October 10, 2012

Up Close & Personal: Vick Vanlian

While window shopping in Saifi Village in Beirut, I came across a store that had a funky and eclectic mix of furniture - Vick Vanlian. Nothing in the store is your average piece of furniture and everything SCREAMS "take me home!" The Creative Director and owner of the store, Mr. Vick Vanlian himself, agreed to an EXCLUSIVE interview for My Small Obsessions. I hope you enjoy reading about a very interesting, down to earth designer who I am sure will make it BIG in the years to come! :)

Vick Vanlian

(Mr. Angel Alleyne, the Managing Director,  joined in the interview)

Tell me about yourself
Vick: I am 34 and have grown up in a design atmosphere- my dad is the owner of Galerie Vanlian which has seven branches in Lebanon. Fifty years ago, he was in the bicycle business and one of his friends was looking for  a bed he couldn't find and so my dad made it for him. Word travelled and soon he built a small factory to make all the orders that flowed in. Now here we are! I grew up going with him to the fairs on summer holidays and visiting the factory so design came as a natural thing to me. Three months ago, my partner Angel and I opened our first store, Vick Vanlian, together.

When did you start interior decorating?
V: My first project was in my second year of university and it was a small chalet in the mountains. Back then, I was really inspired by the 70s so it was quite modern. I then opened my own design firm ten years ago.

Why did you open this store?
V: I always used to go with clients or alone to buy items for our Galerie Vanlian showrooms. One day, I was having one of those days and was talking to myself and thought, "Listen, just do it yourself and prove it." I wanted to push the norms and just design anything I wanted, whatever was in my head, anything out there. 

When did you launch Vick Vanlian?
V: We launched at the Milan Furniture Fair this past April and it was a great succes. We opened the store on September 7, 2012.

What do you sell in your store?
V: All the furniture is our own designs. We also sell limited edition Lladro pieces and vintage pieces which we collect: phones, paintings, radios, cds etc 

Angel: The whole shop is about different ideas, old and new, and mixing different materials together

Limited edition Lladro pieces and vintage items

What is so special about your designs?
A: We are really artists. Most designers have a style and they make the same thing over and over. We don't have that. We changed the concept. We will do different eras and many different shapes.

V: Everyone tells me to choose a style but for us, our style is so vast. We don't want to go to your house and say "This is a Vick Vanlian Design". This is your house and its the personal touch that we love.  Style is personal and we don't want to conform to any particular one.

Items from the RE-FUSE collection.
The couch is made of old bicycle tires and pedals and the chandelier is made from old wheels and chains
What inspires you?
V: Everything. Life, Space, the Moon.  Everyday life- we might be playing around with our dogs or seeing a tree. I love communicating with people and the interaction. They give me inspiration.

BEYOND Collection inspired by Outer Space
How often do you put out a collection?
V: We showcase a minimum of 4 to 5 items at the Milan Furniture Fair twice a year. We tend to do a lot of collaborations with other designers.

Nick's favourite piece the day of the interview. "I like change and I have a different favourite piece each day."
 This bed and headboard is made with different materials and is a collaboration with an Italian artist 
Who is your clientele?
V: Vanlian is such a big brand name so we had to follow the same clientele base. They range from medium to high end funky and trendy clients from all over the Middle East and Europe. Most recently, we did a lot of projects in Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Qatar. 

What are your expansion plans?
V: We are planning on opening a store in Dubai. Next year in 2013, we will expand to London after we pick a location and then Dubai will follow. 

Will you expand your product line as well?
V: Everyone has been asking about the shoes from our Private Sessions Collection so in a year we will start producing shoes and bags and other product lines. We will produce something new for each season -for Summer we will have something, and for Winter something else.

PRIVATE SESSIONS Collection which includes side tables and stands that light up. 
The shoes worn by the mannequins are real and will be sold in upcoming collections
There are a lot of fashion elements in your designs. Why is that?
V: I love fashion. It has always been an inspiration and I try to capture its essence. I think design is all one language from fashion to interiors to everything.

Old trunks from the GLOBE TREKKER collection 
What will Vick Vanlian designs do next?
V: We will be visiting Japan next and that should be exciting

A: I am obsessed with kimono silk so we will be visiting Japan to get inspiration and materials for our upcoming collection

Let's get personal! Describe your typical day
V: I wake up at 8:30 am, go for a run, have breakfast and shower then go to work. I first pass by the showroom, then go to the factories, meet my clients on site, go round the showrooms and make the orders for them. I then come back to my store and have design meetings. At 8 pm, I go to the gym and then dinner, movies and bed! 

Where do you like to shop?
V: Milan is the best! Lanvin, Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy and Balmain are a few of my favourites. 

I can't wait to see what Vick Vanlian designs next and I look forward to the Dubai branch! 

Vick Vanlian is located at Bloc D- Shop D1- Saifi Village - Beirut

No comments:

Post a Comment

I look forward to reading your comments :)