From Nancy

 

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.) 

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Re: Lighting

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 Parentesi which 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 Table series 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.

 

The Collection

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.

Design & Architecture Inspiration: Films, Podcasts, Online Tours & Activities

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.

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Oh my Gaudi!

 
 
Spain is a country that is home to a wealth of design talent — currently and historically. As someone who works within the design industry, I had to visit Gaudi’s masterpieces when I found myself in Barcelona this summer. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to have visited a very special building — Casa Batlló — multiple times. Each visit felt like a new experience as they have been at different points in my life — high school, university, and now adulthood.

For those who are not familiar with Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926), he was a Spanish architect based in Barcelona in the province of Catalonia. His artistry was one of a kind. Gaudi was strongly influenced by his passions: his work (architecture), nature, and religion. Seven of his works have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO: Park Güell, Palau Güell, Casa Milà, Casa Vicens, Sagrada Família, Casa Batlló, and Cripta Güell. All of these are located in Barcelona.
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Ruth Jones Interview

 

It was our privilege to have Ruth Jones, a master textile artist, design an elaborate window installation for our 50 Water St. showroom in conjunction with the Textile Society of America Biennial Symposium held in Vancouver. When you meet Ruth and see the dedication and passion that she has for her work, you gain a new appreciation for the art and craft behind textiles.
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Contract goes to Spain

This past autumn the team at Inform Contract had the opportunity to travel to Spain for an in-depth look at the design and manufacturing processes of the innovative Spanish brands that are represented in the Contract Showroom in Vancouver. Here is a peek at their educational, inspiring and, of course, fun trip… it is Spain after all!

Pulling up to the forested grounds of Santa & Cole, the group was met by ‘Nina and Nina’, to see the inner workings of their carefully edited furniture and lighting collections. Nina Maso co-founded the company in 1985 during the creative revolution that occurred in the years following the end of the Franco era. Her daughter, Nina Ordeig, is the current head of marketing. Together they toured the grounds as they discussed the history of the 33 year old family-run business, gained insight into the design process for both custom contract and standard products, and learned about their thoughtful approach to running their business.

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Designers at Heart

Ah, Love! The overwhelming sensation of affinity for a particular person or thing felt throughout your whole being. Whether you’re looking to please your loved one with a surprise or to turn up the temperature in the bedroom, here are a few pieces that are sure to tantalize, delight and excite.

A little music to put you in the mood…

Encyclopedia of Flowers, Edited by Kyoko Wada | $85

Encyclopedia of Flowers is a visual exploration of the breathtaking floral arrangements by Makoto Azuma — encounters of unusual, sometimes exotic plants that wouldn’t typically occur in nature. With his meticulously composed photographs, Shunsuke Shiinoki exposes the flowers’ tenuous existence, their fragile forms, continuous metamorphoses, and inevitable decay. This volume by the Japanese “haute-couture” florists includes an introduction by Makoto Azuma and an index identifying all of the more than 2,000 featured species with their binomial names.

Available from our book store.

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Returning from the Edge of Design

One week per year Eindhoven, Netherlands hosts Dutch Design Week where the world of design takes focus on the once tiny town. During this week, the visitors outnumber the locals, lasting professional relationships are born and many designers’ dreams of growing from ‘aspiring’ to ‘recognized’ come true. I knew nothing of Eindhoven before visiting but as soon as I arrived, I felt comfortable. It has Design coursing through its veins.

Eindhoven is roughly 1.5 hours south of Amsterdam by train. The city has a practical, industrial vibe thanks to the rise of industry initially centred around tobacco and textile. The city’s industrial sector grew significantly with the rise of lighting and electronics giant Philips, which was founded as a light bulb manufacturing company in Eindhoven in 1891.

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Jung Gestalter

 

Over the past two years, we have noticed a bright community of young designers working throughout Europe (see previous post on London-based Jakub Zak).  We are lucky enough to be showcasing some of their works here in our showroom…

The interdisciplinary pieces created by Berlin-based NEW TENDENCY are creative, new, and thoughtful.  They are produced in Germany using regional handcraft techniques and designed by the in-house design team, or in collaboration with their designer/architect friends and colleagues.

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