Poppytalk interviews Falken Reynolds today – thoughts on our trip to Milan, people who inspire us and our journey to design – from being a cop & a cowboy. Thanks Jan!
Today we’re excited to share with you a little Q & A with Chad Falkenberg and Kelly Reynolds, the duo behind the design studio, Falken Reynolds here in Vancouver. Chad and Kelly just got back from Milan Design Week where they did an amazing job covering the show for Poppytalk and IDSwest and so we thought it was time for an interview here on the blog.
First off, a HUGE thank you for the most amazing coverage you did for us from the iSaloni’14 . You guys really covered some ground! What was your overall impression of the show this year and what stood out to you as you go forward with your work?
It’s exciting to see the success of manufactures that are making well designed and well priced products – most of them are from Scandinavia and northern Europe. Companies like Hay, Muuto, Norman Copenhagen are all tapping into a market that grew up on Ikea but is now searching for quality products that will last a long time. And it’s not just the masses who are taking note; Hay had a massive pop-up shop in the centre of the city where we spotted industrial design heavy weight Jasper Morrison checking out their new products.
The two big visual trends continue to be warm metals & flat pastels. Copper and brushed brass are being used on reissued pieces from big names like Dornbracht and Vitra and more sophisticated companies like B&B Italia were showing upholstery in muted pale yellows, greens and pinks. We love how the warmth and lightness of this trend is making high design seem a bit more carefree and accessible.
We think it’s always interesting to get a little background and how people evolve. Where did you both train or study and how did Falken Reynolds form?
We love this question! The biggest part of what informs how we design is our history. Before jumping into a design career Kelly had been a soldier in the Canadian Navy, an officer in the Vancouver Police Department, a flight attendant and a hotel manager. Chad grew up on a farm on the prairies and spent summers on horse ranches in Texas and Arizona, got a degree in finance, taught at a University in Lithuania followed by an international marketing job. We met in 2006 when we were both transitioning into a design career – Kelly was starting his training at BCIT and Chad went off to school in Barcelona. A mutual friend knew our stories and knew we had to meet. We had separate design careers for five years – Kelly had his own firms and Chad worked for Robert Bailey – before launching Falken Reynolds two years ago in 2012.
We love your “one aesthetic doesn’t fit all approach” and how the interiors you design evolve from space to space. How do you design a space and ensure it’s authentic for each client?
I think it really stems from a curiosity about people – what makes them tick, what gets them excited. On our travels we’ve been invited into people’s homes (in places as varied as London, Cairo or Vladivostock) – and it’s made us appreciate that everyone wants their home to feel special and unique. Rather than giving all our clients the same look we feel our job is to create a space that works first in an intelligent way with form and function, but second in an inspiring way, that lets the unique character of each client shine through. I’m sure it helps that we find beauty in a pretty broad range or styles – as long as they are done really well and with authenticity.
What’s your favourite space(s) you’ve designed thus far?
We love it when the finished project has a huge impact on how people use their homes. Our colourful condo project is a special one because after living in the space for twenty years the clients wanted a complete transformation. They wanted to embrace colour, their love of mid-century modern and a floor plan that worked for modern life. The only thing we kept was a chandelier they had bought on a romantic trip to Venice. They love entertaining now and it’s even spring boarded them into healthier living. And our Bachelor Pad project – we get the same guilty pleasure from toys and gadgets as any guy does and this loft is full of them, hidden and tucked away. Despite all the luxuries the space has a rawness to it that epitomizes a warehouse loft: it’s open and hearty and ready for a party.
Where are your favourite places to shop locally for your clients?
Where do you seek inspiration for your work?
Nothing beats travelling and getting to spend time in amazing spaces – this year we spent two nights in Paris on the way to Milan and stayed at the Philippe Starck designed hotel Mama Shelter and had dinner at what could just be the perfect dining room, Monseiur Bleu designed by architect Joseph Dirand. In Vancouver we spend a lot of time being active outside – and sometimes the best medicine for finding a design solution is a change in perspective – things look a bit different running on the sea wall or riding a bike.
What designers/makers/architects, etc do you look up to, are influenced by or inspire you?
How would you explain your personal tastes with respect to interiors. Eg – your home (any pics?).
We’re a bit eclectic, somewhere between minimal and what Jaime Hayon has coined “digital baroque.” (We’ll have photos as soon as we finish our renovation:)
We love your Decorate Gastown installations each year during the holidays (in fact that is how we discovered you). Will you be doing a 2014 version and how did that all begin?
Definitely! We live and work in Gastown and love the neighbourhood for the amazing architecture and all of the entrepreneurs who make the street level so interesting and vibrant. We design holiday installations for shops that work with each space and brand so the shop owners can focus on all the preparations for their busiest season. In 2013 we had forty volunteers help make and install items for ten shops. We’ve become great friends with a lot of people through it and it’s the sense of community that makes it so rewarding.
Any sneak peeks or plans you can share of new or future things on the go?
We have a family vacation home on Blackcomb Mountain that will be in the Spring 2014 issue of Condo Magazine and Janis Nicolay just shot another Whistler project for us on Aspen Drive in Creekside. We have a lot of projects under construction right now too – we’re connecting two lofts into a 2,500 sf one bedroom, renovating a 100 year old Tudor style townhouse with a modern/minimal interior, building a new house for one of our favourite contractors Moosehead Contracting and our first restaurant that will open this fall in Chinatown. We’re documenting progress on Instagram, it’s a lot of fun to watch them go from concept into construction.