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Inside the Home of Vick Vanlian

Interior designer and furniture wizard Vick Vanlian has lived a life that blends the best of the West with the Middle East. Having grown up in Beirut, Lebanon and lived in New York City and Montreal, Vanlian’s travels have given him a cultural advantage over his peers. In this interview, Vanlian shares with us the difficult task of actualizing someone else’s dreams and desires and the delicacy with which he handles the needs of clients. He divulges his design philosophy and details about the design choices he made for his own home. For an intimate look into the life of this design rock star, click through and read the full interview.

WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE GROWING UP?
I grew up between Beirut, New York, and Montreal, and was a very curious kid. Everything artistic interested me, whether it was singing, dancing, music video directing, fashion design, architecture, and, of course, interiors. I spent a lot of time in my room reading, singing, and learning.

HOW DO THE REGION AND ITS CULTURE IMPACT YOUR DESIGN AESTHETICS?
I embrace and recognize the design aesthetics of my culture and consider them to be some of the most beautiful. However, we live in a metropolitan world where there are many other influences that have affected me as well.

YOU HAVE SPENT A LOT OF TIME OUTSIDE LEBANON. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CITY THAT YOU HAVE VISITED OR LIVED IN?
London. I visited London for the first time when I was 18 years old. I felt an amazing energy full of creativity and freedom; I immediately felt at home. Now London is my second home. It’s fascinating to watch everyone struggle to show their individuality when in the Middle East everyone struggles to blend in and follow society.

WHAT DREW YOU TO A CAREER IN FURNITURE AND ACCESSORIES DESIGN?
College was very entertaining. It was where I discovered my creativity, which gave me great confidence and vision. I started working on design projects through my father's furniture shops during my second year at university, which led me to my current path of being a designer.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE PROUDEST MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
Everyday creating makes me the proudest, but what pushed me forward was knowing that my proudest day is yet to come. I always aim higher and higher, and that keeps me very humble.

WHAT IS THE MOST FRUSTRATING ASPECT OF YOUR JOB? AND THE MOST REWARDING ONE?
People come to me to actualize their dreams, and dreams are the most complicated things to translate. This is the most frustrating part, the translation into the design they desire. The reward is easy; it’s a very satisfied dreamer.

WHEN TALKING ABOUT ‘LIFESTYLE DESIGN’, TOPICS TYPICALLY RANGE FROM FASHION AND ACCESSORIES TO VEHICLES, INTERIORS, AND MORE. WHAT DOES LIFESTYLE DESIGN MEAN TO YOU?
Everything and anything; a color, a smell, the bowl you put your fruits in, the sheets on your bed, the color of your car. I think ‘lifestyle design’ is the blueprint of who you are.

WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY?
Be bold. Design without fear.

HOW DID YOU SELECT THE HOME YOU LIVE IN? DID YOU DESIGN ALL OF THE INTERIORS YOURSELF?
I designed my home myself. It was a challenging task to put all that I like and all that is in my dreamy head into one place.

DO YOU SOURCE YOUR FURNISHINGS AND DECORATIONS FROM YOUR TRAVELS?
My travels are a great influence, but I draw inspiration as well from life, my family, my loved ones, and my friends.

WHEN SOMEONE VISITS YOUR HOME FOR THE FIRST TIME, WHAT IMPRESSION DO YOU HOPE THEY LEAVE WITH?
Those who know me would say, " Wow! That is so Vick."

DO YOU BELIEVE IN ROLE MODELS?
Yes, my parents are my role models. They shaped me, taught me to be caring, giving, loving, humble, fearless, strong, and confident. Then I added in the dreamer part.

WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES WHEN IT COMES TO DESIGN?
I have a thing for moving machines, such as cars, trains, yachts, planes, and spacecrafts. Maybe it's a sign that I'm soon going to invent a time machine and revisit all the periods that have inspired me. The first stop would be the Louis XV era in the 16th Century, then the 1920s art-deco scene, the 50s, the 60s futuristic scene, and the 70s. Inspiration also came from my college teachers in my first year, Rached and Arwa. They made me believe that it was possible to fly, as high as I wanted, with determination and faith.

COULD YOU GIVE US A FEW TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE A HOME IDEAL FOR ENTERTAINING GUESTS?
A friendly and positive soul is what you need most. A house is not a home without a warm heart. Also, good lighting equals good mood. Of course a DJ, sexy waitresses, and bartenders are always great for the ears and eyes.

IF MONEY WAS NO OBJECT AND YOU COULD ADD A FANTASY WING TO YOUR HOUSE, WHAT WOULD YOU USE IT FOR? HOW WOULD IT LOOK?
A private spa! It would be nice to come home after a long day at work and have a great massage. Head, hands, and feet – 3 people at once. The spa would have a semi-futuristic feel with walls that are screens, displaying any kind of scenery you could imagine, such as deep forests, the seaside, clouds that would make you feel like you are floating. However, having all this luxury would not make sense if your loved one isn’t next to you. Therefore there would have to be two of everything. Love is the ultimate luxury!



interviewd by NOOR TEHINI|photos: courtesy of VICK VANLIAN

-September 19, 2012

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