A local interior designer and good pal, chats to us about designing for a better, more sustainable future; where inspired trips abroad bring inspiration truth and beauty to all the projects she takes on, including her own home!
Who: Tanya Mclean
Where: Vancouver BC
What: Mom, Designer and Owner of Mango Design Co
Believes: Peace, Love & The Slow Life
Q: How do you define good design?
A: Good design is enduring, is both current and timeless and is thoughtful not only to the needs of the client today, but of future generations. Good design to me is not overly designed, contrived or trendy…but requires a lot of thought to make it look effortless.
Q: Describe your sense of style?
A: It’s the barefoot aesthetic…. natural, pure and unpretentious. It’s romantic & nostalgic with a sense of the whimsical & eclectic. It’s a bit raw, tousled and crumpled. It begs to be touched, walked-on & lived in ‘cause it will only get better with age.
Q: Biggest eco challenge in being a designer?
A: Finding a balance between a passion for design and a passion for the planet in an industry that is so waste intensive! In Vancouver, the high price of real estate and inflated construction costs often cause eco-minded folks to compromise their values to stay within budget. I believe in quality over quantity, environmentally conscious products, local & independent over mass-produced…but I don’t win every battle. I relish taking on my own renovation so I can put myself in the same position as my clients… I wonder if & where I would compromise?
Q: Travel destination of inspiration?
A: Travel inspires my life & my design philosophy in so many ways. India inspired me to reduce my environmental impact. Bali encourages art & ceremony in everyday life. The Greek Islands inspire serenity and a calm colour palette. Most cultures (outside of NA) inspire the slow life and a less is more attitude. But I live and design on the westcoast, so it’s raw, natural beauty inspires most of my work.
Q: Dream commission?
A: A client has been tempting me with the design of a Balinese / midcentury modern home. I would do that out of pure love … and a year of living barefoot in Indonesia.
Q: One trend we will never see you implement?
A: Ha, never say never! But you won’t likely see me implementing too much bling or faux anything!! Ugh.
Q: Designer you most admire?
A: My hero has always been artist & architect, Antoni Gaudi. Finally being amongst his masterpieces in Barcelona last fall was magical! Modern day admiration goes to local architect Michael Green for his sense playful work ethic and for pushing the envelope on the use of wood. And to local architecture & design team, Battersby Howatt, whose homes embody my westcoast dream.
Q: What are most of your clients looking for?
A: Most of my clients are young families living in fairly cramped quarters by today’s standards. The house designs that worked for families 100 years ago don’t generally work for today’s informal & active family. We are designing a lot of 2nd storey additions, tearing down interior walls to create bright open spaces, and designing clever custom millwork to keep clutter under control.
Q: Boldest design move you’ve ever made?
A: A complete overhaul of a 2400 sqft condo at the Shangri La last summer. My client wanted ‘awesome’ and mentioned the designer Marcel Wanders, whom I’ve come to admire for his ‘exuberant creativity’. Marcel is able to combine traditional & modern, feminine & masculine in a whimsical and unmatchable manner. The bold design was outside of my usual comfort zone & was definitely a bit nerve-wracking to implement, but mango delivered awesomeness!
Q: Every home should have?
A: HEART! most of my favourite homes wouldn’t get a spread in any design mag but they’ve got personality because they’re loved. Cheesy, I know ;) Unfortunately, we live in a city where houses are often viewed as money makers, not homes. The same type of love isn’t put into a design/renovation when profit is in mind.