As seen in SNAP Victoria, September 2009
JC Scott is one of the most distinctive designers in Victoria and has been for over twenty-five years. His studio in Fan Tan Alley is home to a range of design concepts from hospitality and commercial design to high-end residential, JC Scott Design Associates tackles them and guides their clients through the entire process. JC Scott’s aesthetics are true to the Vancouver Island look – moments from of all of the best styles throughout history with an emphasis on West-Coast design. His interiors are always warm and comfortable and his exteriors are consistently well-done; embracing their surroundings while maintaining a unique presence in the community. The more I read about JC Scott, I learned how many common interests we share.
Please read on to learn more about this local talent.
Iván Meade – What is your favourite design find?
JC Scott – Today it is Eco-Lux, I am seeking and finding sustainable luxury. For me that luxury is stylish raw food restaurants like Pure, in NYC & Grezzo, in Boston. and products like Judson Beaumont’s use of pine beetle lumber which we are now featuring as trim wood for a beach home.
Iván Meade – Why is it important to you?
JC Scott – Beauty and the environment are what matter most. Beauty has the power to transform; the environment is our greatest challenge.
Iván Meade – How does this item reflect upon your personal design philosophy?
JC Scott –. I feel designers have a dual responsibility to our clients and to the planet through our manipulations of the built environment.
Bon Rouge Bistro [Photograph by Owainski ]
Iván Meade – What was your first experience with design?
JC Scott – I designed my way through university starting with simple crafts and evolving to silver jewellery and graphic design. My brother and I were two of the first hippie craftsmen to sell our work in a public market in Canada. I left university debt free and committed to design with a degree in architectural history.
Iván Meade – Who or what has influenced your style?
JC Scott – Everyone who mattered in design influenced me including but not limited to; Pericles, Bernini, Borromini, Vasari, Soane, Webb, MacIntosh, Sullivan, Wright, Corbusier, Lautner, Erickson, Calatrava, Stark, Hadid and Rashid. The Futurists and Surrealists also mattered as did all the Taoists.
Iván Meade – How would you describe your style?
JC Scott – My style is totally personal and constantly evolving, the only thread is that I always bring some element from the last project to the next, but only I know what it is. I am a facilitator rather than a didactic; I listen, I process and then I produce works specifically tailored to the site, to my clients and to the required design solution. My only constants are quality, personal comfort, holistic wellness and dedication to the planet.
The Point – Residence
Iván Meade – What designers of past and present do you admire most?
JC Scott – The designers I admire most are based on my motto “Redefining Tradition” so it includes the classicists; Sir John Soane for being the first classical modernist, Michael Graves for rebranding it as Post Modernism and Renzo Piano and Carlo Scarpa for keeping the knowledge of classical proportion alive. I admire classical form and try to follow it in my own work, however on the West Coast, organic architectural forms have a natural predominance.
Iván Meade – What do you consider to be your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?
JC Scott – My greatest design strength is my ability, learned through focused and determined Zen studies to adopt the discipline of becoming the empty vessel, ready to listen, to experience and to be filled by my clients needs and desires with an absence of self; my greatest weakness is that I like to fill that vessel with champagne and good wine when we are finished.
Iván Meade – I read that you began your career in Victoria as an artist and graphic designer. Do you still partake in these types of job opportunities?
JC Scott – I still draw, make collages and encourage the arts whenever I can. I always get involved in the graphics for all our commercial projects and still design the odd sign, logo or graphic. Harmony and design integrity are key to success and I see no difference in fundamental principles when I am designing a ring or a resort, a sign or a spa. Form follows function, needs analysis precedes concept development, good planning makes much better results. Quality rules, details matter and proper finish is the only finish allowed to leave through the doors of my studio.
Iván Meade – Where can my readers and I see some of your artwork?
JC Scott – At my home if you are invited. It is my poetry, my personal solitude. I also show at my Annual Erotic Art For Fools Exhibition in Chinatown in the spring.
Iván Meade – What is/was your favourite medium to work with?
JC Scott – Graphite on paper, I find it to be a pure, simple and perfect medium.
Iván Meade – What is/was your favourite subject matter?
JC Scott – Landscape and dreamscape; both are my solace.
Iván Meade – What aspects of graphic design do/did you take part in? (Stationery design, signage, websites, branding, packaging etc. or strictly logo work)
JC Scott – Every graphic form has caught my attention; my most famous work was the second Greenpeace poster ‘Stop the Slaughter’ depicting a seal pup in a blue circle with that text below the image. Brigitte Bardot wore the graphic on a T shirt, Paul Watson wore the graphic as a protest button and celebrity environmentalism was born.
Iván Meade – What books are currently on your bedside or coffee table?
JC Scott – I am featured in Spectacular Homes of the West Coast but I am reading Good to Great by Jim Collins and The Presence Process by Michael Brown.
Iván Meade – What are you excited about right now in the world of design?
JC Scott – Transforming furnishings excite me, I have just researched the latest available furniture that moves with you. It is what I will feature in our new showroom. As a society I feel that we all have too much stuff so anything that can perform more than one task or aid in our ergonomics gets my attention.
Iván Meade – I saw on your website that you are involved in Arte de Loreto which appears to be a retailer of original Mexican furniture and art. As you may know, I am from Mexico myself; could you tell me more about Arte de Loreto and your involvement?
JC Scott – Loreto Bay on the shore of the Baja Peninsula is planned as the world’s largest eco resort community, and I was honoured to be a founding designer and we are building a vacation home and gallery there for myself and my partner, the artist Anita Rydygier. It has been stalled by the recent economic downturn but remains close to my heart as a model project. We promote and sell environmental furnishings and fine art on line plus offering custom vacation home design services. We are very pleased with our most recent completed vacation home at Loreto with a swimming pool shaped like a whale and funky furnishings by Straight Line Designs which have no straight lines at all!
Arte de Loreto – México
Iván Meade – What project has given you the most satisfaction?
JC Scott – The Point, an all glass house at Ten Mile Point for the well remembered Michael Williams’ and Painter’s Lodge, a total retooling and rebuild of a venerable lodge for Bob Wright in Campbell River are tied as being two great projects for stimulating and challenging clients, located in fabulous settings. This is where I find the most satisfaction, by taking on seemingly impossible mandates, like “I want you to design for me an all glass house, with no visible structure, in a seismic zone, which is able to withstand hurricane force winds, which will be ultra modern in style and where I want to furnish the home with only my antiques.” Working with challenges like this at fabulous sites and producing results which meet the demands and result in personal comfort give me great satisfaction. I also enjoy the challenge of creating successful restaurants because 4 of 5 do not last past five years, yet we have a perfect track record which I intend to maintain.
Iván Meade – What would be your dream project?
JC Scott – An entertainment complex at the space station, because I retired from nightclub design after doing both the Commodore Ballroom, Western Canada’s largest club and the Sticky Wicket, Canada’s most successful pub but one can always dream of new frontiers. Short of the weightless atmosphere of the space station I would love to do a Euro-style hospitality complex here in Canada if the laws allowed me. This would be a facility which would run 24 hours a day; first as a small artists’ café, then from noon to midnight as a pub, bistro and restaurant, then from six to two as an adult lounge and finally from midnight to closing as a full-on dance club. I have experienced these places in Italy and Germany, and people of all ages and financial means attend them so why are we so hung-up that we will welcome the world to our Olympics with all the fun of Puritans at a witch burning? It is often frustrating for me to compare my imagination with what we are actually allowed to do as designers here in North America. I don’t want to hurt anyone, I simply want to have fun!
Iván Meade – What is your next design venture?
JC Scott – We have just begun planning a heritage Oak Bay coach house renovation and swimming pool complex addition for a famous mansion with fabulous views for delightful clients, for the public we are opening a new Fan Tan Alley Design Gallery showroom and a webstore.
Iván Meade – Lastly, you have already created a stunning body of work in your own signature style. What would you like your legacy to be?
JC Scott – Happy, satisfied clients, living in comfort on a healthy planet.
I invite you to discover JC Scott work at his website
Ivan Meade is a local designer and principal of Meade Design Group, a multidisciplinary interior and graphic design studio in the heart of downtown Victoria – www.themeadegroup.com