An Exploration of Inspiring Interiors
H aute was lucky to grab an hour with Chil Design’s Diana Ellis, one of the prime movers behind Hollybridge’s distinctive aesthetics. She explained how her team’s design spans two continents.
H: What were your inspirations coming into the Hollybridge project?
DE: Of course, the site and its history played its part. One of the key inspirations came from the pioneering story of Samuel Brighouse. He planted a number of English oak and European ash that can still be seen from Hollybridge. Coming from England, he was one of three settlers in this area in the 1800s. From that period, we picked up on the old English traditional details, tied together with a contemporary and modern twist.
Alongside the richer tones you see in the fabrics, leathers and wood patterns, and levels of custom ceiling and lighting designs, there is also a large array of feature millwork and trim detailing as seen in high-end English interiors. For example, in the amenity areas we’ve drawn inspiration from old English club lounges — lots of panelling, studded leather, and sophisticated, yet comfortable and eloquent, furniture pieces.
H: Is there a yin yang balance going on at Hollybridge?
DE: Yes, I think we’re always balancing the masculine and feminine. Within some of the suite finishes, particularly The Panther scheme, there are radical black finishes, hard lines and contemporary edge details cleverly counterbalanced with a more curvaceous and softer feature through the 24-carat plumbing fixtures. This level of bling acts as the perfect yin to the Panther yang, bringing a beautiful balance to this scheme.
H: How did IBI’s architecture influence your thinking?
DE: IBI, the architects, have created a more intimate building. This isn’t a mass-produced building. The roof lines and the angles made the lobbies very distinctive. So we were able to play off those angles to our advantage and connect the interiors to the architecture.
H: Was the waterfront location a big factor in your design ethos?
DE: Absolutely. The view and the connection to the outdoors is huge. The waterfall architecture of the building lends itself to big decks and terraces and so we wanted to maximize the connection from the kitchen to the river and the sky.
H: How does Panther fit into the overall design?
DE: It was a lot of fun. Normally you have a light and a dark scheme. But we’ve always wanted to do a radical black kitchen as a firm. Remember this was four of five years ago now. So when we put together the black scheme we wanted to anticipate what people would be interested in. It’s got a sexy, moody, boudoir element to it.
H: What’s your personal highlights at Hollybridge?
DE: There’s going to be a lot! I think that the British elements haven’t been done in multi-family residential in Vancouver really. The veneer detail on the two lobby walls is from a London millworkers’ tradition, a high-end luxury cabinet-making effect.
I like the links to old architecture. Like windows being split into sixteenths back in the day — and Hollybridge has a modern take on that.
In the suites, the 24-carat champagne gold plumbing fixtures are a favourite of mine; they bring the bling we all enjoy once in a while. Gold can get dull over time but I specified a gold that won’t tarnish. It’ll always look new.