Monday, July 29, 2013

2013 Designer Series-Meade Design Group

Introducing Ivan Meade, one of the most inventive Interior Designers  in North America and our discussion of  his companies innovative works!

Ivan  is the principal designer of Meade Design Group Inc., a multi-disciplinary interior and graphic design studio in Victoria, BC, Canada that creates interiors and graphics to elegantly reflect the needs and style of their clients.

Ivan tell us about your beginnings in design and some of your background, when did it all click?

One Christmas dinner my mother allowed me to set the dining table. I illustrated all of the place cards and menus by hand, and collected ornaments from around the house.  Everyone was very impressed and I received a large round of applause for my efforts.  The feeling has never left.  That was probably my first experience with design.  I was also very fortunate to grow up in a family that truly appreciated the art scene; As a kid I was exposed to artists, writers, museums, theater  ballet.  My mother was a very stylish lady in her own right, and she had 2 phrases that have stuck with me: “Good taste is a cultural product” and “Luxury is in the things you touch every day”.  – The first is a reminder to never stop learning and being observant, inspiration can be everywhere; It can be in art piece in a museum, or in the architectural lines of a building. The second is about quality, saying that things don’t need to be expensive, but that quality is the key. These phrases are, in a way, my design philosophy. The reason I am a designer is that I spent many years studying business, but I missed the creative aspect.  Owning my own business has given me the opportunity to do both, to explore the analytical side and the creative one.

Your firm is widely renowned as a multidisciplinary firm. How do you and your team juggle Interior Design, Graphic Design, Client branding etc.

I guess, I was a kid who learned to listen to and keep the good family advice!  My grandfather (who was a really good business man) always said that in order to succeed in any business you need to have two businesses in one business.  When one doesn't do well the other one will help you to pay the bills.  In almost 12 years owning a multidisciplinary firm I have to say that this has been the best advice I've ever taken. When the economy collapsed in 2008 – Interiors was dead, but graphics on the other hand, we were insanely busy with (everybody wanted to stand out). You also have to be able to recognize what your weaknesses are and accept the support of your team.  Everybody has different strengths.  I owe a lot to my team.

What an exciting time to be in the design business. Do you find your clients receptive to new ideas, looks from Contemporary, Mid Century Modern to Traditional to old World European elegance?  Is there a movement you see of importance trending?

It definitely is an exciting time in design.  Thanks to the internet, we have more options available. We also have been experiencing a different type of client – a client that is more educated in what is available to them.  I live in Victoria, British Columbia, so I am an islander which has made the internet one of my main tools. 

In the International market, I see a big mix happening right now.  People appreciating good design from the past and mixing it with the best that modern design has to offer.  An eclectic mix of good design.  Victoria has a smaller population with a very diverse market. I am against a signature style per-se, as I am not the one who is living in my clients homes. My clients are my priority and they are the ones living in their space – I definitely bring my design aesthetic to a job, but it is the clients personality that has to stand out.  You can see this in my body of work, both graphics and interiors. We just finished an Edwardian home, (very traditional but with the conveniences of today), we are also currently working on a young family's first home where the kids are the priority.  On the other side of the coin, we are working on a modern penthouse for a couple with transitional style that have a passion for collecting art.  In a sense, I think people are more open to explore an interpretation of their own personal taste rather than following a trend. 

What is your working relationship with your clients like?

This is a very interesting question.  The client/designer relationship is like any other relationship.  We are working with core aspects.  A brand identity will represent the client’s business as they'd like to be viewed, and a home will represent the lifestyle that the clients want to have.  We need to be really careful to understand the clients needs and how to fulfill them – basically, we need to do our homework.  Once we have done this part, we also have to leave room for spontaneity and creativity and bring something new to the table – That is when the magic happens.   

For instance, the majority of my graphic design clients are people in design.  Architects, Interior Designers, Landscape Designers, Furnishing business, etc.  We have become known as 'the designers for the designers'.  First of all, I need to understand who they are and also to make them stand out in their own market – what is their unique niche.  Because my graphic design clients are design educated I need to make them aware that we need to design something to attract that ideal client that they are looking for while maintaining their personality and uniqueness in the mix.  It is challenging but very rewarding.

Can you describe your personal design aesthetic? Has it evolved over the years?

I like quality and uniqueness.  I love playing with volume and I usually try to have one bold gesture in the spaces I design.  I think that is what makes a space memorable.  Of course, my design aesthetic has really evolved over the years.  I guess we can always refer back to the cultural aspect;  travel and lifestyle inspire me.  My own home is very laid-back, my studio on the other hand, is an elegant eclectic mix for my clients to find what they like and what they don’t like.  It is  harder to mix styles than it is to use only one, but it also feels less stiff and is much more interesting visually.  Adaptability is the key.

Is there a particular project that stands out as truly a masterpiece of your work or simply a favorite all around?

I will have to say that my studio is one of my favorite projects.  It is always evolving.  I spend 8 hours per day here, so it needs to be an extension of my own home and a reflection of who I am while being a place where my clients also can feel comfortable and inspired.  It can be a bit more complex to design a work space than designing a residence since oftentimes so much more time is spent there – especially in one place, the ergonomic factors are entirely different.  I was kind of my own client, but I still had to keep my clients tastes in the back of my mind.

How important is it for art and collectibles to take place in your designs?

Really important! Actually for me, it is a must!  Art is the only thing that truly showcases your personality.  Art is emotional! You can tell the personality of the inhabitant of a space by the art hanging on the walls.  I try to bring as much “real” art as possible to all my projects.  I also believe in supporting our local art community and showcasing their talents.  Technology is helping us in many aspects of our business, but this is one aspect where it destroys the opportunity to have artists and artisans involved in our projects (thanks to mass production).  A unique piece of art, always will be unique.  There is one and only one, not 3000 from the same series.  We are each unique, so why not embrace uniqueness?

Please give some advice to the person starting in this entrepreneurial business?

Find what is unique about you and exploit that as part of your brand.  The lessons I learned from my mother and grandfather are core values of my brand. When people start comparing you to other designers they will find you more attractive if you have something that is unique to you.   You also need to understand who your client is, their specific needs and how to over deliver - that is the key to gaining referrals.  Understand your business and value your business.  Design is our passion, but we also need to make a living from it.  I am a very fortunate person to do what I like to do in life and live off of it.  Design is not an easy business, but when you have specific practices in place, you can really enjoy the ride. 

You may reach Ivan through his website, Meade Design Group or his blog 

Thank you so much Ivan, for participating in The 2013 Design Series! 

Art by Karena

Please leave a comment as it means so much to both our guest and to me!

Look for more exciting features to come and be sure to Follow Art by Karena to keep up with the latest !!

The winner of the Giveaway of A Designer Pillow
By Jane Schott of Empress of the Eye
Is Dore of Burlap Luxe! Congratulations Dore!


traci zeller designs said...

WOW. What a great interview. I love the advice he shared from his mother and grandfather. What great role models! Thanks, Karena!

Ivy Lane said...

I love Ivan's recount of setting the table for Christmas. I believe every designer has a memory it with entertaining, or re-arranging furniture in their bedroom or living spaces of their childhood home... I agree, art is so important in a space. I like how Ivan puts that.. great interview! Thanks for sharing!




Dear Karena,

Thank you very much for the opportunity and for showcasing our work. Wishing you the very best!

Ivan Meade
Principal Designer
Meade Design Group Inc

Acquired Objects said...

I always like reading of a family situation that others take with them and build a career. And seeing the interiors Ivan has been a part of he gained a lot from his family.


Burlap Luxe said...

Oh Karen,
Thérè are no words other then I Am Blessed !
Thank you my beautiful friend for giving such a beautiful GiveAway! And as for being your winner I am over joyed.

I sent you my address via- messaged you through your face book.

My email is ...
You can drop me an email and I can send you my mailing address again if needed.

How do you do all that you do?
You amaze the blog world with all the artist you expose to us and their stories of truth.

Thank you girl for your grace and beauty, that continues to shine.



Burlap Luxe said...

Oh Karena,
The i married adventure pillow is of the win?
I am excited to add this unique beauty to my designs.

See you and your beauty soon.

~ Doré

Katherines Corner said...

thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things hop xo

The enchanted home said...

Wonderful interview..sounds like a smart man to listen and learn from those who had the wisdom to pass down. I am always so impressed by family businesses..wonderful!

Brillante Interiors said...

I love everything Ivan does and I love his personality...and yes Ivan is a dear friend who also helped with Brillante Interiors' image. Great questions, Karena, and great answers, Ivan! A joy to read this post.

Taylor Greenwalt said...

That was a great interview...very smart man and creative...

Simply LKJ said...

What a fabulous post Karena! Love taking a peek inside a designer's world and learning about how they got started. Great family story as well.

K&B by the Sea said...

Ivan is one of the first bloggers I followed when I started blogging in 2009. He has an amazing sense of style and always writes about interesting products and projects on his blog. Who wouldn't love to work in his gorgeous studio!? That wallpaper is a serious WOW!

quintessence said...

Terrific interview. Insightful questions and inspiring answers!

Bethany [at] Powell Brower Home said...

i love this interview - always so cool to hear about the journies of other people and designers especially!

Unknown said...

Fantastic interview! I have noticed the Meade group in photos and adore their work. So interesting to find out the brains behind the biz. Thanks Karena!
xo Nancy

Fashion-isha said...

Great interview! I love the divider wall with the original!

Pura Vida said...

gosh I love that photo of the huge wallpaper!

24 Corners said...

Great interview...loved the business advice Ivan's grandfather gave to him, so smart, and he's doing it, grandpa must be so proud!
Thanks Karena...
xo J~

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good morning Karena! I am always happy to see young people who have made it to the top of their game, and this gentleman has a style that is clean and elegant and I'm sure, desirable for the RIGHT clientele!!!!!

Thank you for coming by to visit! So good to see you, and I hope your summer has been a peaceful one. Anita

Mona Thompson said...

Loved the interview from this very talented man...Fabulous work! Have a great week, Karena.

Teresa Hatfield ~ Splendid Sass said...

Great interview on this talented designer!
Thank you for sharing, Karena.
Happy Wednesday.

aditi said...

Very well written article,
I have articles on Interior design. do share your opinion.

Thanks, Aditi

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