A talk with Falken Reynolds
How did you get passionate about architecture?
When we were kids, we both loved building things – I loved using the simple Lego blocks to create houses and the CN Tower while Kelly used Construx to build skyscrapers. After pursuing other careers – Kelly in the Canadian Navy and Vancouver Police Department among other things, and me as a marketing professional – we both decided to make a big shift and start studying design. I moved to Barcelona to start design school and Kelly started studying in Vancouver.
When did you meet each other and how did you came up with the idea of Falken Reynolds?
A mutual friend introduced us in 2005, when we were both transitioning from our previous careers into design. We had quite a bit in common. Our relationship started soon after meeting, but we pursued different paths in design, trying to gain as much collective experience as possible before launching our own practice in 2012.
Which values does the firm pursue?
Curiosity is really the foundation of how we pursue our work. First, about people and their life stories, their personal values and motivations which all inform how we create a home for them. And second, about what is possible to physically create and build. We measure everything we do against our own interpretation of the Vitruvian Triad to ensure the design is useful, that it has the quality to last a long time and that it delights people.
What are your sources of inspiration?
We are so lucky to live in Vancouver, where we have such easy access to nature: the mountains and the ocean are at our doorstep and we love that we can go for a hike or a bike ride and get rejuvenated so easily. We travel extensively to tour factories, go to design fairs and explore what home means in different corners of the world. We also love getting out of our comfort zones a bit, hiking a volcano or trekking through ancient jungles or rice terraces. When we heighten our senses and push our minds or our bodies, we gain a shift in perspective that helps us in our work.
Curiosity is really the foundation of how we pursue our work. First, about people and their life stories, their personal values and motivations which all inform how we create a home for them.
What kind of relationship do you engage with your clients and how do projects usually develop?
Designing a private home is very intimate and every client has a unique way of communicating to us how they want the home to feel and function. We try to create an atmosphere where the they feel comfortable so we can incorporate what is important to them into the design. Since it isn’t something most clients do regularly, our role is to help guide the process and listen to the things that will make the project a success. Sometimes the pieces all come together quite quickly and sometimes it takes more exploration – we take the notion that we are there to guide the process rather than dictate the design. I think this open-ended approach allows clients to see themselves as the key ingredient in the final design.
How much is important for the modern client the possibility of customization when it comes to interior design? What are his needs nowadays?
For so many of our clients home is the place they are the most themselves, so the importance of customizing the interior is critical in creating an atmosphere that fosters this. With cities becoming more crowded and busy our homes have become a place of personal retreat and should rejuvenate us and that means different things for each person. We see a shift in our clients to wanting their homes to feel more analog and tactile as a reaction to spending so much time looking at screens. One of our current clients has asked us to design a Think Room for their family. We love this notion and how we are tying to create the same sort of atmosphere in a home that nature provides – freedom to take a deep breathe and let the mind relax and go on a journey.
What place do surfaces occupy in the process of designing an interior?
We always start working on a space by exploring how it needs to function, and then determining the duties each surface in the space needs to perform. Some will be touched so they need to feel a specific way, others need to be more resilient and repel water or a lot of wear and tear, and some need to be a focal point and have a lot of visual interest or simply reflect light in a certain way to create ambiance or conjure up an emotion.
Do you know Mutina? What strikes you the most about the company?
Mutina has been part of our projects from the very beginning. We love designing bathrooms and so many of ours incorporate Mutina because the surfaces of a bathroom has to perform so many duties. Whether we’re looking for something more graphic like Puzzle or Tape or something more subtle like Folded or Mews there are so many options to choose from, and so many ways to make the application unique. Mutina places such high value on working with incredible industrial designers who love details and consider so many possibilities of how tile can be used in creative ways. This comes through so strongly in the quality of the elements, with every collection having details that makes it so special.
Do you have a favourite collection? Why?
That’s a tough one, since we’ve used almost all of the collections in many different ways. Our personal favourite is Pico. As a wall tile in a shower with wall washed lighting that highlights the texture it creates a gentle and rejuvenating atmosphere. And it feels like getting a little massage on your feet when used on the floor.
How do you imagine Falken Reynolds in ten years?
We are just starting to work on more projects outside Vancouver and we imagine this will become a bigger and bigger part of our work. Collaborations have always been an important part of our practice – we learn so much by working on special projects with design brands, architects and builders. They arise from the most interesting relationships so we’re quite excited to see who we’ll be working with in ten years.
For so many of our clients home is the place they are the most themselves, so the importance of customizing the interior is critical in creating an atmosphere that fosters this.