“Our design is really concept-forward, not aesthetic-forward,” says Kate Snyder of Studio Roslyn, the Vancouver-based interior design firm she founded with Jessica MacDonald. “That is how we approach every project, which I think is very unique.”
Helmed by the two long-time friends and fellow designers (Snyder and MacDonald worked alongside each other at Oak + Fort and Ste. Marie prior to venturing out independently), Studio Roslyn is breathing new life into the city’s design scene.
“Once you get all of that figured out, the aesthetic kind of unfolds from there,” MacDonald adds via phone. “It always feels like it unfolds really naturally when you have a really good foundation that you’re starting from. You’re not just randomly picking paint colour—there’s a really strong concept there.”
Since launching in early 2017, Studio Roslyn has worked on a number of residential, hospitality, and commercial properties; most recently, that includes the Lobby Lounge at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, Victoria’s Fernwood Coffee Company, and the Ad Astra house: a family home project for two established Vancouver restaurateurs.
And while their client roster continues to grow and diversify, their approach remains the same: understand the client’s needs, goals, and story first, then begin the design process. This core belief remains at the heart of what Studio Roslyn has set out to do since the beginning.
“We won’t just take what’s trendy and plug it into any location,” MacDonald says. “We’re very conscious of the specific client and the specific site and building that it’s located at.”
It’s this intuitive perspective that sets Roslyn apart from other firms, and is garnering it attention in Vancouver and beyond. “I think as a design company if you’re communicating properly what your point of view is and how you work, the goal is that you’re getting the right people and the right projects at your door,” Snyder says.
Once confident in their clients’ business requirements and aspirations, the Roslyn Mothers, as they call themselves, like to dive into research mode early on in their process, and are known to pull inspiration from a mix of fashion, food and beverage, and art sources.
“I think we have an international point of view when it comes to design and the things we’re into: style, aesthetic, trends, and concepts,” says Snyder. “Our favourite stuff is happening in a lot of other cities, and I feel like Vancouver is paying attention to that.”
Vancouver design is often slapped with a tired Pacific Northwest label (exposed beams, reclaimed wood), but Snyder says she remains optimistic: “[It’s] such an international city that you’re kind of doing a disservice to say, ‘This is what it means aesthetically to be Pacific Northwest.’ There are amazing reference points here and really unique things about our city, and it’s good to push that.” Carving a path on their own terms, the Studio Roslyn women are well on their way to redefining what Vancouver design can mean.
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