Design at the Peak
Western Living shines a light on the makers of Alberta at our IDS Vancouver showcase, Alberta REdeFINED.
We’re shining a light on the makers of Alberta as part of our IDS Vancouver showcase.
When we decided we wanted to spotlight Alberta makers for our showcase at Interior Design Show Vancouver this year, I knew designer Kevin Mitchell would be the perfect fit to curate and create the space for us. You’ll likely recognize his colourful and often playful designs from past Western Living issues ( he once papered an entire ensuite, ceilings and all, in silver leaf)—and his profile in 2015 as our Robert Ledingham Memorial Award winner for an emerging interior designer. He loves design that tells a good story, and he’s someone that pays attention to the burgeoning maker scenes in Calgary and Edmonton that are grabbing attention on the international stage, too. And, no surprise, he’s come up with both a clever and elegant design for the showcase. “I was trying to be distinctly Albertan without putting a flag on it,” says Mitchell, who runs Mitchell Design House. “I wanted to show the world what we have to offer. Alberta’s known for white cowboy hats and oil—no one thinks there’s anything designerly in the Prairies. But these people are putting Alberta on the map.” Initially, Mitchell scribbled out ideas on a piece of paper and drew the shape of the province as
door in the wall, but he thought the amount of walls might block the views to the work inside. When he held the paper off the table, a eureka moment hit him: why not horizontal instead? It was a subtle homage to the province and allowed for more visibility to what was inside.
Essentially, guests in the showcase will be walking into a piece of Alberta—the space itself designed as the shape of the province, right down to the faceted wall that represents its mountainous border with B.C. ( We’re also working with Nicholas Hill of Ritchie Custom Homes to build the space—bringing this vision to perfect fruition).
Within that territory, the eight designers’ work will be treated with gallery-like respect, showcased on plinths throughout the room. “It’s a little more sophisticated than the typical hay bales and fences,” he laughs.
Designer Kevin Mitchell of Mitchell Design House