors by LeAnne Bunnell

 

Iván Meade – I appreciate that the selection of your project’s furniture pieces are often a mix of more custom or high-end items and more affordable elements. Could you please describe the reasoning and advantages of this technique for our readers?

 

LeAnne Bunnell –  Being a designer is a huge responsibility, and how my clients' spend their money is important to me. Clients usually come to me with if not a hard and fast budget, a least a sense of where they would like the funds to be allocated, so I always try to maximize the budget to achieve the function, the atmosphere, and the client's style.  

 

Seating in my designs is usually custom, as you can tailor the piece to the client's comfort, and the design direction. I like to use custom millwork to increase utilizable space and achieve the best function. Sometimes it's the signature Iight fixture we fall in love with and need to make work.  I always try to find the compromises to save a little so we can afford the splurges.

 

image

Vignette by LeAnne Bunnell

 

Iván Meade – I am also very drawn to your fabric selections. What is your process for choosing fabrics? Any tips for our readers?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – it varies by project, but I always start with the feeling that we would like to evoke in the room; luxurious, elegant, casual, warm and cozy. Colour comes next; I like to develop interesting palettes. Then I layer in pattern, texture and details.

 

image

Interiors by LeAnne Bunnell

 

Iván Meade – What do you enjoy most about being a designer?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – My clients!  I have had the pleasure of working with interesting, savvy, stylish and fun people.

 

image

Interiors by LeAnne Bunnell

 

Iván Meade - Who are your design idols?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – Nate Berkus has an approach to design that is relatable and full of personal touches. Kelly Wearstler has such a bold aesthetic, and fearlessly takes design risks. I also personally know so many talented local designers, who are not only friends, but also inspire me. Seriously fabulous people in Calgary.

 

image

Interiors by LeAnne Bunnell

 

Iván Meade - If you could design a home for anyone, who would it be? /  What would be your dream project?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – Sting. I would love to work with Sting. And design a modern mountain retreat for him and Trudi. If anyone knows him, pass my name on.  We'll do lunch.

 

image

Interiors by LeAnne Bunnell

 

Iván Meade – What is the best advice you have received as designer?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – From the fab Kimberley Seldon: 'Design is 80% business and 20% creative'.  And Bruce Croxon form Dragons Den: Get a buttoned down system to execute your designs, and inspire confidence in your clients.

 

 

image

Entry Vignette by LeAnne Bunnell

 

Iván Meade – We were impressed with your professionalism and drive in getting 7070 Design Headquarters off the ground when you first approached us for the graphic and web design; how has Calgary reacted to the recent launch?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – After a long slog through finding the right location, permitting process, not to mention the build, the response has been great. All of our offices are filled, and with an amazing group of like minded designers. 

 

I think that the physical space has been a huge benefit to all of us. We no longer have to drive from home offices to meet clients in coffee shops, chilly job sites or supplier show rooms.  We have a huge selection of samples from all our suppliers at our fingertips. We have frequent lunch and learns here, and the warehouse space and dock doors allow us to access product that would have previously been out of our reach. 

 

We all work differently from each other but we have created a community that is supportive and creative.  There are monthly 'happy hours' where we discuss our triumphs, stumbles and share advice.  We are working on a shared charity project, and hope to develop an in-house education series with suppliers.

 

image

Seventy Seventy Headquarters

 

Iván Meade – What kind of person could benefit from becoming a member of this design collective you have created with 7070? How and why?

 

LeAnne Bunnell –Well. We are currently an interesting mix but I think we all have one thing in common. Anybody joining us would have to have a great sense of humour. We laugh a lot. 

 

Being driven to succeed in this industry is great, and having a generous spirit is important.  We share a lot here.  We strive to offer support, offer kudos and we are constantly gaining inspiration from each other.  We look out for our colleagues, and share good advice.

 

Iván Meade – I was very impressed with the preview of DesignDocs, it is a great business tool that could revolutionize small design firms conduct business. What do you think the effect of this product will be on the design world and where do you see it going in the future?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – Dean and Gillian are the driving forces behind Design Docs and have created a project management and accounting program that allows designers to truly know their business. No more lost billing. Analysis of time and product categories. It follows transactions from proposal to final billing.  It has so much potential, and I am excited to hear that they are presenting at High Point this fall.

 

image

 

Iván Meade – How does it achieve its promise of increasing profits and reducing stress?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – After talking to many interior designers accounting and bookkeeping is their downfall. Some don't even know how much money they make.  Or where in their business it comes from. Now that is stressful.

 

Design Docs lets  you see all this, on each service, each product, each room, and each project. By the week, or by the month.  It allows proper financial goal setting, and confident budgeting conversations with clients.  Knowledge is power.

 

image

Memo Samples from Seventy Seventy Design Headquarters

 

Iván Meade – Are you working on any new entrepreneurial endeavours at the moment?

 

LeAnne Bunnell –  Phew!  Still trying to catch my breath after opening Seventy Seventy. My design business is growing and I love the work so I am thrilled to be 'just' designing again.

 

image

Office space at Seventy Seventy Design Headquarters

 

Iván Meade - What are you excited about in the world of design?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – I am constantly amazed by creativity. Whether the creation of beauty in objects, furnishings or art, or in solutions to problems I love learning about the process of design; there are so many paths.

 

image

Brainstroming Session at Seventy Seventy Headquarters

 

Iván Meade - Lastly, you have already created a stunning body of work with many mediums and styles. What would you like your legacy to be?

 

LeAnne Bunnell – It's so gratifying to become part of my clients' lives for a few months or for a few years. And to work on consecutive homes for the same client. I'd like to think that I've improved my clients' daily life with my designs, and that when they walk into the spaces we've worked on they say:  'Ahhh. I'm home.'  That makes me happy.

 

I invite you to visit LeAnne’s websites and explore her approach to design:

 

 

image

 

image



MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Friday, 11 October 2013

autonomous FURNITURE COLLECTIVE

One of the most exciting  projects we have worked on this year is the development of the brand and graphic identity for Autonomous Furniture Collective.  A Victoria BC based company that develops furniture made with traceable resources by local designers.

 

I had the pleasure of meeting Kirk Van Ludwig and Jodie Webb a long time ago, and when they decided to start their own furniture company they, invited me to be involved with the graphics and brand direction.   Since the first meeting I was blown away with their product and concept for their shop.  After our first meeting I knew we needed to design something that is relatable not just locally but globally.  Their product has so many unique qualities that I wanted to be part of the brand: traceability, local design, quality design, unique materials, and the list keeps going.

 

image

image

Alta Table by Autonomous Furniture Collective

 

To have a solid product in the marketplace we needed to start developing a brand that will complement the product and the idea behind it, as well as where the product was going to be sold.  After all, Autonomous is a new business and we wanted to use their fresh approach as an advantage.

 

image

Walnut  Coffee Table and Ebony Bow Tie Detail

After much deliberation, the name was decided: “Autonomous Furniture Collective” – We wanted to give the shop a gallery feel and create a new experience for every customer.  Every time you purchase a piece you will know where the history of the wood or other materials used – their former life and where they are coming from; in addition to the designer of the piece – Autonomous’s designers are mostly local and talented artisans that are members of the Furniture Collective.  People who appreciates good design, quality, and timeless pieces that act as sculptural forms while maintaining their ability to be used in everyday life. The pieces become a part of your home and lifestyle developing a nice natural patina and depth.  Aging as they would in nature.

 

image

 

After we had the logo designed we needed to position the company, so we came up with a phrase to distinguish them in the marketplace - “the new west coast”. This phrase was born as a way to let the customers know that this is a new product and that it is possible to re-invent what people consider to be pure west-coast design.  After all, the main material in their furniture pieces is sourced in the west coast. We further this notion with the phrase “Sculptural forms that are at once urban and rural”.

 

image

 

With all the brand elements and logo in place it was time to start having some fun and develop their stationary package.  We wanted something sexy, unique and memorable; just like their pieces of furniture.  We selected a beautifully textured, thick paper in black and we foiled the card in gold to reflect that they are current and that the product is pure quality. 

 

image

image

 

The launch of the brand was at IDS West this year and it was extremely well received, the pieces have already been invited to 3 of the most prestigious show rooms in Vancouver.  Thanks to the power of social media, design gurus such as Margot Austin and Joe Ruggiero have shown interest in the pieces which is an incredible sign.

 

image

IDWest 2013

 

All in all we cannot wait to see how far Autonomous will go in spreading the product around the world.

 

Intrigued???  Visit their new showroom and be surprised!!!

 

2101 Government Street, Victoria B.C  V8T 4P2

www.autonomousfurniture.com



MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

IN CONVERSATION WITH AMBER KINGSNORTH OF MAK INTERIORS

imageAmber Kingsnorth RID LEED AP

Alas, the Victoria market lost this gem of a designer to the mainland, but Amber Kingsnorth is making a name for herself in the big city with her new design firm, Mak Interiors. After nearly a decade of Vancouver Island based design experience, she's moved on to see what Vancouver has to offer

.

Not only is Amber a talented, professional, and smart designer – she is also one of the most fun! Her blog and social media pages never fail to make her readers smile. Plus, she is award-winning (2011 IDIBC Awards of Excellence – Silver), a LEED Accredited Professional and a Registered Interior Designer and a very active member of IDIBC to boot.

 

Amber takes on a wide-range of projects including; hotels, condominium and town home developments, offices, restaurants, healthcare, retail and residential. The connecting thread? She approaches projects with a mind for salvaging the unsalvageable.

 

We had previously interviewed Amber with Inoui Design in 2010, but with a new firm, new city (Vancouver) and new projects, we wanted to get an update from this spirited design aficionado.

 

Amber also has a special place in my heart, she is the team captain of the Designer Survivors Tour, an industry team of cyclists raising funds for the BC Cancer Foundation – and she dedicated on of her treks to me when I was first diagnosed – I will be forever grateful for that.

 

Read on to get in on the conversation and find out what Ms Kingsnorth has been up to…


Iván Meade – So, what's new since we featured you last?


Amber Kingsnorth - After about a year of traveling back and forth between Victoria and Vancouver to see clients, I finally set down roots on the mainland.  That move came with a lot of change and a lot of personal reflection.  This is an industry full of amazingly talented people and no shortage of vision so it was important to me to define what I was bringing to the table.   I believe in bringing value and purpose to bricks and mortar construction and creating spaces that support goals and foster growth.  A store isn't just a place to buy things, it's a way to experience the message behind them.  A doctors office isn't just where you go to see a doctor, it's a place of comfort and care.  Not to get too deep on the first question but it's the basis for my new interior design firm!  Māk Interiors (pronounced 'make') is all about making space work for the people it serves; commercial and residential.  We also have a great team of collaborators who help extend our services into the branding, business development and marketing realms for those commercial clients who need a little help finding their own message.

 

image

Interiors by Amber Kingsnorth


Iván Meade – What are you excited about right now in the world of design?


Amber Kingsnorth -  Community!  I've always been an advocate for an open and collaborative interior design community and that's crossing into other disciplines as well.  For commercial clients seamless messaging is very important; from business cards, to website, to environment, the feeling needs to be cohesive.  By coming together with graphic designers, web developers, and industry specific suppliers, we can create spaces that are tailored to each client and the needs of their business.

 

image

Interiors by Amber Kingsnorth

Iván Meade – What is on the horizon for Mãk Interiors?

Amber Kingsnorth –  We're really carving out a niche for ourselves in the retail industry; helping retailers better define their brand and create engaging spaces that showcase their products in unique ways.  Right now we're just in talks with one of my favorite furniture retailers in the city.  I can't say much right now but I'm very excited to be working with them!

 

image

Interiors by Amber Kingsnorth


Iván Meade – I have seen that you’ve been featured in GRAY magazine for your concept window displays?  What is the process to design a window display and where did you get your inspiration from?

Amber Kingsnorth -  First of all; GRAY is a great publication that your readers should definitely get their hands on!


The feature was of a window display we created for a great local retailer; espace d.  The store itself is a gorgeous modern space (designed by the Office of Marfarlane Biggar) and the owner was looking for a creative way to display his very unique houseware and objet d'art for the holiday season.  He wanted a very provocative display to draw attention to the store so we took a chance and presented a concept that placed his products amongst a pile of discarded ordinary home goods.  The premise being that the quality and unique aesthetic of his offering would really stand out.  He took a risk  (I love a client who trusts the vision!) and it completely paid off.  The installation has outlived the holiday season and is still going strong, attracting new clients and creating a buzz about the shop.


Because they're temporary, window displays offer a lot freedom in design but they also need to showcase the products in a practical way.  Drawing people into the store is a major value to a retailer but only if you're attracting the right people so you really need to understand the brand before diving in.  You want to design something that will have meaning to their target audience - those are the eyes that you need to catch!

 

image


Iván Meade – What would be your dream project?


Amber Kingsnorth - If we're really talking 'Dream' jobs ... I would love for Jenna Lyons (President and Creative Director of J. Crew) to call me up asking me to re-design their flagship store, conceptualize a years worth of art installations for their store windows and design her personal home ... And then we would become friends, of course :) *
*this will likely come back to haunt me in a future interview ... Or if Jenna ever does call!

 

image

Interiors by Amber Kingsnorth


Iván Meade – You always have at least one stroke of genius in terms of repurposing in your projects – where does that inspiration come from?

 
Amber Kingsnorth -  This is definitely a product of my childhood!  My Dad can often be heard saying 'Hey! You know what you could do with this?! ...' while holding up some construction cast-off.  Well, that turned out to be hereditary :)  


Seeing the potential in ordinary objects and having that light-bulb moment is something that I've refined through my design work.  What started as a way of achieving impact on a budget, has revealed itself to be an important aspect of my work; giving new spaces a feeling of familiarity and meaning.  These customized touches always end up being the most memorable.

 

imageInteriors by Amber Kingsnorth

Iván Meade – Now that you are officially flying solo with your firm, how would you describe your style? Feel free to answer this either personally, or as a company – we also won't complain if we get both!

Amber Kingsnorth - I'd call it Modern With Meaning.  No matter what type of space I design, it must has to strike a chord with those who are intended to use it.  I personally prefer modern spaces with an injection of fun through colour, pattern, or those unexpected touches to keep things from getting too austere or predictable. 

 

image

Interiors by Amber Kingsnorth


Iván Meade – What is your favourite thing about being a designer?


Amber Kingsnorth - The parties of course!  I kid :)
I have two favourites:
1)  Working both sides of my brain.  Design allows me to test the limits of my creativity and be very analytical and technical at the same time.  
2)  Inspiration is on my to-do list.  My job is literally to be inspired by my clients and their stories and to return the favour through my work.  Not bad!

 

imageInteriors by Amber Kingsnorth

Iván Meade – What is the best advice you have received – design related or otherwise?

Amber Kingsnorth - When you give, you are never without :)

 

image

Interiors by Amber Kingsnorth


Iván Meade – Back in 2010 I asked "Do you think Victoria is ready for a change? Where do you see things going in the next ten years?" and you had replied "YES. Since entering the field 6 years ago, we’ve noticed a huge shift in the design community. Designers are finally seeing each other as colleagues rather than competition, sharing ideas, sources, information, horror stories… and it’s great!" How do you feel about your prediction so far? Would you adapt it, agree with it, or change it completely 3 years later?

Amber Kingsnorth - I have to stick with my prediction, see question #2 :)

 

image

Interiors by Amber Kingsnorth


Iván Meade – Likewise, one final question - would you have changed your legacy from "we just want to love what we do everyday and know that people are enjoying the spaces we’ve designed"?

Amber Kingsnorth - I wouldn't necessarily re-write that answer but I can add to it; enjoying the space isn't enough, I want my clients to feel that the investment in their space has a measurable return to them.  For my commercial clients that may mean keeping their overhead low by making efficient use of less square footage, better employee retention & workflow, and a greater experience for their own customers or patients.  For my residential clients that could be an increase in the value of their property, or a more enjoyable homelife in a space that supports and encourages what they love to do.  I hope my legacy is that I opened people's eyes to the value of a well-designed space.

 

image

Interiors by Amber Kingsnorth

 

I invite you to visit Amber’s stunning body of work and to read her fantastic blog at:

 

image



MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Saturday, 14 September 2013

GREETINGS!

You may wonder why I have not written a post in such a long time.  I had taken some time off to visit my family and friends in Mexico,. I then came back to catch up with the work at the studio and now I am leaving to France and Spain in order to celebrate my 40th birthday.

 

Meanwhile I leave you with some cool pics I took in my home country.

 

image

Mexico

 

image

Mexico City

 

image

San Luis Potsi, Mexico

 

image

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

 

image

Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera Studios – Mexico City

 

image

Diego Rivera Studio – Mexico City

 

image

O’Gorman Studio – Mexico City



MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011