This month's Vignette asks: What else can contemporary design do?
By Cory Schachtel | December 1, 2018
photography Cooper & O’Hara
Painting Rahmaan Hameed Studios; plaster Tuscan Stoneworx; cabinets Gem Cabinets; quartz cabinet top and coffee table Urban Granite; vinyl plank flooring Paramount Flooring; custom mirror TSR Glass and Mirrors; furnishings Park Furnishings; custom soundboard Chris Loo of Lockless Automation
With its Cubist style, all colourless and clean, the current wave of contemporary-design composition may not have crested, but it’s close. You can only do so much with any style, including modern, before the wave starts to break and it comes time to bail.
Navin Sidhu, owner of FabHab Interiors, isn’t trying to jump the shark, but she wants to take a different tack, and she’s carved one out with her Vignette. “The concept of my space is questioning contemporary design,” she says. “Often we see designs that are particular to one style, and they don’t explore how different elements can work together, using different eras, and taking risks. I’m questioning the aesthetic of contemporary modern design.”
The result, at a glance, is mostly modern. Except the vintage rug. And the champagne gold cabinets. There’s also the oversized, flared plaster picture frame bordering the street-style mosaic of Jay-Z, which, if you close one eye and cover with your thumb, you’ll still see reflected in the side mirror, staring at you, questioning.
“If I proposed this idea to someone, they’d probably say no,” admits Sidhu. “But when you actually see it all together, it works well. Plaster is centuries old – the pyramids have plaster – and I love pairing it with something ultra modern [the painting] . And the cabinets are gold – which, again, isn’t an easy sell – but it’s such a beautiful, subtle, champagne gold that adds a bit of luxury.” It all makes for a cool, comfy basement feel – dropped ceiling included.
Of course, no one wants to hang out in a basement without beats, but a mundane speaker system wouldn’t work. So Sidhu got Chris Loo of Lockless Automation to construct an interactive soundboard to control the aural atmosphere. Instead of buttons and knobs, a series of LED lights twinkle atop a podium, over which you can hover and swipe up and down for volume, left and right to fade, or in a circle to change tracks. While she thinks the current design market is becoming saturated, Sidhu’s vignette shows it hasn’t reached maximum modern… yet. There is still space to innovate, to try new things and add ideas from any time and place. Sometimes all it takes is a new perspective. “When you go to Paris and see what ‘modern’ is, it’s so different than what it is here,” Sidhu says. “We pigeonhole ourselves. Everyone does it, but it’s just an idea, a concept that I’m trying to explore, which is what’s great about Vignettes, because I can do this and people will see that this is modern, but it’s not what you see every day.”