Canadians are spending a huge amount of time at home this year amid the pandemic. As a result, consumer spending at construction stores has increased while many tackle home improvement projects.
“Now more than ever, I think people really value the importance in their homes,” says Vancouver-based interior designer Gillian Segal. The interior expert and BCIT graduate believes design can have a profoundly positive impact on our quality of life.
Since launching Gillian Segal Design, she has built up an impressive client roster here in Vancouver, in LA, New York, and beyond, producing timeless yet highly personalized spaces that are reflective of personal lifestyles. Segal is renowned for effortlessly and glamorously blending the old and the new in terms of design aesthetics.
Outside of running her firm, which offers everything from furnishing and decor, to small and large renovations, to new construction and development, Segal is a mom, the co-founder of Saint Lunette (a design company catered to developers), and the creator of a wallpaper collection with Drop It Modern.
When the pandemic hit, the Gillian Segal Design team worked remotely for roughly six weeks. Today, they are happy to be back at the office collaborating on projects.
Although travel to the US for work has been put on hold, digital client meetings and site walk-throughs are the new normal. “I always prefer in-person interactions, but we have found a good rhythm to accomplish everything we need to remotely,” says Segal.
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To Segal, the concept of “thoughtful design” means tailoring the approach to each client’s unique aesthetic, lifestyle, and experiences. A quote by Charles Eames resonates with the designer: “The details are not the details. The details make the design.”
She explains, “I couldn’t believe in this more. We take care to consider every detail, no matter how small, to ensure each component is executed in a functional, beautiful, and interesting way.”
Living in Vancouver fosters creativity for the designer. “While it may not be renowned for this, Vancouver is full of incredible makers and artisans — I find it so inspiring being surrounded by creative and talented people,” she says.
When and where is Segal at her most creative? She says it’s at the office and in the afternoon. “Once I have had a chance to get a lot of the day-to-day tasks out of the way is definitely my time to focus on creative work.”
Segal feels the biggest challenge and learning curve in her career thus far has been managing a team. “I’m so lucky to have an incredible team of talented designers working with me, but if definitely took me a while to find the right team and understand how to effectively manage them — it wasn’t something we were taught in design school.”
The designer values how she is on a constant learning curve in the interior design industry. She explains, “The industry is always changing with new ideas and technology, and it keeps each day exciting.”
In terms of major decor trends, Segal says she is seeing boucle fabrics, natural and textural materials (like plaster and natural stones), chunky furniture profiles, and a lot of curves.
At the moment, her team is working on projects including the construction of a new residence in Whistler, a large-scale renovation and furnishing project at a character home, a boutique commercial project, and international residential projects in New York and LA, along with furnishing and decor projects.
Each project Segal and her team work on develops its own style and personality. Her favourites are not necessarily the projects with the largest scale or biggest budgets, but rather those in which clients place unwavering trust in their vision and work in partnership with the team.
“Many of my clients over the years have become close friends, and it’s this designer-client relationship that I find so fulfilling,” she says.
Looking ahead to the future of her design firm, Segal hopes to continue to push the boundaries with clients and make their homes as comfortable and as beautiful as possible.