I recently returned from Inform’s first trip to Europe since the beginning of the pandemic and boy, was it exciting!
The Salone del Mobile, usually held in April, was pushed back two and a half years and re-emerged in full force this past June. I admit I was unsure what to expect after all this time; I was nervous it wouldn’t live up to two years of expectations. It turned out to be worth the wait.
Now that I have been home for a few weeks and have had time to reflect on what we saw, my biggest takeaway was how fundamental the human element is in design. Design is all about people; it is for people — this is, literally, why it exists. People make it for other people to sit on, look at, use, hold, and enjoy. (Perhaps I am way off. I’m not up to speed on my Philosophy of Beauty these days, but it feels right to me!) People.
And so, after two years of looking at everything through a digital lens, it was a joy to be able to see, touch, and try products IRL. And to mingle with colleagues, friends, and partners whom we had not seen in such a long time. Our favourite experiences had the most relatable stories and most approachable products. Here is Part One of our Milan highlights:
This oil cruet solves the problem of dripping and spilling with so much ingenuity that it has found its way into almost every home. The Marquina oil cruet is an example that big problems require simple solutions. A transparent, stable, and precise product, that offers the essence of true design.
Design pioneer Alvar Aalto combined simple design with a craftsman’s expertise to create iconic home design pieces that are functional and sculptural. Taking inspiration from the many lakes in his native Finland, Aalto’s asymmetrical, soft waves (“aalto” in Finnish) have become his creative signature from architecture to glass.
Each precious vase is at first mouth-blown, then hand cut and polished at the Iittala Glass Factory. The legendary Aalto glass vases make a striking addition to any interior. The wider size showcases fuller flower arrangements and the tall vase best displays long-stemmed bouquets.
Salt Cellar combines a container and a plateau. The container holds the salt and serves as a handle. Salt is poured onto the plateau so that it can be picked up from the black surface. Filling the container works the other way around: salt is put on the plateau and then poured into the handle.
The chrome candle holder is the very first and original colour of the Stoff Nagel design. Today it is still considered a collectors item in homes around the world – a personal statement and a malleable sculpture ready to assume the shape of its owner’s unique creativity. Create and combine it with other Stoff Nagel designs and use it with taper candles, or leave it merely as a decorative sculpture.
A coffee maker with a familiar and at the same time innovative form. Designed by architect David Chipperfield, Moka is an artist’s interpretation of a timeless icon of the Italian culture. Chipperfield introduces a series of details that make the Moka design new and even more functional, such as the flat lid on which to place the cups to be heated – allowing optimum enjoyment of the aroma and flavour of the drink. For those who don’t want to compromise on the unmistakable taste of coffee prepared with an espresso coffee maker..
Good design lasts. It is utilized, sometimes for generations, and therefore can acquire an attractive Patina. Think of well-worn jeans, a beautifully crafted guitar, or leather-bound book — they get better with age.
This window display is a collaboration with Max King’s The Cave. Together we aim to showcase the beauty of Patina. We invite you to visit our showroom to view PATINA, on display until the end of March 2021.
When choosing any large investment piece for your home, the normal rule is to keep it simple with a neutral palette. Think of your wardrobe choices: when purchasing a suit, probably we’d be conservative… Navy? Grey? Brown? And let crazy stockings or ties jazz it up.
The same thing with a sofa, pick a beautiful Neutral base and then let the toss cushions or that single comfy chair sing. A wonderful patterned fabric, texture and/or colour to add spark. Like a jewel. If it’s a Knoll Womb Chair in mohair velvet even better! (By the way, Knoll and Herman Miller are on promotion at the moment; contact us for more details.)
As we spend more time enjoying our homes, the kitchen has become the heart of the home now more than ever – for many of us serving as an office, dining area, gathering space and more. This time of year, especially, it is at its coziest! The air filled with the warm scents of bread or cookies baking in the oven, while holiday crafts or gift wrapping take over the kitchen table.
Our food and kitchen accessory areas are full of objects that will add to the warmth of the kitchen and enhance the cooking and gathering experience. Lots of great gift ideas too!
Here are a few of our favourites:
When you are having trouble deciding where to start, cookbooks are a great way to get inspired in the kitchen. We have so many to choose from, but I’m especially curious about is Canal House: Cook Something by Christopher Hirsheimer. This title houses 300 simple recipes perfect for the newbie home cook and is also a great reference for those already comfortable with their chef’s knife. A favourite of mine over the years is Everything I Want to Cook by Jessica Koslow which has *The Best* biscuit recipe aptly called Flaky Ass Biscuits. If you want to go deep into the science of fermentation, The Noma Guide to Fermentation by René Redzepi is an amazing (and beautiful) book filled with things you may (or may not) want to adventure and make!
Once you have made your decision about what to cook, then you need to get your batterie de cuisine ready. We all love the John Pawson pots by Demeyere. If you’ve ever drooled over John Pawson’s cult cookbook (yes, he is an architect, but he made an amazing cookbook in the ’90s called Living and Eating), then you would have seen the pots in his beautiful kitchen and now, these can come home with you! Bonus is that they work as well as they look.
FD Style Tools — these sleek black handtools (peelers, openers, graters) are a subtle way to introduce beauty and comfort into your daily cooking prep.
Setting the Table
New in the store: the custom-designed cutting boards and spoons by local woodworker Steelwood. These pieces use reclaimed wood to create joyful pieces for serving and entertaining.
We carry a few select pieces from local cult ceramicist Janaki Larsen. These unique pieces will bring panache and style to your table for any occasion.
Ikebana vases by Jaime Hayon for Fritz Hansen. These vases come in three sizes and make flower arranging a snap. I especially like using them with botanicals that can be dried to really max out my arrangement.
Gropius wine glasses for Rosenthal. These glasses are spectacular; they make drinking any wine (or even just sparkling water) feel special.
If you are ready to upgrade your dishes, the porcelain collection designed by Stefan Diez for Japanese manufacturer 2016/Arita is absolutely stunning.
Puddifoot Cassini flatware. This cutlery from local manufacturer Puddifoot is perfect. Well designed, good weight, and an excellent price.
Stelton Cylinda Line teapot. For teatime, there is no teapot that functions better than this stainless steel one by Stelton. Designed by Arne Jacobsen, there won’t be a drop spilt when you pour your tea and it looks so good!
Alessi A Tempo dishrack and tray. After your meal is done, the experience in the kitchen continues. The A Tempo dishrack is round, which is unique as it works well for both plates and glasses at once.
Because this is 2020, a year like no other, we have decided to expand our offerings in the store to include some Gourmet Delicacies from around the world.
We have incredible Truffle Mustard from France, Infused Honey from BC, Candy from Sweden, Nancy and Niels’ special blend of coffee, Beta 5 chocolate bars and more!!
Please come in or browse online to see all our amazing offerings. And of course, if you want to overhaul the entire kitchen, Carissa would be happy to talk to you about our beautiful Boffi line of kitchens.
As we all settle into the cooler, darker days of Fall, there is a natural urge to nest and ‘cosy-up’ our homes. One of the most rewarding ways to make a huge impact in a space is to re-think your lighting. Changing a single source of light can have a huge impact on the overall look and feel of a space – without changing any of the furniture.
I personally am a huge fan of non-direct, bounced light. Rather than strong overhead lights in a space, the atmosphere is softer and more controlled when using smaller lights around the periphery of a room. Another really important element in controlling your atmosphere is to have lights at a variety of heights — floor level, reading height, and ceiling level all produce different effects.
Bouncing light off a wall or ceiling produces a beautiful effect that illuminates without glaring. Staying away from bare, open bulbs softens the light, as well as making sure the light temperature of your bulbs is warm will also help make the space feel cosy.
Luckily, there are so many options of beautiful lights out there to help create exactly the type of ambience that you are looking for. Here are some solutions and suggestions for common issues.
Adding individual light sources to tables can be a romantic way of bringing attention to certain areas without illuminating the whole room. And with rechargeable LEDs becoming more and more prevalent, there are a number of wonderful options available. Davide Groppi Tetatete is one of our favourites. As well as Ingo Maurer’s digital take on candlelight with My New Flame. Menu’s Carrie light is also a transportable and rechargeable light that can go anywhere with you!
We often see spaces that don’t have adequate lighting for really seeing (which is, after all the whole point of lights!) and so sometimes you need fixtures that will flood the space with light. The Toio by Achille Castiglioni for FLOS is a wonderful light that is powerful enough to illuminate while remaining flexible and providing bounced light off the ceiling.
Another great option is the Parentesiwhich can adapt as necessary to fill a whole space with light, or come down to reading level. This fixture is a nice one to play with Philips Hue bulbs to create different colours and feelings depending on the day!
Sometimes what a space is looking for is some texture. Lights can be clean and sterile, but they can also provide drama and depth to a space. The team at Apparatus lighting are masters of creating fixtures with drama and je ne sais quoi. The Horsehair sconce is a great example of a fixture that functions both as a lighting element and as a sculptural piece.
Lindsey Adelman produces pieces that are sculptural and delicate, lending a decorative, jewellery-like quality to a space. Her Cherry Bomb series is especially evocative.
Bocci has always used glass in unique and exciting ways. The 28 Tableseries remains one of my all-time favourites for its soft, diffused light, pops of colour, and ability to control.
A really fun and affordable light is the Mayday by Constantin Grcic for FLOS. With a long cord and a hook, it can be casually placed just about anywhere!
FLOS has also recently re-issued Mario Bellini’s Chiara light. This sculptural piece reflects the environment around it while providing a soft bounced light from within.
I could go on and on as there are just so many exciting options out there (ANDLight, Louis Poulsen, RBW, Gubi, &Tradition, Tom Dixon, oh my!) that I haven’t even touched on. If any of this has got you excited about changing things up, please get in touch to talk to one of our design consultants who would love to help you illuminate your space.
Inform Interiors is so much more than a showroom where you can purchase beautiful things. Throughout its 56 year history, Inform has evolved a lot. From its inception at Park Royal Mall in West Vancouver selling mid-century Modern Danish Teak furniture to our original Gastown location at 97 Water Street with its sleek 1970’s styles to our current locations at 50 + 97 Water Street showcasing a wide range of products from all over the world. Inform has morphed with the times.
For over half a century we have focused on serving the design community and have continuously sought out ways to connect and inform our Vancouver audience at large. Some of the ways we have achieved this are through an architectural magazine and bookstore, which serves as a resource for anyone interested in Design, Art, or Architecture (plus there is an excellent section devoted to Kids books!) and we regularly host free lectures, panel talks, and book-signings with local and international speakers.
These talks, held almost weekly (pre-COVID), are a great opportunity for locals to connect and learn about something new, or something they are deeply passionate about.
Our team of sales professionals are a curious, and educated bunch, who come from a variety of backgrounds and bring their own unique flair and personality to the showroom. Each one of them has a unique point of view and a passion for design that means the showroom is constantly being re-imagined, and re-designed. With so many historically important pieces at our fingertips, as well as all the ‘News’ coming from the trade fairs each year, the sales team are always learning about the incredible pieces of design that we have access to and getting freshly inspired.
Sometimes, we come across objects that are too special or unique to let go of. 25 years ago, Nancy started squirrelling special pieces away (it started with a few choice objects by Zanotta), and this “habit” has since turned into a full-blown permanent collection. Now consisting of roughly 150 pieces, plus a couple of pallets of historical Domus Magazines and other ephemera, the Inform Permanent Collection is an incorporated non-profit organization (and a very well-kept secret).
The collection is loosely made up of design objects that would have, or could have been sold at Inform Interiors since its founding in 1963. Visitors to Inform may have noticed a row of exciting looking chairs that are stanchioned off, these chairs are but a tiny fraction of the amazing objects that we have been storing and caring for over the years.
Some highlights of the collection include the Red Blue Lego Chair by Mario Minale for Droog, the Chiara Lamp by Mario Bellini for FLOS, the Phonosuper SK4 by Hans Gugelot and Dieter Rams for Braun, the Ribbon Chair by Niels Bendtsen for Kebe Mobler, and the Casper Candlestick by Tobias Wong.
Ultimately, the Inform Permanent Collection is meant to grow into (yet another) resource that would be available for study, reflection, and contemplation by the local community. The dream is that one day we will have a location where viewing the pieces and learning about their historical positioning, and design ethos, will be available to everyone. Canada does not have an official Design Museum, and perhaps one day the Inform Permanent Collection will morph once again to fulfil that role.
It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of one of our friends, and one of Vancouver’s great architects — Peter Cardew.
Peter worked in and around Vancouver since 1980 and was the recipient of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada’s Gold medal. Known for his deceivingly simple design, he worked on a wide range of projects from schools, galleries, libraries, residences, and commercial buildings.
His architecture blends form with place seamlessly and he always collaborated with skilled tradespeople to produce clean, pared-back buildings, interiors, and furniture which then allow the function of each space or object to be fully realized without interruption.
Peter’s friendly face and calm demeanour will be missed by all of us at Inform.
At Inform Interiors, we believe that the objects one invests in should be well designed and crafted to last for generations. These are objects that as time goes on are well-loved and well worn. To ensure that these special pieces endure the test of time regular maintenance is a must.
As always our team of design specialist are here to answer any questions regarding the care of specific materials and the sourcing replacement parts. Additionally, we have compiled a selection of videos to help guide you in ensuring your favourite pieces will become the heirlooms of tomorrow.
Oil Treated Wood
Black Oiled Timber
Soap Treated Wood
Further care and maintenance tips from some of our favourite brands:
Since we and everyone we know have had our regular work/life rhythms disrupted in recent weeks, we find that we are looking for new daily inspirations, so we have decided to compile a running list of things we come across online that we find interesting.