Friday, 29 February 2008

Eye candy of the week

Product: Word Pendant
Designer: Alison Berger
Yummy Factor: Sweet & Tasty

"Alison Berger likes to say that her medium is light, and her material is glass. Her glass blown pieces have a quiet but powerful presence, and they can transform a room with their mysterious light". Dwell

This light fixture really grabbed my attention. When the light is off the etched writing is very subtle but once the light is turned on, it creates brilliant shadows on the wall. It gives an effect reminiscent of wallpaper without installing a single roll. Instant wallpaper - instant gratification.

I can see this pendant being used in any interior style. It would work particularly well in a dining room or a library. I believe the calligraphy adds a sense of elegance and sophistication in a new and innovative way.

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Living with Art

Often I think that the associations with the word “Art” are too strong and misunderstood. Art does not only belong in museums, public buildings or city landscapes. Art also belongs in your home, your bedroom, your bathroom, and your garden.

Recently while working on a project with a client in some part of the process I mentioned that we needed to consider some art pieces for the focal point of the room and other walls. My client looked hesitant " But I can't afford art in my space, art is so expensive! " Well I said. "Art doesn’t need to be expensive; It only needs to speak to you and your surroundings".

You can find really interesting pieces even in second hand stores. When you bring art to a living environment you bring interest and a more sophisticated feel. Art impacts space in a very personal way. One's art selections can reflect one's mood, vibrancy, culture, and even one's sense of humour in some cases. Art is for me a "stamp in your letter" (Spanish saying) or the icing on the cake for you Canadian people.

I have always been fortunate to be surrounded by art. I always thought that having art in your home was as common as having a dish washer or an iron. But this thought started changing when I realized that people often get intimidated by the word and by the art itself. Art can be found in so many ways – Paintings, Sketches, Photographs, Etchings, Sculptures, Masks, Object d’Art, or even an item of nostalgic value. Art can be expensive – yes! , but also art can be inexpensive; a simple framed napkin with a sketch on it can be art in itself. I wish I could have a sketch by Frank Gehry for example. Why not frame the latest cover of Rolling Stone Magazine with Britney Spears - Inside an American Tragedy? Art can be social and art can be political, but the most important thing is that art can be everywhere you are - just need to find it and make it yours.

Frank Gehry sketch of the Disney Music Hall in Los Angeles

Here are some example of some projects where I have use art.

African Masks - Shoal Point Project

Framed Fornassetti's Eve Wall Paper - Meade Design Group Studio

Etching and Handcarved Pho Dog - Shoal Point Project

"Man and the Bird" by Artist Cony Valdes - Marifield Project

Acid Photographs & Bar Code Panelling - Maple Bay Project

Handpainted Chinese Roll and Budha Head - Kona Project

For more pictures please visit

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Designed for Love

Are you looking for a creative way to share Valentine’s Day with that special someone? Well, you can never go wrong with a nice bottle of champagne and some romantic music.

However, Meade Design Group has come across something to make that moment even more special.

A custom designed chair that takes care of where to put the champagne and ensures that you and your special someone are gazing into each other's eyes.

The Clicquot Loveseat features two petal-shaped chairs facing each other on a chrome-plated pedestal joined in the center by a pistil-shaped ice bucket. This amorous design is a contemporary take on an 18th- century French armchair and was designed by Karim Rashid.

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Introducing our new design studio

I believe that for every designer the best project you can have is your own. This way you are your own client and you know exactly what you want and nobody has a veto power that will repress your creative ideas. In this case the project was our New studio now located in 1316 B Government Street in the heart of Downtown Victoria and just steps away from the new Design District.

When I was hunting for a new space to conceive our next studio I had some clear ideas in mind. I wanted a great location - you know what they say location, location, location... high ceilings, lots of character preferably an older building with my own entrance, east orientation (I myself love the morning light and I believe it is the best light to work with colour), hardwood flooring, a deck would be nice (who doesnt like to have lunch outside in the summer), a real storage room, a really nice little kitchenette, a space that reads classic but yet was contemporary, and a place where I could get my creative juices flowing in a laboratory of my own. I have always loved the word alchemy so why not to have a laboratory where I could create my own alchemy.

Just to keep the entry short and not boring, the hunt started in August and I have to say I just consider myself really lucky that the third place I visited had all of my wish list and even more. This place had excellent bones and a great history behind it. The place I found used to be the Pacific Opera Victoria (POV) home - it had already some talent of its own. I am not really fan of before and after photos but here is what the space looked like when I found it.

Echo and Tiffany checking out the new space

When Jeff saw the space he said "Are you sure this place will work? It is in a very rough shape." I answered YES! Its perfect.

I have this theory that a change its always good. I needed a space that I could make my own, a space where I could manage my own environment. And from there the journey of the new studio started. We had some bumps along the road, delays and some disappointments but also lots of good laughs, new ideas and the hope of having everything done as I envisioned it. Overall though, there was lots and lots of support from the people I have been working with for the last 6 years. I have to say that this entry is an homage to my trades people, my suppliers, my team and everybody who was involved in this project. Their time and their attention to detail is absolutely everywhere and I have to say that this has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. Thank you to all involved in the project !

Now, let me introduce our new studio...

View of the Meeting Space

Framed Fornassetti's Eve Wall Paper

Black Ghost Chair by Philippe Starck and our own wall decal design

Kitchenette with Carrara marble counter tops and Ralph Lauren wallpaper

Work area with our own rogue's art gallery

Work area with a Barroque Mirror, our own fireplace decal design

Andrew Martin & Barbara Barry Fabrics

For more pictures please visit

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Interview with Richard Roblin

I have always seen Vancouver Island as a very unique place; an island that is surprisingly full of design talents. You can find internationally recognized architects, interior designers, graphic designers, artists, set designers, sculptors and so on. A place where the inspiration doesn't get insular but rather is creating a unique voice in its final approach. Because of this I have decided to call my colleagues and friends and interview them and then in this way I can share their secrets, their works, their favourite things to do, their inspiration and most importantly share who the design talents on our island are.

Artist, architect, sculptor, and overall naturalist Richard Roblin is one of the island's talents that I have the great opportunity to know. Who can resist an invitation to his place - a place that will be soon featured in Boulevard magazine? I have always had a fascination with artists' studios. When you see an artist's studio you can begin to comprehend the extent of their work and so when I received a lunch invitation to Richard's new house I could not refuse. After having a wonderful Bouillabaisse soup perfectly prepared by Eve (Richard's wife) we went to his studio and had a fascinating chat about his art, his work, and his inspirations. Here are excerpts from our conversations.

Richard Roblin

Richard Roblin's Studio

Ivan - Can you give some background on yourself?

Richard - To start with, I’m not an architect, but I have always held architecture as one of the great arts. My choice when I was in my teens was to go to architecture school or develop myself as an artist. I decided to do both. Direct from the early days I started to paint and what I painted was primarily the structure of nature and how it translated into the structure of creation itself, the creation of buildings and the creation of environments. That’s always been my primary interest in life, discovering new ways of creating environments that instil contemplative and inspirational spaces with a passion for beauty.

I guess my passion for beauty was instilled through my love of nature. I was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wrights’ philosophy of integration which is primary to my point of view as well, that there is nothing separate from nature.

Roblin Residence 2008 - Duncan, BC

Ivan - What do you think dominates your art? The use of colour or the use of form?

Richard -
Atmosphere. I don’t believe we are separate from the atmosphere we are in. The information, knowledge and inspirations that are there are compounded by being in a specific place and you are drawing the energy of the place. It’s the energy and response of a given place, it’s always shifting, it’s ephemeral.

Art in Context - Private Residence Montreal

Ivan - Is your art influenced by architecture or your architecture influenced by art?

Richard - I think one informs the other.

House and Home Article

Ivan - Because you are coming from an architectural background, do you think you have an advantage in the use of scale and proportion and also do use this knowledge in your art pieces?

Richard - I think the aspiration of every artist is to find equilibrium. In nature, everything is very well balanced.

Stephen Haller Fine Arts, New York

Ivan - When you do commission work, how do you keep your integrity as an artist?

Richard - I think there is direct naturalness that goes into the process and a love for the activity. It’s always a unique event.

Awakening - Art in Context

Ivan - Lately you been translating your art to area rugs, why this media?

Richard - I love to design everything: tables, lamps, sculptures and textiles. I’m interested in creating things. The creative desire is always there.


Ivan - As an artist, who has influenced you form the artistic world?

Richard - Luis Barragán from Mexico. His use of colour, form, and the uniqueness of his designs.


Ivan - Since I first met you over 2 years ago, your work has taken an interesting development and moved away from being very linear to being more organic...

Richard - I tend to work in series. Every form is worth trying, whether it’s organic or linear.

Rosentzeig Collection, Montreal

Ivan - It is difficult to show your art to full effect when you are showing pictures on the website, how do you try and deal with this?

Richard - I try and present my work on their own, and often in context. I believe that the environment that the work of art is integrated into is part of the artifact because it’s not in a museum. Often when I am presenting my work over the internet I will present it as an idea or inspiration of how it would appear in a living environment - that we live with these artifacts. It’s an everyday experience.

Ivan - We were discussing how technology has influenced our lives, how has technology influenced your art pieces now?

Richard - Well I’m more and more using the computer as in instrument to help in the creative process. I can use the computer to integrate pieces and then alter them to create new inspirations.

It’s all process. There is not a beginning or an end, it’s a continuum. We are always playing in that continuum, in that dance. So I don’t see a beginning or an end, I see the dance. As a dancer I just dance. As a painter I just paint.

Ivan - Coming from Montreal and having travelled extensively, how has your transition to life on Vancouver Island been?

Richard - It’s been a beautiful experience actually. There are no accidents. I always thought one day I would be living here. There is no shortage of inspiration , it’s a great place to be.
So many of my primary inspirations have come from my beautiful wife. Also inspiration comes from mediation which I try to practice every day.

Ivan - Thank you Richard, it's been a pleasure learning about your art and sharing the afternoon with you in your home and studio.

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011