If you love design and decor, and you strive to be a professional designer for a new home or condo builder, it doesn't get much better than Tridel – one of Canada's largest developers and builders of condominium residences. With more than eight decades and more than 85,000 homes, title of the 2019 Ontario Homebuilder of the Year from the Ontario Home Builders' Association, and now a high tech showcase in downtown Toronto at Ten York called the Innovation Suite, well... Stella Salvador, Principal Interior Designer, has indeed reached a pinnacle.
We spoke to Salvador for her thoughts on this latest milestone project, and her other expert design and decor insights.
Let's start with something very recent and top of mind – the Innovation Suite at Ten York. Clearly, there's some very impressive home tech on display there. What is the ultimate objective in displaying this technology? Purely as a showcase, or to educate buyers on what's to come, or…?
We used the Ten York suite as a design lab where we could experiment with various innovations in design, construction and technology. There is a push and pull of design elements, and technology is now another element that needs to be incorporated thoughtfully into suite design. The intention behind the Ten York suite was to create a modern suite with connectivity, comfort and convenience, while seamlessly integrating technology into our design. We're using smart technologies more in our communities and we wanted to integrate this directly into our suite to find even more conveniences and enjoy new luxuries, while also introducing new opportunities to build community and connection with the rest of the building's residents and amenities. The interior design elements are taken to a new level in the planning, use of space, lighting, furniture, finishes and fixtures. There was a significant amount of research done before selecting the features, so now that the suite has come together, it's very exciting to describe the design. The Ten York suite is actually our fourth innovation suite, so far.
How soon might we see some of these features be offered as upgrades at Tridel projects?
Many features can be easily incorporated into our available suite options, while other design items will still need to be reviewed with our teams to ensure we can provide the detail efficiently before being offered as a personalization option. Some features which may be more complicated likely won't be offered, but we would still try to accommodate in the homeowner's suite design if requested.
The future of condominium living on display at Tridel’s Innovation Suite at Ten York
Hines Canada and Tridel achieve Toronto's first condo LEED Platinum Certification for Aqualina at Bayside
Outlook 2020 – Samson Fung, Vice-President Marketing, Tridel
Will they be offered as upgrades only at Tridel's high end luxury projects and suites, or will they be rolled out across the board?
Homeowners can determine what's important to them regardless of suite level. Some features may do well in a larger square footage, and other details would work well in any environment. If it's possible to implement within the homeowner's suite design and layout, who are we to limit their design vision?
What will be the pricing structure for these upgrades?
If they are offered as personalization options through our design studio, then the item will be systematized into our catalogue and made available during design appointments at The Lobby with our design services team. Our teams will assemble all the necessary steps required.
The flooring technology is interesting, especially given the current pandemic, in that it functionally helps clean the air inside the suite. How might concerns for cleanliness and air quality drive demand for other home tech features going forward?
Good design is about the wellness and benefit of people, and making your home work for you. We set the stage with calming natural biophilic elements to bring the outside in where we highlight the amazing views of the lake and city from the 68th floor, the natural patterns of the oak cathedral grain wall paneling and the bold veining in the marble. Using innovative wood flooring to improve the indoor air quality is so critical for wellbeing. The voice-activated features offer comfort through accessibility, allowing for ease of use with lighting, sound shade control, and even turning fixtures on without even pressing a button. The kitchen faucet operates by gesture, so no touch is involved to turn the faucet on or off.
Generally speaking, what are some of the larger design trends you see happening at the moment?
The design of wellness really speaks to me. Using more sustainable and natural materials, layering textures and matte colours that give a sense of beauty and comfort to those that occupy it. Design doesn't have to be laid out like a textbook, but it must be personal as our homes are used as our own sanctuary.
People aren't interested in specific trends but rather a timelessness style. And style is equal to lifestyle. They are mixing vintage with modern, mixing metals and including matte black.
And where do you see things going, say, in the next three to five years? More luxury? More convenience and automation and smart tech? More "healthy living"?
We're looking at a laid back and livable luxury with comfortable and relaxed spaces curated for the personal needs of the homeowner. Luxury comes from the quality of lifestyle. With so many sources of design images for inspiration, people want to create a unique space for them. It's no longer a one-size-fits-all approach. Technology and smart home features will continue to be thoughtfully implemented. As the population ages, it becomes very real the need for universal design that is well designed.
You've been at Tridel for more than 15 years. How have new condo design and decor elements changed in that time, – such as the trend to smaller suites or new consumer demands?
Condo design has always been about thinking outside the box and an intelligent use of space. There are considerations to condo design that are universal, regardless of size, such as maximizing your space and your storage capability. Sustainable and smart home features are becoming more popular as they become more mainstream.
What has been the single most significant design and decor improvement or change you've seen in your years as a designer? Cultural influence, new materials, consumer demands, home tech, Green living?
Forget preconceived notions. Design is driven by what is important to you.
What's the next great design or decor feature we're going to see from Tridel – outside of the Innovation Suite?
We have a culture of innovation because we know innovation equals growth and opportunity, so we're always trying new things. Right now, we are working on expanding our suite of smart home features, Tridel Connect, and its capability for ultimate connectivity for the community.
And on a personal note...
My greatest inspiration in the design world is:
One of my influences is Italian renaissance architect Piero Lissoni. He always inspires me when I have a chance to hear him speak or view his work. The culture of design is loosening up and tossing out traditional rules of what makes a space effective. The focus is more of a humanistic approach rather than following trends.
If I wasn't an interior designer, I would:
Still be part of the building industry in some way. I have been influenced by architecture from elementary school and creating meaningful spaces is the purpose I have always envisioned for myself.
When I'm not at the office, I'm:
Enjoying spending time with my favourite people – my husband and three children and travelling together when we can. Those opportunities create wonderful memories that I treasure. I learn so much from them and their perspectives!