Wednesday, 26 October 2011



Duane Ensing


As seen in SNAP November, 2011


I had the pleasure of meeting Duane Ensing earlier this year and knew he would be the perfect candidate for our 'In Conversation With…' series because not only is he a very talented and creative individual, he is also a local!


Duane Ensing Landscape Design is the go-to place for landscaping. They can cover the full gambit of landscaping needs, from consulting, to project management, to a full design/build including outdoor kitchens, lighting, drainage/irrigation, patios, water features and more. Duane is getting noticed for his work on a global scale, with features in Architectural Digest, Boulevard, and Homes & Living in addition to local newspapers. His outdoor spaces seem tranquil, relaxing, current, and of course - beautifully maintained.


I can't wait to hear what's next for Duane, please read on to get in on the conversation…


Iván Meade - What was your first experience with landscape design?


Duane Ensing - One of the greatest memories growing up in Vancouver was spending time downtown looking at and experiencing urban venues like Robson Square and the life that the landscape can bring to the space around you. I saw how the environment was changed by the use of art, architectural and landscape elements. I also loved the changes in gardens from season to season in successful landscapes. Those are some of the things that first piqued my interest and wooed my imagination.



Landscape by Duane Ensing


Iván Meade - Who or what has influenced your style aside from nature itself?


Duane Ensing - Coming out of University with a BFA in Visual Arts has impacted the way I see the world and has allowed me to challenge and explore the limits of design we see everyday. I love architecture and working with it in the landscape to create a permanence that it can bring. Architects like Tadao Ando and Santiago Calatrava to name a couple, move beyond the traditional, but keep the simplicity and effectiveness of the design to the table. I like that, and aim to develop spaces and sculpt the landscape to work together in a cohesive design.



Landscape by Duane Ensing


Iván Meade - What attracted you to a career in landscape design?


Duane Ensing - After starting in the landscape industry, I soon decided that a lot of what I saw on landscape plans was really quite generic and mundane to me. I picked up a pen, paper and my arts schooling, and began designing and sculpting landscapes. I found that the transition between creating sculptures at UVIC and creating landscapes were very similar in terms of building three dimensional settings in which to experience life. The time I spent working in a garden centre and installing landscapes aided in the knowledge base of what it takes to make a garden grow and be a successful space, aesthetically and practically.


I love meeting people and the challenge of a new solution to develop. The attraction of landscape design for me is the attraction of art and the creation process. Transitioning a piece of land into a space that inspires, extends your outdoor living environment or engages your senses are all ways to build and cultivate the imagination.



Landscape by Duane Ensing


Iván Meade - What are gardens for?


Duane Ensing - When I think about gardens, I see engineering, I see architecture, I see nature. They are structured, complex and yet so simple. They are static and ever-changing. I see a garden as window into a room, a sculpture to examine, a book to read and a painting to engage with.



Landscape by Duane Ensing


Iván Meade - Your designs are stunningly well balanced, modern yet timeless, spacious but not stark. How do you keep current in the garden design industry?


Duane Ensing - I like to keep up with several digital blogs and magazines, both garden and architectural, but also mix it up with unrelated industries to see if some new seed can be sown as a launching pad for my imagination. I love the surprises that emerge out of the mind.



Landscape by Duane Ensing


Iván Meade - One of my favourite characteristics on your landscape design is the use of water as a visual element - Why is water so important in your designs, what are your thoughts behind the use of water?


Duane Ensing - Water is everywhere. Life is everywhere. I like to include water in many of our projects to help bring life into the space and to develop an identity that works with the location, nature and our client. Designed right, and executed well, the inclusion of a water feature can establish an atmosphere and presence in a package that delivers for a long time, and with less maintenance and frustration than many people realize.



Landscape by Duane Ensing


Iván Meade - How do you choose and position sculpture/art in the garden?


Duane Ensing - Art is all about relationship, on so many levels. What it evokes, how people react and interact with it. It can create surprise. It can help you speak. I find the best kind of solutions come through time as we build a relationship with our client. The personality of a client reveals to us what we choose and where it is placed.



Landscape by Duane Ensing


Iván Meade - What kind of things do you have to keep in mind while creating a landscape design that the client might not realize is important for you to know?


Duane Ensing - I love getting to know my clients. Asking questions and keeping up with how they direct conversation reveals a lot about them, but I've found that moving the conversation to a dialogue unrelated to the landscape has led to many interesting and unexpected comments that have greatly impacted the design.



Landscape by Duane Ensing


Iván Meade -  Does your personality come out in your gardens?


Duane Ensing - Absolutely. Exercising my fine arts degree has helped me develop a style that enables me to express myself through what I do. Is it always the same? No, but there are definite elements which repeat that are expressed in the canvas of each landscape. Do I have one particular style? I'd have to say no again; rather its an expression that permeates each design.



Landscape by Duane Ensing


Iván Meade - How do you want people to feel in your gardens?


Duane Ensing - I want you to look past the plants, and I want you to look at each leaf. I want you to see the landscape, but I want it to disappear. I want you to see natural beauty and I want you to be intrigued by intentional design. At the end of the day, I want our client to have peace with the creation we leave, and be able to relate well to the design intent.



Landscape by Duane Ensing


Iván Meade - What’s the most important lesson you have learned about making gardens?


Duane Ensing - That's a great question, and one that will be different for each designer. I believe as a designer, it would be scale and rhythm. These are two elements that are really uniquely key in any landscape space, but from a personal perspective, developing a trust relationship with a client is key by exercising honour and integrity at every turn on the path we are walking together.



Landscape by Duane Ensing


Iván Meade - What project are you most proud of?


Duane Ensing -   I have pride in each project as it is designed and built, even as it continues to evolve  into the final product, but I'd have to say my proudest was one of the most fun projects as well. Great clients and an open palate to 'paint' with. It was a complex site, but the design and intent was carried out and completed in a way that allowed it to attain the 'People's choice' award, along with several other awards. It was the success of the completed spaces that satisfied me. I look at each space on it's own and treat each on like a separate project. At this site, the house, the landscape, and its context worked really well together in theory and fully built. I like to challenge myself to develop a broader sense of 'landscape' and 'garden' at each turn of the road, and to maintain an open mind to what lies ahead.



Landscape by Duane Ensing


Iván Meade - What's next for Duane Ensing Landscape Design?


Duane Ensing - I have a strong desire and enthusiasm for design, and I so enjoy landscape design, but I also crave spending time re-establishing my own art and sculpture more. I'd really like to involve my children in this too and have them develop a journey and understanding of their own. Working with plants and working in art. Teaching them and leaving a legacy of what relationships and family mean. I'm currently expanding my own artistic palate to include painting - a medium I haven't worked with at school, but have recently found new passion in.


I invite you to visit Duane Ensing’s website at:



MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Eye Candy of the Week – Lui5 & Lui6 Arm Chair




Lui5 by Phillipe Bestenheider



Lui5 & Lui6 Arm Chair



Fratelli Boffi



Philippe Bestenheider



wooden frame with hand-woven caning


103/72/123 cm


I just discovered this beauty!  As you well know by now:  old world + new world = my favourite combo ever in anything.  The use of the pentagon shape makes this chair simple yet, elegant in its complexity. The mix of materials has enough tension to bring the piece to a new place.  The Lui5 by Philippe Bestenheider is definitely a statement chair, and I can see that it may not be too comfortable, but I just  love so much the lines, the presence and the memorability that has keeping me thinking about the fact that I wish I could design something like this.  


To even bring this piece further you have to see the Lui6 – I just want a pair for my country home and a pair for my sleek city pad. But first I need to get my country home and then to make sleek my city pad.


image Lui6 by Phillipe Bestenheider


Which one is your favourite and why?


The Lui5 armchair looks back to the early 20th century in Europe. The classic wooden chair with cane seat serves as point of reference. The curved soft forms of the original model, however, are abandoned in favour of simplified lines and crystallised forms that multiply in space. The name is a clear reference to the pentagonal form which becomes the unit of measure of the structure. It is repeated from the cross-section of the legs to the construction of the panels forming the seat, back and armrests. Lui5 is also available in an upholstered version. – Philippe Bestenheider.




MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Introducing… Meg de Candia

This is quite possibly our most fashion forward logo yet.


We were thrilled when international handbag designer Meg de Candia asked Meade Design Group to help her re-brand herself with a new logo, business cards, and an invitation/brochure design.


I also believe we had all the right ingredients for this project.  The trust of a talented designer, a gorgeous product to inspire us and a dream come true for any designer – Carte Blanche.




We wanted to create a look that would hold it's own against heavy-weight brands such as Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Balenciaga and Kate Spade. Not to toot our own horn, but we think we did with this clean but edgy logo with strong diagonal lines, juxtaposed directions and stacked typography.


The logo also lent itself to a stunning use of repetition with her images and a beautiful custom pattern that was used inside the business cards and layered onto the image at the back of the brochure with a detail shot of the gorgeous hides she uses in her designs




Please visit the identity and print galleries to see the complete project.

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Friday, 7 October 2011

Introducing Indochine by Barbara Barry

Meade Design Group was a little spoiled this fall, we were able to host the launch of Barbara Barry's latest fabric collection, 'Indochine' with a private gathering of clients. We were actually the first showing in Canada so we feel very special to have been given the opportunity!



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Many thanks go out to all of our guests in attendance, as well as Barbara Barry herself, who sent us a note with a lovely gift of her own brand of absolutely delicious Citrine tea. Erica Smolders from Rook & Rose did a stunning job with the Asian themed flower arrangements which set the mood perfectly. We couldn't have done it without the support from the team at Kravet Canada: Brian Donovan and Paul Smith, and of course our rep, Brenda Marks - who gave an engaging and fascinating presentation of Barbara's new line.


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We took careful consideration when creating the event's ambiance: Asian-themed accessories were placed throughout the space including fans, sculptures, natural elements, catalogues, and items that Barbara cited as being inspiration for the collection. We lit candles from Barbara Barry's own line and played traditional music in the background. We also had Mrs. Barry's official video about the collection playing for guests to hear about the line from the designer herself. While there were punches of rich tones of fig and charcoal, the palette remained soft and muted so as not to stray far from the look we have all grown to know and love from Barbara Barry, it blends in perfectly with her very first books yet is still very new and unique.



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There was an abundance of treats and drinks to be had, including our signature cocktail for the event 'Indochampagne'. It was so well received that we thought we should share the recipe for everyone to try at home for their next event:




1 Cube of Sugar

3 Drops of Angostura

2 Teaspoons Barbara Barry Citrine Tea Syrup

Chilled Champagne


For Barbara Barry Citrine Tea Syrup, you will need 1/4 cup Citrine Tea by Barbara Barry; the zest and juice of 1 lemons. In a small sauce pan, combine tea leaves and lemon zest and juice with 1 cup sugar and 1 1/2 cups water; bring to a boil, let the sugar dissolve, and remove the pan from the heat. Let liquid cool; strain through a fine sieve. Use about 2 teaspoons of syrup per flute of champagne.


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Everyone seemed to have a great time ogling the eye candy, mingling and coveting the gorgeous door prize - two pillows made with brand new Indochine fabric and trim. It seems like great connections were made and guests left inspired to create with Barbara Barry's new collection.


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All in all, we'd say it was a great success!


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If you would like to see more images of the event please visit our Indochine gallery on our Facebook page.




For more on Barbara Barry, check out these past posts featuring her and her work:


In Conversation with Barbara Barry

An Evening with Barbara Barry


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MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011

Saturday, 1 October 2011



Samantha Dickie


I first met Samantha Dickie earlier this year when she approached Meade Design Group about creating a new graphic identity and website for her artwork, after taking a break to raise her young children. I was in awe of her pieces from the moment she showed them to me. They are delicate, organic, textural, sophisticated and primal all at once. I cannot wait to share her artwork and insight with my readers!


" I choose to work with clay because of its incredible tactility – clay is raw, visceral and versatile. It can be used as a medium in conventional as well as unconventional ways: to create textural and abstract forms and surfaces that entice a sensory experience and create an altered spatial awareness. I love the rich history of ceramics from the ancient remnants of utilitarian objects to conceptual modern installations." - Samantha Dickie, excerpt from her Artist Statement


Samantha has been working with her primary medium - clay - since 1996 and has developed a signature style that has become sought after by art collectors and designers alike. She has had the opportunity to exhibit her work, as well as continually educate herself in her craft throughout Western Canada. I am so excited for Samantha and her return to her beautiful artwork, please read on to find out what Samantha Dickie has in store for her fans…

Iván Meade - What was your first experience with Sculpture?


Samantha Dickie – Studying Inuit sculpture during my undergrad in the artist cooperatives in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, particularly on Baffin Island.  But the sculpture that has really struck me has been that which I have sought out over the last 15 years in catalogues and galleries across the world.  Sculptural ceramic work by Hans Coper, Peter Voulkos, Rudy Audio, and Marea Gazzard were early inspirations for working with clay in an unconventional way.  The installation work of Dale Chihuly, Ernesto Neto, Anish Kapoor, and Antony Gormley, has blown my mind with the quality of material and intention.  Interacting with their work and the space it envelops is overwhelming when considering and absorbing its scale, its detail, and its ingenuity.  I love how sculpture and installation can create such a demonstrative experience for the viewer.



Sculpture by Samantha Dickie 

Iván Meade - How would you describe your style?

Samantha Dickie – Contemporary ceramic sculpture and installation using multiple components to illustrate a narrative with an aesthetic that highlights the raw, visceral and tactile nature of clay.



Sculpture by Samantha Dickie

Iván Meade - If you could pick one word to describe your work, what would it be?

Samantha Dickie – Organic



Sculpture by Samantha Dickie

Iván Meade - What made you choose ceramic as your primary medium?

Samantha Dickie – It’s tactility.  I think that’s what makes every ceramic artist fall in love with the medium.  Working with clay is like playing in the dirt.  It’s grounding, and expansive; physical and intuitive.  It’s an amazing material to work with.



Sculpture by Samantha Dickie

Iván Meade - Why is texture such an integral component of your work?

Samantha Dickie – Imprinting texture into the work, or using textural glazes keeps that same earthy, organic quality to the finished piece that is so seductive in working with raw clay and it’s amazing malleability.



Sculpture by Samantha Dickie

Iván Meade - You have accomplished something very unique when one sees a piece of yours, it doesn’t matter if it is a single piece, an installation, they all evoke emotion.  All these pieces have been created by you.  How do you achieve this emotional resonance with your pieces? 

Samantha Dickie – Working with simple forms and organic surfaces often evokes a memory, a reminder of a place, a space, experience or feeling that people resonate with.  Perhaps it is a reflection of the process of working with clay, which as I said, can be grounding, and expansive.


Sculpture by Samantha Dickie

Iván Meade - What do you do to keep inviting the inspiration to come - Do you have other passions that recharge your creative juices?

Samantha Dickie – Travel is a huge source or inspiration for me. It recharges me and stokes me up to be in life, to create, and to observe.  Details of urban spaces, coastal rhythms and natural landscapes all come out in my work.   My list is long for the next places to experience. 


Sculpture by Samantha Dickie

Iván Meade - As a successful artist, are there any words of advice or lessons learned that you can share with working artists ready to take their art to the next level?

Samantha Dickie – Keep inspired, pay lots of attention to detail, and professionally document your work so that you can always present it well.


Sculpture by Samantha Dickie


Iván Meade - What are your thoughts about the art scene in Victoria, specifically the ceramic sculpture scene?

Samantha Dickie - I haven’t seen a lot of ceramic sculpture, although there are extraordinary internationally exhibiting ceramic artists in and around Victoria (such as Robin Hopper, Meira Matthison, Cathi Jefferson, Wayne Ngan, Gordon Hutchens, and others).  I’m always interested to see ceramic work that is unconventional, and I think that Victoria would greatly benefit from exhibiting more contemporary sculpture, of all media including ceramic, particularly as public installation.


Sculpture by Samantha Dickie

Iván Meade - What are you currently working on, what is the new and exciting with your work?

Samantha Dickie – I’m excited to be working on a new body of work that is just starting to unfold which will include a new installation, as well as individual sculptures, likely some of it intended to be installed outside.  And I’ll be focusing my attention this year to new glazes, textures, and photo transfer while I work in a new large reduction kiln that I’ve installed in my studio. 



Sculpture by Samantha Dickie 

Iván Meade - You have already gone through many transformations with your work and found great success, what would you like your legacy to be?

Samantha Dickie – To work with clay in an unconventional way as a part of an exciting direction and community in ceramics that focuses on the creation of contemporary sculpture and installation.



Sculpture by Samantha Dickie


I invite you to visit Samantha Dickie’s website at:




Ivan Meade is a local designer and principal of Meade Design Group, a multidisciplinary interior and graphic design studio in the heart of downtown Victoria –

MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011