IDSwest 2012: A Final Tour Through the Show

Omer Arbel 28D Bocci Desk Lamps

Now that the buzz has died down a bit, I thought I’d do a photo tour through the show with you! And seriously, this is just a snippet of IDSwest this year. But you know how it goes. It’s hard to see and do everything! Even so, this post is photo heavy, so you might want to grab a coffee, and settle in for a bit!

Up first are the whimsical Chickadee bird houses designed by Trevor Coghill and Nathan Lee of Contexture Design.

Chickadee Bird Houses

This exhibit features the prototypes designed for the Chickadee! If you’re loving them, the Chickadee bird houses are slated to be launched in time for Christmas.

This next exhibit was created by Hatch Interior Design out of Kelowna. This design firm specializes in sustainable interior solutions for the modern work place.

Hatch Interior Design Exhibit

5 interior designers were invited to create 4’x4′ spaces for IDSwest, and this is the space created by Hatch! I’m thinking all you need is a laptop, and you’re good to go, but I’m not so sure about the ergonomics of that stump 😉

In the background you see the sign for MOES Home Collection.

Want a closer look?

MOES Home Collection Exhibit

MOES is a family owned and award winning home decor retailer. They have been in business for over 20 years, travel the world for fashion forward furnishings, and they source new pieces every week.

And we also had IZM modern furniture featuring their high quality handcrafted pieces.

IZM Modern Furniture

IZM furniture is built to last, to age gracefully, and to stand the test of time.

Back again this year was Salari Fine Carpet Collections with their always popular Salsa Lounge poufs by Paulig.

Knitted Poufs

Don’t you just love their texture and colour? And you have to admit, they bring in a little cozy, too! Salari also launched a new collection of hand-knotted carpets that were inspired by photography. Totally stunning, but sadly I didn’t manage to get any photos of these beauties 🙁

And speaking of cozy, how about this Trapper Chair by Identity Apparel’s Home Division?

Vintage Hudson's Bay Point Blanket Trapper Chair by Identity Apparel Home Divison

Identity is a brand stemming from the ideals of what it means to be Canadian.  And this one-of-a-kind chair is made from a vintage Hudson’s Bay Company point blanket. Now how Canadian is that?

The glow of light you see hanging in the background of Identity’s exhibit is actually this!

Identity Apparel - Antler Light Fixture

Antlers. Are they in, or out? Either way, I thought this was a pretty cool feature that totally suited the theme.

And then there’s Montauk Sofa.

Montauk Sofa

Seriously. What’s not to love? I wish I captured the whole grasshopper lounge chair in this photo, but it was super hard take a photo of this exhibit without people walking in front. This was a veeery popular stop!

Here’s a close-up of the walls (and the ceiling)!

Montauk Sofa Exhibit

Did I mention how much I love the Grasshopper Chair? See, there it is again, bottom left!

If you saw my last post featuring Matthieu LeBlanc’s reclaimed wood creations, then you know how much I love his approach to design.

So when I saw these pieces by mth woodworks

mth woodworks - organic resin in hollowed out stumps

I was totally blown away to learn these salvaged pieces have been filled with organic resin! Isn’t this the coolest eco-friendly idea yet? And if these pieces from mth’s Bloom Collection aren’t enough, what do you think of this coffee table, also from their Bloom Collection?

mth woodworks - Bloom Coffee Table

I am totally loving the juxtaposition of this modern top and salvaged wood base.

ox + monkey. This gorgeous ceramic sculpture is one of theirs.

ox + monkey - ceramic sculpture in acrylic case

Yes, you read that right. This sculpture is ceramic, made to look like torn paper! Can you imagine the work involved? This piece was actually in a clear shadowbox, and I can see why!

I loved this colourful exhibit by Beyond Beige Interior Design. I just thought it was so much fun, and really demonstrated a great mix of pattern and colour.

Beige is Dead Exhibit

And even though I’m not a huge fan of yellow, I thought this light fixture made a perfect statement in this space! If you want to see your space infused with character, there’s no doubt, Beyond Beige can make that happen!

Lighting is always a big draw, and these pendants were no exception. They marked the Robinson Lighting & Bath Centre exhibit, and when I saw them I just had to get a photo.

Duravit - Robinson Lighting & Bath Centre

Don’t ask me what that green horseshoe is on the glass shade! I think it’s just the way my lens caught the light!

But for lighting the real show stoppers were definitely Omer Arbel’s Bocci 28D desk lamps.

Omer Arbel 28D Bocci Desk Lamps

Do you think the fact they lit up the bar, facilitated the ‘stopper’ part? 😉 Well, okay, it might have been the price, too. These lamps were being sold at an incredible price, for the show only, and were available in both yellow and gray.

One of the exhibits that caught my attention was Global Surface Solutions. Concrete fabricators out of Kelowna, they specialize in crafting unique concrete surfaces and products suitable for both interiors and exteriors.

Like this fully sealed concrete desk.

Global Surface Solutions - Kelowna

Looove this desk!

And all that you see here including the wall!

Global Surface Solutions - Kelowna

My friend and thrifting buddy, Carol from Carol Smyth Colour & Design was on the inside track with this exhibit! She consulted with this company to help them plan their booth. Check out Carol’s blog article for close-ups of the gorgeous vignettes she planned for them, and for a little more behind-the-scenes scoop!

Also working with concrete, was Sticks & Stones Furniture.

Sticks & Stones Exhibit

Sticks & Stones specialize in custom built furniture that features the contemporary beauty of wood and concrete. They work with recycled or reclaimed wood and materials to create one-of-a-kind furniture designs that are both modern, and functional.

I know the Aya Kitchen designed by Kelly Deck Design has swept the internet, but I couldn’t imagine leaving this star out of the mix!

Aya Kitchen Design by Kelly Deck Design

I interviewed Kelly Deck at IDSwest last year, and if you missed it, you can catch up on the interview here. You will see reflected in this kitchen, the intelligent, timeless design Kelly speaks of!

Would you love to call this kitchen your own?

I know I’d sure love to call the Brent Comber table my own!

Kelly Deck Design - Reclaimed Stump Side Table

Did you notice the gold detail in the crevices?

What I really appreciate about the Aya kitchen is the collaborative effort that went into its conception, and which ultimately resulted in its standing ovation success!

And as we exit this photo tour, I wanted to leave you with a little more of…

Brent Comber Exhibit

A creator of sculpted and functional objects, design environments, and a specialist in designing modern urban forms from ancient sources.

Brent Comber Exhibit

Brent Comber Exhibit

Brent Comber Exhibit

Isn’t Brent’s work incredible?

I hope you enjoyed the show as much as I did.

{UPDATE: The Marilyn Denis Show did a great recap of IDSwest}

{Click here to view}

I’d like to extend a special thank you to Jason & Leonie for once again providing our dlbWEST group with press passes, bubbly and the opening night tour! Definitely a great way to get the show started!

Thank you for stopping by!

Photography by Sheila Zeller

An Interview with Vancouver Designer, Kelly Deck

As I sit down to compile my interview with Vancouver designer, Kelly Deck of Kelly Deck Design, I look outside and see a rainbow. And I think it’s such a perfect symbol. Kelly’s designs are definitely the pot of gold, but it’s her warm personality, open approach, outlook and philosophy that radiate. It’s the unique layering of colours that I’m talking about here that make Kelly Deck Design the successful firm that it is, Kelly the amazing leader behind the team of ten: the colours of the rainbow within the framework of the firm.

I have been a fan of Kelly Deck for years, and had the great opportunity to interview her while attending IDSwest in Vancouver. It is my privilege to share this interview with you, so curl up and settle in, because trust me, you won’t want to miss a word of what Kelly has to share…

Without further ado please allow me to introduce the lovely Kelly Deck!


Can you tell me a little about the beginning? I know you studied at Emily Carr and then spent some time in Cardiff, but how did you end up there, and what brought you back here?

I graduated from the Emily Carr Institute in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting, sculpture, and ceramics. During my studies I was at the University of Wales studying ceramics for a year, and it was there that I really fell in love with the interface: the space between design and craft. I have always been into decorating, homes, and architecture, but where I found my love of textiles and ceramics, and how that translated to modern interiors was in Wales.

After I graduated I opened a little store on Vancouver’s Main Street named Simple Design Boutique. It was my hope that people would buy my homewares, but customers started asking me to design their spaces because I designed the store and would change the look of it all the time. What’s so interesting is that I worked with different artisans to create everything for the look: ceramics exclusive to the store, textiles exclusive to the store… and today I still have a relationship with most of these people, and all of our businesses have grown into something much bigger than what we had dreamed of.

Simple closed in 2005, and at that point I just had a little design firm. In the same year I got the show Take It Outside, and that was when I hired staff, and we got our first big renovation. Nobody knows this, but I literally slept in my living room because my office was in the bedroom! But because I was shooting and I had a design company, everyone thought I was a well established professional, but really I was so broke and just holding on hoping it all worked out. Which it has, and I’m really glad for that. We have a big firm now with 10 employees, we’re highly technical, highly professional – the opposite from where we started.

You’re known for your creative approach to West Coast Style. Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get my inspiration right from the landscape. It’s fairly straight forward; I don’t think it’s anything particularly unique, but I just spend a lot of time looking at the views around a property… the textures, the lichen, the rocks, and I take a lot of photographs of that. I draw upon that to grow a look for the interior.

In one word, what would you say best defines a Kelly Deck design? What is your Kelly ‘stamp’ on a design?

One of my friends was making fun of me recently because in all our company’s portfolio photographs there’s always a pair of shoes! That seems to happen naturally, so it does have that ‘stamp’. But in terms of what our stamp is, any space we do is quiet.

Do you have a favourite design icon? If so, what is it about that person’s work that resonates with you?

No, I don’t have a favourite design icon. I can’t follow a religion, so I don’t think I can follow anyone else’s style! I need to drink in the best of things and reinterpret. At the moment, in terms of who I’m inspired by, it is Piet Boon.

What would you say is the most overrated trend right now? And the biggest design faux pas?

I think the idea of trend is highly overrated. It just perpetuates buying cheap garbage and putting it out to the curb 12 months later. And so the biggest design faux pas is being trendy! I am more interested in people reconnecting with their homes, than being trendy in their homes. I just feel like we can be more intelligent than that.

Is there anything you would like to see in design that isn’t currently happening? Do you have a pet peeve in the industry?

I would like to see more art and artisans within residential construction. I would like to see more investment in our homes. My pet peeve is elitism. It erodes on every level. In terms of the camaraderie of professionals, elitism limits possibilities, it limits creative potential, it limits our thinking, and it limits what we’re capable of – the problems that we are capable of solving.

Inside an interior is very much the same thing. If we’re being elitists with our interiors, then we’re limiting the particular potential of what we can create and accomplish. The heart and the mind is missing. It doesn’t take a whole lot of intelligence to be an elitist.

What are your thoughts on the current economy and its impact on design? Do you see clients making different choices? Has this had any impact on your practice?

I think about the current economy every day, especially with 10 staff who are all having families, and I’m thinking about where are we going and what are we doing, what’s going to happen tomorrow. I think about the economy a lot.

What I wish would happen is that this current economic condition would force us to think about longevity and investing in quality, investing in things once or twice in a lifetime. But unfortunately in terms of the way the globe is attacking the problem, for example the bailout solution and the idea that we need consumer spending to increase to solve the problem, I think we’re just chasing our tail. Ultimately, it is my optimistic hope that the current situation drives people to invest in things that will last, and to want for less, and to opt for quality in what we do have.

What is the biggest challenge for Kelly Deck Design right now? How are you dealing with it?

Our biggest challenge is keeping up with the market as it constantly changes. And growing in a way that supports and enables us creatively and financially, and the dance between those two things. More than ever I am thinking about this. We are making very conscious decisions about where we’re focussing our energy, and we’re talking openly and plainly about what the future would look like with the best and worst of what the future could hold. And we’re adapting.

If you talk to any very successful CEO, and you ask them the key to their success, many will just tell you that it’s adaptability.

What is the biggest success for your business right now? And how did that come about?

My Team is the biggest success, and that’s because of our willingness to have open and tough discussions, and the willingness to grow together.

The difficult discussions are key. You have to be willing to talk about the harder, tougher stuff, and I’m really grateful to have a team that can do that. As a result our firm is doing great.

We’re not lacking for work at all, but we are looking at where we are going. When you have a lot of senior people you have to grow the company, or you lose them. So we’re talking about what that growth looks like, for example, how fast do we grow, what markets are we going into… It’s a constant development, and the problem is, the bigger you get the harder it gets. There is a point when growth can be organic and linear, hiring people one-by-one as you need to, but I remember someone telling me 2 or 3 years ago that once you get to 10 people it mushrooms. And it’s true, because that’s where we are now. I can see the next growth is not small. It’s not as easy as adding one more person to the team. We need to restructure our whole management group, so that’s what it is for us… our greatest challenge is growing in a way that is happy and successful. And to do this successfully we talk… we seek mentors, and talk to people who know more than we do. I’m very transparent, and I’m very honest, and that’s all I can do… It’s important to talk about the challenges, but it’s just as important to talk about the possibilities.

Where do you see the future of design on the West Coast? In Canada? What is the biggest influence on that direction?

I think we have an amazingly talented design community on the West Coast, and I think the future is in a couple of places. I think it’s in intelligent, timeless design, I think it’s in a holistic approach to design, and I think it’s in being leaders in small space design.

What about the eco side of that?

I think eco is a really complicated topic. I absolutely believe that we should be doing as much as we possibly can to build green and sustainable homes. We also have some massive challenges with that, because at a certain point in the market it’s very difficult for the average consumer to have a green home. It’s things like geothermal heat, you have to hit a certain price point for the value of the house to be able to justify the investment at a time when our market is turning over faster than we can recoup the cost. So we have some real challenges with that. I think developers need to be leaders.

I feel like we have a culture of entitlement. And what I mean by that is if I buy a $500,000 condo – and we expect that, because we feel we’re entitled to own a home – we think that we’re entitled to have that whole house furnished within 3 weeks. So because we think we’re entitled to that, it justifies us going out and buying cheap garbage that we’re going to bring home, and then throw away, kitchens that we’re going to rip out in 18 months… all because we have our wants right now, our insatiable desire for it, instead of having a smaller space, a higher cost per square foot, and demanding a quality that will last for a long time.

Just as an example, with my Globe and Mail column I wrote a piece about small space. There are 1100 square feet in this particular space, but this couple had downsized from their larger family home, so in their mind it is small space. I also mentioned that the home owners had bought Philippe Starck chairs and I gave the price, which is about $1000 each. They invested in furniture that they will have from now until when they die. It’s the last furniture they’re going to buy. That’s it. But it was amazing, there were like 53 comments on this one! And they were basically saying that I don’t know what small space is, that I could buy a dining room chair for $150, $1000 is crazy…

For sure, you can go to SuperStore and you can buy a dining chair for $150 because you think that’s OK. And of course, I have stuff that I’ve had to buy cheap too, but at the same time my grandmother saved for her dining set for 4 years and she still has it to this day. That’s what I mean by investing in things that will last, opting for quality like these home owners did with their chairs.

And I know it’s hard for people to juggle that balance, I know it really is, but as much as you can it’s important. So look at key pieces, for example, Mid-Century Modern furnishings. If you buy a Wegner chair, it’s so exquisite. It was exquisite 60 years ago, it’s exquisite now – that’s what I mean. It’s about our values around our home, and about what we purchase.

How do you feel about the influence of Social Media on the design world?

I think what social media has allowed is dialogue about design to really open up, and it’s allowed for a lot of inclusion rather than elitism, so I’m an advocate for it, I think it’s fantastic. And it has spread knowledge of design all over the world. But you know, on the flip side there is a lot that’s being talked about that’s not really design, so you have to take the good with the bad.

What would an example of that be?

I just think that there’s lots of content online where there’s the cheap schlock that people call design, but it’s all knock-offs and cheap garbage. Or there’s Debbie Decorator. So, if Debbie Decorator is good, then she’s good. But there are a lot of Debbie Decorators that are not. That’s the beauty of their passion, that’s what they’re doing. I just believe that inevitably what is good will always rise to the top, and it’s important for everyone to get out there and chase their heart’s desire. If it’s something that’s good, it will connect onto the momentum of other things that it’s like, so it has a natural filtering system, and so I don’t really worry about it.

Which Social Media channel do you prefer?

To be honest we tweet occasionally, and we know that our firm is so poor with social media. I have a Facebook page, but it’s just for my friends. I love reading blogs. I think blogs are the most inspiring, and I spend lots of evenings reading them. I love the sheer volume of amazing images, and I love the craft movement. I’m very passionate about it, so for me that whole thing is so inspiring for design and art. I can’t speak enough about it, and I write about Etsy all the time.

But our firm does not use social media as much as it could. Because we have the Globe and Mail column, and I’m so in the public all the time we don’t really focus on it, but if someone on my team had the time we would. That may change in our long-term vision. The truth is, we’ve developed a system that is so detailed that it really consumes me. Social Media is consuming, and I already do so many things that are consuming.

If you were to recommend one investment piece, what would that be?

Anything Mid-Century Modern. But if I had to choose one… oh, that’s so hard… I love the big Wegner chair… but you know what I think is the perfect piece that you can put in any house, no matter how big or how small it is? The Eames walnut stool. I just feel like you can cart that thing to every single house you have, 500 square feet or 5000, and you will always find a place for it.

Can you provide us with one great décor tip for home owners?

Buy good art. Decorate with it opposed to around it, so that it’s just part of the conversation. I think art is what charges up a home.

What are your future aspirations/goals? Where do you see yourself in 3 years?

I would love to do my own brand of homes. We are, right now, in the process of going into development. And, seeing my team continue to creatively flourish. One of my newest dreams: I have a team of colleagues I love to work with, an architect, a millwright… and I would love for all of us to truly collaborate in the genesis of a house and make it a work of art: a West Coast in a way that hasn’t really been expressed before.

Barry Calhoun Photo

Thank you so much Kelly for this interview. I can’t wait to see what you do next!

And a special thank you to organizers Victoria, Barbara, Nancy and Karla of Canadian Design & Lifestyle Bloggers West for making this opportunity possible 🙂


I hope you have enjoyed this interview as much I enjoyed the opportunity to sit down with Kelly Deck and learn more about her insights and views. As you can see, the colourful rainbow of Kelly Deck Design is only getting brighter.

Can you identify the chair Kelly is sitting in? Oh, and will you be saving for an Eames walnut stool? I know it’s tempting me!

Related Posts You Might Like To Read

Hans Wegner’s Wishbone Chair

Eero Saarinen’s Womb Chair / Model No 70

Plywood: Shapely and Curvaceous

A Story Unfolds for Bloggers, CDLB West at IDSwest