Up close with DesignAgency

December 4th, 2013

The Design Agency_02

DesignAgency. Allen Chan, Anwar Mekhayech and Matthew Davis

A few months ago we announced that DesignAgency will be responsible for the interior design of 1 Yorkville and we’re excited to be working with them. We want you to get to know the all-star team a little better, so we sat down with Allen Chan, one of the co-founders of DesignAgency to talk about their impressive design portfolio and what they have in store for 1 Yorkville.

Can you tell us a little about your company culture and what your brand represents?

We’ve always prided ourselves in the ability to practice in many different types of arenas, with many different types of clients, and on all different types/scales of projects. That comes down to the talent and diversity in our team. DesignAgency is defined by our approach: we value discovery, innovation and the art of invention, and our studio environment reflects and encourages that process.

You’ve got quite an impressive design portfolio. Which project has been your most memorable so far?

All our projects are memorable in so many different ways. On the hospitality side, one of our most memorable moment was creating a new concept in Toronto for chef David Chang at Momofuku Toronto. Working with the Momofuku team was amazing because they are so passionate about what they do.


Momufuku TorontoMomofuku-restaurant-James-KM-Cheng-The-Design-Agency-Toronto-02

In terms of development work, the team at Bazis are changing the way people live: they are willing to take risks, to push the boundaries, and to make 1 Yorkville truly unique. It takes a client with vision to make any project amazing, and that’s why we’re so excited to be a part of the 1 Yorkville team.

You’ve worked on several different types of projects from commercial, to retail, to residential, to hospitality. How does designing for each space differ from the other?

Each project and client is unique. A big part of our process is spending the time to understand the needs and requirements of the client. We develop each space and design to the client, we do not replicate ideas from one project to the next. Each type of project has it’s particular design and technical challenges, with the hospitality work being the most technically challenging for the most part. Every project has it’s unique challenges, but challenges always bring out the most creative design solutions.

What do you have in planned for 1 Yorkville? What can we expect?

1 Yorkville is going to differentiate itself from other projects out there purely from an original standpoint. Not only do we have a unique building and a unique design, but we have some of the best common area programming around. You can expect to be amazed.

1-Yorkville1 Yorkville

Can’t wait! Will you be introducing or doing anything unique or different with 1 Yorkville that you haven’t done before or hasn’t been seen in other condo buildings?

We feel we have an extremely unique product.The interiors will have amenity spaces like no other project, including an amazing rooftop amenity space which will offer unparalleled views of the city. It will be designed as a place to live, relax, and entertain.

How do you see 1 Yorkville fitting in with the neighbourhood?

There are a lot of high end offerings in the neighbourhood, and I think that 1 Yorkville will blend in well with neighbourhood. It is very much a “lifestyle” condo, with the same type of amenities, spaces, and services one might find in a lifestyle hotel. It will be the place to live, and now the most exclusive address in the neighbourhood.

A few months ago, the graffiti artist Banksy made a comment about Canadian architecture being “vanilla”, what are your thoughts on the current design and architecture we’re seeing in Toronto, and where do you think we’re headed in the next few years?

I dont know if vanilla is the right way to describe it. That would indicate boring and plain. Although conservative in nature, I think the city is fostering some really great architecture. What’s been most exciting in terms of development in the recent years, are the infrastructure projects that we’ve been seeing, and the level of design, thought, and interest garnered towards them. We certainly went through a period where the architecture was arguably banal and very “civic” in nature, but I think that the tides are changing. We as a culture are understanding how great architecture can not only change the face of the cityscape, but breathe new life into areas, and thus impact economic and cultural change.

Thanks Allen – stay tuned for more 1 Yorkville updates!