Classic City Living: Keith Rushbrook and Dan Menchions
Iridescent white and lilac purple invades the room. A diamond chandelier reflects through the glass table beneath the combination of zebra-patterned serviettes and a white vase filled with black balls. Pallid chairs sit parallel to the translucent dishwasher with a marbled, glazed white and black-veined top layer, which holds a silver faucet and a large, glossy white ornament that’s shaped like a lamp with thin arms. This is the South Beach Delano Model Suite, a creation of II BY IV Design Associates. “Black and white, timber and natural woods with a high-gloss, lacquer finish defy time and continue to be a 2010 trend,” says Dan Menchions, co-founder and designer of contemporary Canadian design firm II BY IV, which he founded with partner Keith Rushbrook in 1990.
Menchions describes II BY IV’s style as modern – “contemporary with a classic edge” – while still accommodating the tastes of his clients. He has been to some of the most interesting places in the world, including Croatia, Paris, Mexico, New York and Los Angeles., and each destination has inspired magic.
Menchions’ work draws on many world cultures. “You want to create a sense of adventure,” he explains. “You want to bring people through a room and make them travel through the space.” He really likes the European marble look, which consists of a range of fabrics, including stones with extremely thick veining, granites, polished metal finishes or burnished bronzes. “When you go to Europe,” Menchions says, “a lot of those beautiful palazzos and buildings have an eclectic mix of wonderful marbles that have these wonderful combinations in veins. They mix together like patchwork.”
His work also allows you to travel through time, especially through hotel-style designs of the 1930s and 1940s. He notices how hotels’ newest features are balancing out the need for luxury resort living with residential roots. “We are going to have this incredible luxury within the city. People living in hotels, like you would find in the ’30s and ’40s.”
II BY IV is also instrumental in dressing up the Trump International Hotel and Tower, which will debut in 2011, with grace and haute sophistication. Menchions admits that it is possibly the biggest project they have worked on.
One significant project that they have already completed is South Beach, a lavish affair of gleaming spaces and brilliant design. “[At first] you’ll think, is this really Toronto?” says Menchions. “Phase one is completely sold out, and phase two is 50 per cent sold. This project offers a resort-lifestyle, so you’re living the lifestyle of someone who would really be living in South Beach.”