Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Eye Candy of the Week

Product: Vertigo Tray
Collection: Exceptional Items - by Christofle
Designer: Andrée Putman
Material: Sterling Silver and White Corian
Product Website: www.christofle.com
Designer Website: www.andreeputman.com
Yummy Factor: C'est exquis !

Andrée Putman

Parisian, born in 1925, is one of the contemporary world's
leading interior designers. Andrée Putman designed the interior of shops for Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Thierry Mugler, Azzedine Alaia, Cartier, Ebel, mannequins for Barneys, Interiors of the Concorde for Air France, pieces for Christofle, Guerlain, and her own personal line. When Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell opened Morgans Hotel, designed by Ms. Putman, in 1984, the notion of the 'boutique hotel' was born.

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Friday, 25 April 2008

In Conversation with Kenneth Brown

Kenneth Brown is a Los Angeles based interior designer best known for his use of rich colour and his attention to detail. After completing his studies in the US, Kenneth went to England to continue his education in interior and industrial design. He took time to travel Europe where he further developed his sense of style.

His clean, updated traditional style meshes comfort with interesting fabric choices and accessories used in a simple way to accentuate the space and create his signature style. A staple of HGTV, Kenneth is also listed as one of America’s top 100 designers by House Beautiful.

photograph courtesy of Kenneth Brown

Kenneth Brown in his office - above him are framed sketches he did as a child http://www.kennethbrowndesign.com/

Iván Meade - What was your first experience with design?

Kenneth Brown - When I was 12 years old I would rake leaves to earn extra cash. Living in the south, we had large yards that felt like a blank canvas. To make my job fun, I would rake the leaves into floor plans. I would clear paths for hallways, bagging the leaves to carve space for a large living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms. Occasionally I would come across large roots from old oak trees and incorporate them as steps for bi-level floor plans. Little did I know that 20 years later, I would still make my living by creating floor plans.

photograph courtesy of Kenneth Brown

Iván - Who or what has influenced your style?

Kenneth - My style was influenced by the old southern homes on the Mississippi river. The classic Acadian style architecture set against the humid landscape was my visual playground growing up. These rich colours are embedded in my design sensibility. Moving to Los Angeles at 24 opened the world of casual living. The juxtaposition of my southern upbringing paired with my new California lifestyle continue to influence my style.

Iván - How do you define your style?

Kenneth - Southern Style and California Comfort

photograph courtesy of Kenneth Brown

Iván - What do you consider to be your greatest strength and weakness?

Kenneth - My greatest strength is listening. I can not design without having a firm grasp on what my clients are asking for. My weakness is real estate. I move too often.

Iván - What project are you most proud of?

Kenneth - I am most proud of my office. It embodies my passion for design and reflects everything I have worked hard for.

photographs courtesy of Kenneth Brown

Iván - What would be your dream project if you were given carte blanche? (Would it be a whole home or just one room? And what would you do with it and in what style?

Kenneth - My dream project would be to redo all of the historical homes in New Orleans that have fallen into decay and neglect. It's neither a whole home nor one room, it would be entire neighborhoods. I would bring back the glory of this amazing city's culture and sense of style that is seen no where else.

photograph courtesy of Kenneth Brown

Iván - How do you help your budget conscious clients achieve an expensive look without breaking the bank?

Kenneth - Projects don't have to happen overnight or over a weekend like all those other design shows. The key to achieving the right design on a budget is taking it slowly with a design plan in place. Spend your money on a great design plan and take your time to do it at your own pace. Savour the moments of design and do them as you can afford them.

photograph courtesy of Kenneth Brown

Iván - What is the most unusual request that you have ever received from a client?

Kenneth - To design a 500 sq ft dog house complete with AC, lighting, stone floors and celiling fans.

Iván - What do you think most homes will have in the future?

Kenneth - Furniture that reads your body temperature and adjust accordingly.

photograph courtesy of Kenneth Brown

Iván - I noticed that you are a big supporter of eco-friendly design. What small changes would you suggest to our readers to help them achieve a more green home?

Kenneth - The most important thing with eco-friendly design is to understand the difference between a trend and lifestyle choice. My goal is to educate people about the choices they make and to know that not all "green" labelled products are the best choice. Small changes like unplugging your small appliances and using CFL's can have a huge impact on your carbon footprint.

Iván - What can we expect to see in future episodes of reDesign?

Kenneth - I've completed my 52 episodes of reDesign and I am currently in development on a new show. During my hiatus, I am developing a line of bedding and home accessories as well as a line of Baby Bedding. Nurseries are the new kitchen - the hot room to design.

Iván - You are extremely well known for your residential spaces but do you ever venture into commercial design?

Kenneth - I have done commercial spaces and would do more of them if I could find the time.

Iván - I have noticed that you bring great and interesting art into your projects; what impact do you feel art has on a space?

Kenneth - Art is everything for a room. It gives the room personality. I often have my clients do their own artwork to infuse their personality into the space. Too often, rooms done by designers do not reflect anything about the people who live there.

Iván - I read somewhere that you are developing your own line of home accessories. When and where will they be available and what kind of products have you designed?

Kenneth - My line of home accesories and bedding will be available in September. The line will include bedding collections, signature sheets, pillows, throws, lamps, trays, vases, candles, and will continue to expand. I am also doing a baby bedding line along with accessories for the nursery. As soon as I can announce the exact date and locations, I will let you know.

photograph courtesy of Kenneth Brown

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

Kenneth - The designer who taught his clients how to live beautifully through design.

To see more of Kenneth Brown's work please visit


MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Earth Day

Earth Day = Green Design

These days more and more people are concerned with the environment and being green. Also more environmentally friendly products are coming onto the market from paint to fabric to flooring . It’s now possible to be stylish and still help save the planet. It’s not always easy being green but every little bit helps...

What makes a product “green” ? Here are some of the criteria used to judge how green a product is:

social responsibility - is the manufacturer socially responsible and embracing environmental practices.

manufacturing processes - the item is manufactured in an environmentally responsible way and does no harm to the environment.

distribution methods - uses environmentally friendly and innovative methods of distribution, carbon neutral.

renewable - made with renewable materials.

recyclable content - Made with recycled materials. Percentage of post-industrial vs. post-consumer materials.

recyclability - content of product is mostly recyclable and can be disposed of safely or reused in the manufacturing of the same product or reused for another product.

toxicity - does not contain toxic materials. Meets accepted air quality standards.

life cycle - designed for extended life cycle to reduce costs per year and impact on the environment.

installation - can be installed in an environmentally friendly manner, i.e. using low VOC adhesives.

maintenance - Can be maintained in an environmentally friendly manner, i.e., low toxic cleaning chemicals and low water consumption.

One of Meade Design Group's goals while we are working with clients is to recommend as many green products as possible. Here are some examples that are making a difference in our client's projects and consecuently in our world.

colour without compromise

A variety of healthier paint options are now available. You can spice up your walls with natural paints, zero VOC paints and low VOC paints, all of which are considerably healthier choices. Zero VOC paints include any paint with chemicals in the range of five grams per liter.



floors to be proud of

There are many “green” choices when it comes to your selection for flooring. Some options you can consider are bamboo, cork, linoleum or reclaimed lumber.

Bamboo itself is a very fast growing, renewable, and sustainable resource. It is also harder than many other woods and very durable.

Cork has become a popular choice because of it’s durability and anti-allergenic qualities.


Linoleum is also a “green” choice as it is made from renewable and natural resources and is a better choice than vinyl which contains chemicals.

eco - friendly fabrics

Fabric also comes in some “green” options. Kravet recently unveiled a new eco-friendly fabric line made from recycled polyester materials. No additional chemicals are used during the recycling process; instead water-based products and environmentally approved dyes were used.

The Kravet Green Collection is made of 100% recycled polyester. This polyester is a unique blend of post-industrial and post-consumer fibers. And after years of enjoyable use, these fabrics can be recycled.


If these walls could talk green

Wallpaper is now available made from recycled paper and made with vegetable dyes. There are now many natural, breathable cloth options available as well.

Manufacturing and glazing new ceramic tiles is also hard on the environment. Consider low VOC glazes where possible. Glass tiles made from recycled glass bottles can make a beautiful green option!


Other small steps you can take-

see the light - switch your bulbs at home to cfl bulbs



bag it - take a shopping bag with you or keep one in your car. Shopping bags now come in many fun and stylish options so it’s easy to express yourself and be green.



come clean - Start using environmentally friendly cleaning products around the house. We love the Method products! They work as great as they smell and come in eco-friendly, stylish packaging. You’ll want to leave them out on the counter...

paper trail - purchase recycled paper products to use around the house.

good wood - opt for biodegradable cutlery when you choose disposable. Avoid plastic which sits in the landfill. A fun choice for picnics or outdoor entertaining.


natural beauty - pamper yourself and opt for more natural beauty products. Choose products that contain fewer chemicals and are made by socially responsible companies who source their ingredients from sustainable and eco-friendly resources.

One of my favorite green phrases came from Kravet Green campaign, which in my personal opinion as a designer says it all...

reduce * recycle * redecorate

related links:






MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Eye Candy of the Week

Product: Carambole Vase by Baccarat
Designer: Yves Savinel & Gilles Roze
Material: Crystal
Website: http://www.baccarat.com
Yummy Factor: C'est délicieux !

This extraordinary piece of crystal was designed by Yves Savinel & Gilles Roze for Baccarat in the search to bring a more contemporary side to crystal design. The smooth lines of the vase will read perfectly in any setting.

I just like it ! That's all I have to say :)

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Icons of Design - Tom Ford

Tom Ford is probably one of the most recognized icons of design of our time. He is back in the fashion business, attempting to alter - if not correct - a phenomenon he helped create while he was a design chief at the house of Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent.

[ viewer discretion is advised ]

Now under his name he has created and redefined a new standard for male style. Ford's philosophy is that he wants both the industry and consumers to end the hunt for the next big thing in favor of a long-term commitment to personal style.

He wants people to appreciate the details in the things they buy and can keep for years to come.
"It's a reaction to our world, where everything is so impersonal and things are less and less about quality, less and less about nuance - less and less about people. Maybe I'm in the early stages of longing for the generation before," says Ford.

Tom Ford Store in New York

Tom Ford opened a very Saville Row-inspired menswear store last year designed by William Sofield on Madison Avenue, New York. Sofield was a translator to Tom Ford aesthetics and business philosophy.

The shop is quiet, elegant and homey - or at least homey for a cool character like Ford. With abstract art by Lucio Fontana and a crocodile-inspired chair - both from his own home - along with beaver rugs and a slate-gray palette, Ford attempted to re-create the mood of a 1930s men's club. There are butlers to cater to clients' whims, from pouring a drink at the bar to fetching lunch from a nearby restaurant. Ford is basically bringing glamour back.

It also doesn't hurt that Ford doesn't intend to drastically change styles from season to season, if at all. His clothes are investment pieces just like the furniture pieces you should have at home.
How can you achieve Tom Fords style in your home? Well just follow his recipe creating a design that is elusive, handsome, provocative, and the key word controversial.

Below I have assembled some furniture pieces and accessories that have a sense of Tom Ford's timeless style:

This great chair and footstool set gives an old world feel but reads well with contemporary furnishings. The perfect combination for Mr. Ford's personal style.

Vintage chair with stool

A unique light fixture made of animal horns that are formed into panes to create a modern feel adds a sense of sophisticated quirkiness.


A different injection of the horn material, this time married with chrome legs for another natural but fun element in these great nesting tables.

An organically shaped mirror lends itself to the more modern side of Ford's style. The simplicity of the mirror will never be outdated and he pattern adds a feminine quality to his usually very masculine spaces.


The perfect accessory for an entranceway console, sofa table, or desk these boxes exude class and the fact that they are vintage only adds to the "mens lounge" appeal.

Vintage rosewood boxes

A perfect example of a blend of modern, classic and masculine.

Stool with chrome ring

What's more classic than animal print? A fun zebra-print rug is a great way to add pattern and whimsy to a Tom Ford inspired room.


This elegant lamp covers all the bases: modern, reads well with vintage pieces, masculine, and clean. (And the black lampshade doesn't hurt either!)


This Phillippe Starck sofa is contemporary but the charcoal fabric is reminiscent of a men's suit making it a perfect match.


A Moooi urn is the perfect accessory - black, classic and fun.

locally available at http://www.onlyhuman.ca

If you have ever seen any of Tom Ford's advertising you can see that this slightly provocative photography would be right at home in a space designed just for him.

locally available at www.libertyinside.com

And of course, what would any Tom Ford inspired space be without a little crocodile?


MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Friday, 11 April 2008

The Design District

Yesterday was the official launch for THE DESIGN DISTRICT in Victoria, BC. It was an event where lots of familiar faces got together and celebrated the long awaited commencement of the project that was four years in the making.


THE DESIGN DISTRICT is an area in downtown Victoria BC where aproximately 25 stores related to design have joined efforts under the direction of Pamela Robert from Thomson and Page and Ken Kelly from the DVBA (Downtown Victoria Business Association) to bring attention to this part of town


THE DESIGN DISTRICT is in Herald Street, Store Street, Fisgard and Pandora Street in downtown Victoria BC

Who is part of THE DESIGN DISTRICT ?

THE DESIGN DISTRICT members are for the most part furniture stores, childrens boutiques, art galleries, and other local stores selling a wide variety of products and design services for the residents of Victoria BC, as well as supporting businesses such as restaurants and coffee shops.

Why the need to create THE DESIGN DISTRICT ?

The need to identify and create a sector of the city where businesses get together to create one-stop shopping for anything that your home can need, and make it an experience.

Why do we know so much about THE DESIGN DISTRICT ?

Well, Meade Design Group got the honor to be invited as a company to design their graphic identity.

To read more about the concept behind THE DESIGN DISTRICT you can read an entry that we posted earlier this year

This will be the street signage that will identify this new community in town.

We also have created a list of links under THE DESIGN DISTRICT category at the left side of the blog.

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Eye Candy of the Week

Product: Stool - Stone Diamond
Colour: B4 - Crystal

Designer: Marcel Wanders for Kartell
Material: Polycarbonate
Weight: 3.2 kg
Height: 45 cm
Diam: 30 cm
Website: http://www.marcelwanders.nl
Website: http://www.kartell.com
Yummy Factor: Sweet !

Bling ! Bling ! for your home.

Stone is a stool with a simple shape but with a very precious appearance. Made with an essential symmetrical linear shape which is reminiscent of an hourglass, its surface is simple extraordinary it reflects light just like a diamond. Due to its jewel-like nature, Stone is offered in the colours of precious stones.

This piece is perfect to inject a contemporary factor into any traditional space, as a stool this piece would be great for a make up vanity or in the bathroom to hold soaps and other bathroom accessories.

Available locally at:

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

In Conversation with Bruce Wilkin

Bruce Wilkin is a local, award-winning builder-designer and the principal of Bruce Wilkin Design. Along with being listed in “House and Home” magazine as one of Canada’s top 100 designers, Bruce is often quoted in “Style at Home” magazine for his expert opinions. I met with him over coffee to discuss his take on design and what is happening locally with design and architecture.

Before our chat, Bruce wanted to share one of his latest projects with me. Often known for a more modern approach, this space is somewhat of a departure in style for him; a penthouse at Swallows Landing where immaculate custom woodworking and finishes highlight the beautiful, traditional space. Below are some excerpts from our meeting:

Iván Meade - Who or what has influenced your style?

Bruce Wilkin - I am more influenced by historical architecture; elements from classical and traditional architecture rather than an entire design or period. Palladio is a major influence. My own house is modern but I am equally comfortable in a traditional space.

photo courtesy of Bruce Wilkin Design

- You have a great eye and a wealth of experience in design and building. Which would you consider more important, and which should come first, design or contracting? How do you feel having both these assets helps you in your career?

Bruce - If you don’t understand the building you can’t understand the design. You don’t have to be a builder, but as a designer you need to understand how things are built in order to be able to use them in a design. This process is very important as is the order of operations.

Iván - What is your design process?

Bruce - Structure first. It’s always structure first and design second. No amount of window treatments or furniture is going to make a bad space look good. I think good architecture will tell you how to decorate the space. It should be seamless.

photo courtesy of Bruce Wilkin Design

- What do you consider to be your greatest strength and weakness?

Bruce - I think my strength is being able to think fast. Being able to think on my feet and solve problems as they come up and move forward. I don’t have any weaknesses. (laughter) I guess my weakness is that I can be very impatient.

photo courtesy of Bruce Wilkin Design

- Has technology affected your design?

Bruce - Yes. Good technology makes life easier – bad technology makes life more complicated. I think there is going to be a push back on technology that is meaningless and trendy.

photo courtesy of Bruce Wilkin Design

Iván - What project are you most proud of?

Bruce - I think whatever I am currently working on. That’s where my energy is.

photo courtesy of Bruce Wilkin Design

Iván - What would be your dream project if were given carte blanche? Would it be a whole home or just one room? Would it be commercial or residential? What would you do with it and in what style?

Bruce - Concrete. Something in concrete and glass - a house on the ocean, not too big. If I could do what Tadao Ando does, I would be very happy.


photo courtesy of Bruce Wilkin Design

Iván - How do you help your budget conscious clients achieve an expensive look without breaking the bank?

Bruce - I think buying quality the first time and buying it once rather than going cheaper and buying it over and over is more economical in the long run. Keep it simple. You need to spend money on the bones of a house before allocating budget to decor. The finishing touches take time to refine.

photo courtesy of Bruce Wilkin Design

Iván - What do you think most Victoria homes are missing?

Bruce - I would say that Victoria is coming into its own, and now has the world coming here. Victoria is becoming a world class city.

Iván - What brought you here?

Bruce - I was born here. I escaped from here to go to Toronto for a while but then I came back. Most of my family are in Victoria. It’s a rarity - everybody in Victoria seems to come from somewhere else.

photo courtesy of Bruce Wilkin Design

Iván - I really enjoyed your exhibit at the “Art In Bloom” event. It was nice to see something modern, minimal and clean looking. How did you arrive at the design that became your end result?

Toni Onley - Still Life

Bruce - The painting was very minimal - black and white and not very botanical. I wanted to keep the arrangement minimal as well. The cylinders represented the exact size of the painting. When I went to the meeting and was shown the painting I would be working with I knew what I was going to do by the time I got home. I just had to figure how I was going to execute it - the building and the mechanics of it.

photo courtesy of Bruce Wilkin Design

- I have noticed that you bring great and interesting art into all your projects. What impact do you feel art has on a space?

Bruce - That’s number one at the top of my list for decorating a space. Often with clients it’s at the bottom of their lists so I have to convince them. I love art. I travel all over the world and I collect art. We need to support our local art community. You can find art at reasonable prices so there really isn’t any excuse. We need to need to support the art students and undiscovered artists who haven’t made it yet.

photo courtesy of Bruce Wilkin Design

Iván - What is your most valued possession?

Bruce - I don’t think I have one. My idea about possessions is that you can either close your hands and hang on to them or you can open them and let them flow through your fingers like water. I think if you hang onto them they become too special and you can’t bear to let them go. If you keep it fluid, new things come into your life.

Iván - That was very poetic!

Bruce - I mean, I have an antique watch that I like, but it’s just an object. It’s not my favourite possession, it’s just something I have.

photo courtesy of Bruce Wilkin Design

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

Bruce - That’s hard to say. With architecture it doesn’t go away. Whatever you do, good or bad it will be there for a long time. It’s certainly nice to have a body of work that people recognize. Perhaps my legacy will be photography. I used to enjoy photography when I was younger and recently bought a new camera so we’ll see...

Iván - Thank you very much Bruce - It has been a pleasure chatting with you and seeing your work.

To see more of Bruce Wilkin's work please visit:


MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011