As always, we think it is important to offer readers something a little different and possibly some new insights into the interior design world. The majority of readers are likely people like myself, completely unprofessional and untrained in interior design but have a desire (AKA nosiness) to learn more about those who do work within the industry. Our interview with Harrison Pike, a young and talented designer, will be especially informative for aspiring designers who are interested in the who, how and what.
It was clear from my interactions with Harrison that he is a truly devoted and talented man who has worked hard to get where he is today, Gluckstein Design. Brian Gluckstein, the name and Interior Designer behind Gluckstein Design, is hailed as one of the top 35 designers in the world and was recently named as Canada’s favourite Interior Designer.
I just want to extend my sincere thanks to Harrison for opening up his world to the Row House Nest and giving us the Inside Scoop on what it is like to be a design intern with Gluckstein Design. It is a privilege and honour.
Question. Tell The Row House Nest readers about yourself.
Response. Hello readers! My name is Harrison Pike and I am a 23-year-old designer living and working in Toronto for one of the most well known firms in Canada [Gluckstein Design]. I enjoy design both for work and for pleasure and am so lucky that I truly love what I do. I work with an amazing team of people that I look forward to seeing every day. When I’m not working, I can usually be found cruising the shops on Queen West with my partner Ron. In terms of my design aesthetic, I strive to create spaces that are luxurious with a touch of the unexpected.
Question. How did you decide to get into interior design professionally?
Response. After completing two years at the University of Toronto I decided that a BA wasn’t going to end up helping me get anywhere. I took a year off and worked an office job while I figured out what I wanted my career path to be. I have always loved design and had been told I had a knack for certain aspects of it and I really wanted to see how far I could progress. I enrolled in college for Interior Design at The Academy of Design and loved every minute of it. I knew that I had made the right decision because no matter how hard the program was, I never stopped loving what I was doing.
Question. How long have you been working for Gluckstein Design? What is your favourite part of your workday?
Response. I started working for Gluckstein Design in May 2010 in the capacity of a part-time intern. I started full-time as a Designer in January 2011. It was a new year met with a great start!
Aside from coming into a warm and welcoming office, my favourite part of the workday would be when I get to go out to all the showrooms and really brainstorm ideas. Fabrics are very inspiring to me. When a client gives you a fabric that they inexplicably love, it really tells you a lot about them and their design style.
Question. Tell us a little about your favourite project that you have worked on thus far?
Response. Relatively speaking, I haven’t been with the firm very long. But I do have to say that my favourite project that the firm has produced would be the Four Seasons sales office located in Toronto. It is truly amazing and embodies all the design philosophies that the firm holds dear. It is beautifully simple, yet strikingly ornate in its every detail. If you live in Toronto I strongly advise that you go and have a look.
All images of Four Seasons provided by Harrison Pike.
Question. What projects do you have coming up?
Response. The project that I am currently working on is a Sales Centre office for the Soho Champagne condominiums that will be located in Ottawa. The sales centre should be opening shortly. I’ll come back with some pictures when it does!
Image from here.
Question. Where does your inspiration come from? How would you describe your creative process?
Response. My inspiration comes from everything around me: fashion, art, and movies. I believe that all design must start with a single point. Something that really inspires you and drives your mind into a design-frenzy. This could be an article of clothing from your client or a magazine, a fabric that you located earlier, or a movie-still that your client really loves, or maybe even use a previous design as a starting point. From there it evolves and grows, almost by itself. Once you find that single point of inspiration there is no stopping what comes next.
Question. Favourite stores?
Response. A favourite store in Toronto called Ribbehege and Azevedo. Hard to pronounce, I know, but finding something beautiful is effortless. They specialize in antiques, but they have many new and customizable items as well.
Favorite store anywhere would be the Ralph Lauren Mansion in New York. Not only do I love the clothing and home decor items, but the store itself is breath-taking.
And for those online shoppers, the store Gnr8 (http://gnr8.biz/) has amazing design gifts for that person that is particularly hard to shop for. They have some really unique things that are sure to make anyone smile.
Question. Favourite websites and blogs?
Response. The Fancy (http://www.thefancy.com/) is a definitely favorite. They post really cool things that people from all over the world “fancy”. Even though it is the blog’s name, sometimes the things posted aren’t fancy at all. Could be as simple as a chocolate chip cookie from a store in New York. I really enjoy seeing what other people love.
Image from here.
Question. Favourite magazines?
Response. What a tough question! I have two very distinctive sides to my style and I like to indulge each of them just as much as they’d like. For my modern, trendy, and hip side, Objekt is my definite front-runner. For my classy, tasteful, and elegant side, Architectural Digest is always an enjoyable read. They always have interviews and world-renowned designers and celebrity homes. All the stuff that I love to see.
Question. Where would you like to be in ten years?
Response. I would love to be with Gluckstein Design as a Senior member of their design team. They are a great group of people and I would be lucky to be with them for another ten years.
Question. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Response. My grandmother has a cottage on Lake Simcoe where I spend almost all of my summer weekends. Sitting on the dock, sipping a beverage, listening to music, laying in the sun, and laughing with friends. It really could not get any better than that.
Question. What living person do you admire most?
Response. Cliché to say, but the people I definitely admire most are my parents. My mother has an impeccable sense of style and an air of sophistication. Not to mention that she always has nothing but time for other people. My dad is extremely dependable and always there when you need him. Combined they are the most generous people I know. I strive everyday to be more like them.
Question. What is your greatest extravagance?
Response. I love restaurants! I enjoy cooking and cooking things that I know. A good meal out beats cooking any day! Luckily I have a group of friends that all share in this extravagance with me!
Question. What would you consider your greatest achievement?
Response. I think that my greatest achievement so far would be landing an awesome job in my chosen field for the crème de la crème of the design industry here in Toronto.
In a close second would be actually completing my diploma in Interior Design. It was extremely challenging but had an amazing group of people to fall back on for support and encouragement. I truly believe that none of us would have made it through without the others! I have to give a shout-out to Hoolia, Fraysha, and Alaylah from The Academy!
Question. What is your most treasured possession?
Response. I have a Blue-Masked lovebird names Lotus that I love to death!
Question. What is it that you most dislike?
Response. I most dislike negativity. Everyone always has their less-than-positive moments, but overall I would like to think that I am generally a positive person. I believe that things always have a way of working themselves out and that nothing is ever as bad as it seems on the surface. Sometimes it just takes a while to figure out what positive could come out of something negative.
Question. Where would you like to live?
Response. I really do believe that I live in the greatest city on the planet. Toronto has everything that I could want in a city.
Question. The natural talent I’d like to be gifted with.
Response. Who wouldn’t love to be able to belt out a tune in perfect pitch?!
Isn’t Harrison great? The fact is that he loves what he does just oozes out of him! In speaking with Harrison about his work, I got a real sense of the importance of teamwork and collaborative effort with design concept at Gluckstein Design. The end product of what we, the public sees, is the result of teamwork and a lot of different people’s efforts – which is so important to remember.