We are lucky to live in a city, rich with creativity, which has cultivated an abundance of talent in the local design scene. One need not look far to uncover the refined work of design principal, Ivan Meade, founder of Meade Design Group. Whether you’ve read one of his articles in local lifestyle magazine, YAM, seen his interiors on HGTV, been to his blog, or you’ve marvelled at one of his many fantastic logo designs, there is a good chance you’ve experienced his work in some capacity.
Not one for complacency, Meade continues to propel his career forward through new channels of creativity. The most recent endeavour, his own fabric line, will only elevate the strength of his brand further. It was the news of this line that had us pining to learn more, and we had the privilege of visiting Meade in his studio (new door decal and all) to view the samples up close. We spent the morning with MDG to get a feel for how the studio functions and to document this space in all its splendour.
The Meade Design Group studio is located in downtown Victoria in a heritage building which, to a large degree, has seen better days. Meade describes the stairway and entrance as “shabby” and “like a run down business.” Although they are kept immaculately clean (most mornings you will catch Meade cleaning the glass door and washing the tile at ground level), he intentionally left this part of the office untouched.
Typically, clients that visit the studio for the first time are in need of MDG’s interior design services for a reason: their space needs help. As they walk up the stairs, they may feel underwhelmed, similar to how they feel about their own living space. However, once they pass through the studio doors, an unexpected transformation takes place. “If your place looks like crap, once you open up the studio doors and when you choose to work with us, we will make it look beautiful,” Meade jokes. After clients go through the design process themselves, the “visual analogy” he describes above is fully realized.
As for how the studio is set up to help guide their clients, Meade breaks it down into two parts. “The first parameter for when I designed the studio was to make it a place where all my clients could find a style they like; it is eclectic for that reason. If somebody likes contemporary they may like the table, the chandelier and the chairs.
If they appreciate traditional design, they may like the antiques that are in the room. The room itself created good reference points to evaluate a client’s design tastes. The second thing I wanted to do with the studio was to have a very neutral palette so that when I was presenting colour or working with colour (for my clients) it was the project that stood out, not the environment. The inspiration for this environment is a set of bull horns that I discovered one day while out for a walk. They were the perfect neutral colours for the studio, in fact, the colours I personally like: a line of blacks to creams to taupes to yellows. You look at the horns and you see the studio; everything is in sync with those horns.”
When it comes to the working environment for Meade and his team, there is a connectivity within the office that weaves them together, while granting them a personal workspace that would be the envy of any cubical dweller. The high ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, custom drapery, and art collection make it an office fit for Manhattan. It feels luxurious, yet utilitarian. Fashionable, yet functional. Sophisticated, yet warm and welcoming.
How does this translate as a working environment for a small team? “I didn’t want to have my own office,” explains Meade. “We have four desks, facing each other. It keeps me in the know when phone conversations with clients take place and saves us time in the communication process. I can also move from desk to desk which generates a higher level of collaboration and sharing of ideas.” On the collaboration process, Meade also adds, “We, in the graphics department, benefit from having Echo’s (one of MDG’s interior designers) opinion, especially if she hasn’t been involved in the project. Having a voice that understands design, especially the type of design we do, is invaluable. Her feedback improves the quality of work we are producing. Similarly, we bring Jordan or Jeff into the interior projects to provide feedback and insight in a similar way. It’s a symbiotic relationship.”
Touring the studio, it is apparent that the space has been designed to provide a unique client experience. And, as a working office, it definitely enriches the creative experience. But there is one element that shouldn’t be ignored: the warmth and hospitality nurtured within it. Whether it’s an offering of espresso or MDG’s own line of tea or perhaps an individual serving of Perrier water, one feels taken care here while stopping by. For Meade, it’s all about the comforts of home. “I spend between eight and ten hours here a day I wanted the studio to be an extension of my home. I wanted it to be a beautiful space. Why have an office that isn’t beautiful, organized, clean?”