Framing Nature

I recently attended IDSWest, an interior design show in Vancouver. While I would have liked to have spent more time there, life’s unexpected plans meant I had just a few hours to take it all in! Top of my list was listening to Suzanne Dimma, editor of House & Home speak about her own eco friendly retreat and also about the West Vancouver house designed by architect David Zacharko which  I shot  for the May issue of H&H. The theme of the talk was ‘Framing Nature’, and on display were many of my images of this stunning architectural home which merges  seamlessly from structure to shoreline. This project was especially interesting for me to shoot as it happens to overlook Bachelor Bay  where I grew up and spent all my childhood days swimming!

As you can see from the image below, Suzanne’s off-the-grid space designed by her husband Arriz Hassam is what natural eclectic is all about!  Great care and respect was shown for the natural surrounds of the ‘treehouse’ they built overlooking Drag Lake in Ontario, creating a beautiful personalized place that’s connected to nature, earthy and grounded yet still  luxurious.This spread shot by Michael Graydon for the H &H October 11 issue shows a wonderful selection of found objects & simple tactile items brought together in the relaxed atmosphere of Suzanne’s retreat.

After this inspiring talk about design that is in harmony with our great Canadian landscape, I scurried off to to try to find a few of my favorite creative folks! With the talented Michelle Morelan in tow, off we raced to grab a few flashes of inspiration before heading off to BLEND 2011, a post IDS WEST celebration created just for fellow bloggers like us!

I had a short list of booths I wanted to take in. On the way we bumped into Louvre-trained sculptor Marie Khouri at her booth for Collaboration. A friend of a friend, Marie is one of those quintessentially french women that is just so elegant, understated and beautiful with everything she puts together including herself. her organic forms are hand sculpted for interiors and landscape design. I loved these forms set amongst a blanket of fresh moss – the French really just do know how to do it! 

Next we ran into Judson Beaumont whom I have known since art school days. He is such a warm, funny & talented guy! I was thrilled to see a bit of a departure in his work, something a little new & different from his signature [and very clever ] work of whimsical anthropomorphic furniture. Keeping on trend with the whole ‘forms from nature theme’ that was very strong at IDS WEST in general, he had these fabulous stumps lit from within. I loved the mix of the techno feel with the organic, a home can always use a bit of surprise and a little sleek edge!

While I tend to be a bit serious in my design sense, & rather neutral in my  palette, the colorful playful hit of these creations was right on the mark fro me!

Next stop, I wanted to see the boys at Provide. I love their store & if I had a sister shop [ well I guess that would be brother ] this is what it would look like. I love their sensual materials, tie died pillows, felted items, great ceramics, plus the warm & supportive attitude that owners Robert & David have shared as fellow retailers. Their booth did not disappoint! Last stop before our soiree I wanted to see Tanja & Michael of MTH Woodworks. They just recently won the WL designer of the year award for furniture design.They do great things with sandblasted organic wooden forms and a resin made from soy! Again, liking the juxtaposition of sleek & raw materials put together in a way that is modern yet still soft.

After the whirlwind of a tour in less then two hours total, Michelle & I headed off to the swanky Loden Hotel. En route while rushing through downtown on foot, this glorious spectacle caught my eye….a water fountain glimmering in the sunlight, sleek sheets of water flowing over turquoise and silver, with autumn leaves hovering on the edge caught up in the flow. I had to take a shot of course! A reminder to all that beauty is found in many forms & we must always keep our eyes open to what’s around us. This natural event was just as visually enthralling to me as all the booths I had witnessed inside the show.

Finally we made it to the party for the ‘Canadian Design & Lifestyle bloggers West’. A lovely group that I was just recently invited to join. Talented people, sharing blogs, ideas, inspirations & stories of everyday life & living. This was their first big bash & they put on a great party that sizzled with chatter & great ideas. Suzanne Dimma & Mark Challen of H&H stopped by, as did Kelly Deck, plus reps from  Ikea that were generous enough to sponsor our event! What home wouldn’t be complete without at least a few clever design solutions from Ikea! As I always say, it’s all about the mix, the balance, striking the right note, combining functional & practical with beautiful & found. New with old, tactile with smooth, areas of layered depth and quiet openness. So, all in all, I was “framed by nature’ & also  by friends, happy to have an evening of celebration after the unexpected curve that life had thrown at my that week!

10 thoughts on “Framing Nature

  1. Thanks for the weekend of fun…actually 2 great weekend of fun now…yes, loved Maria’s vessels…just lovely…I saved her card, because of the lines. Nice to see your great work as part of IDSWest…you know I think you’re the bomb!!

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