Creating healthy spaces that tread lightly on the planet: that’s the ethos behind ONE SEED Architecture and Interiors, a boutique firm whose designs embrace the spirit of the West Coast and emphasize the use of natural materials. They’re known for their Passive House projects, utilizing high-performance designs incorporating solar heating, cooling, lighting and ventilation.
Allison Holden-Pope is the Principal of ONE SEED. Having honed her craft as an architect, she says that, once launching her company almost 15 years ago, she was inspired to delve more into the interior design aspect of the projects ONE SEED took on.
“I really wanted to get my hands on all of it, to create flow and continuity from the inside out,” she says, adding “the past few years have brought a lot of reflection on what brings us joy, how precious our time is, and the importance of ‘home’.
“We need a space to feel safe, and one that moves us. Our homes, whatever the size, are a backdrop for our lives and have the power to influence our moods and what we put out in the world. Good design can create a variety of experiences, from awe and drama to calm and sanctuary.”
In providing that sanctuary, ONE SEED applies the latest in technological and design advancements, with Architecture Technologist Teya Vlessides noting those advancements enhance the creative process and problem solving aspect of her work, particularly when it comes to ensuring sustainability in design.
“One of my favourite design styles is biophilic design,” she says “which centres on the human experience within space by focusing on its sensory element. I love its holistic approach and emphasis on connecting occupants with nature by means of views, natural lighting, sounds, materials, and organic shapes. I believe that this style of design resonates easily with its occupants and creates an overall atmosphere of well-being, which has such a lasting impact within our fast-paced society.”
For her part, Architect Hannah Griffiths appreciates the ongoing iteration of computer modeling software that enables the team to test out different ideas and explore space and design concepts in a 3D model, tools they use to push the boundaries of architecture and design in their bid to create the ultimate in durable, functional spaces.
Though ONE SEED is known for a design aesthetic that combines West Coast Modernism and the minimalism of Nordic design, reminiscent of Holden-Pope’s own taste, each team member finds their own method of drawing inspiration for projects.
Vlessides says hers comes from the site and the environment in which the project is situated. “I think that it is so important that this is one of the first elements considered – from both a design perspective and in terms of sustainability. It has a significant impact on siting, overall form, and interior layout.”
Griffiths taps into her travels, her immediate environment and the world around her, while Holden-Pope says hers depends on the story they’re telling with the space they’re creating. “Often I am inspired by daylight and the way it influences our experience of the materials and textural richness,” she says.
As the architecture and design industries continue to evolve, Vlessides says she appreciates its tendency to put industry more emphasis on the flexibility of spaces. “In design, spaces used to be compartmentalized, and it was so limiting.
By creating flexible spaces, we can accommodate how people grow and change, and try to offer solutions that adapt to these changes. It reduces the need to demolish or renovate, which is so critical from a sustainability standpoint.”
In creating those flexible spaces, Holden-Pope doesn’t subscribe as much to trends as she does to personality. “When incorporating an element that is a bit more ‘of the moment’, like a bold light fixture, wall covering, fabric, paint colour, or tile,” she says, “I am not too bothered whether it stands the test of time, if its impact is worth it for our clients and serves the overall concept.
We tend to reserve these design decisions to one or two elements that are fairly easily replaceable down the road, while ensuring the rest of the design is timeless and should hold its own through the decades.”
And, it’s important, she says, to keep options open as the design evolves, “which allows themes to emerge organically. Then we go back and review the design from top down, to pull it together cohesively. I’m not someone who walks into a space or on to a site and has that lightning bolt moment where I know what I want to do.
I like to play with things and think about them for a while. My favourite part of the process is that moment when it clicks, and suddenly the design works and is evocative, and there is a concept that pulls it all together.”