The thing with being great or working on creating something amazing out of nothing is that it doesn’t come without big sacrifices. Akin to Spiderman’s most quoted line of all times “With power comes great responsibility,” great designs come with a lot of thought, patience, hard work and in the case of Designer turned Engineer Eric Meloche, it came with a lot of time and personal sacrifices.
A SPECIAL POST: SPOTLIGHT ON ERIC MELOCHE, THE DESIGNER AND ENGINEER BEHIND TWENTY YORK STREET
In fact, it took years not months to complete his first ever fully custom-designed and hand-made two-bedroom urban oasis, a home that reflects the personalities and dreams of the people who live in it. That length of time was a testament to the designer’s unwavering commitment to great design and ultimately, a solid devotion to accomplishing his grand vision. Despite working against time and a very busy and demanding full-time job, he did not compromise on any aspect of his design plan, whether it’s on the big picture or on all the small details, parts that are just as essential as the sum.
Like most legendary artists, he sees something not for what it is but for what it could be.
WELCOME TO THE REAL TWENTY YORK STREET
Located right in the heart of the Byward Market, in the heart of downtown Ottawa, the Twenty York Street home that Eric Meloche, a former Industrial Designer turned Engineer, has created (read about the first time we gave you a virtual tour of @20YS and Eric’s designs here) has been an epitome of form and function. Each piece of furniture is modular with everything perfectly relegated at its place.
He has not only created a city sanctuary that has been such a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of modern urban living but it has also been a prime location for gatherings of hundreds of friends and family for many a special occasion. While it has been a popular hotspot for many years, the warm modern atmosphere has, for the home owners, been a much anticipated intimate homecoming at the end of every day, especially on festive summer days and during gorgeous yet cold and snowy Canadian winters.
INSIDE THE MIND OF A RACECAR DRIVER, INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER AND MECHANICAL ENGINEER
Coming from many technical backgrounds as varied as his number of interests, Eric constantly draws inspiration from his past, his present and every possibility. With a medalled career in car racing here in Canada and in England, finishing first in his category, he seamlessly transitioned into Industrial Design after completing a stint at the Jim Russel Kart Racing Academy. In fact, he’s created an award-winning sculptural piece that has been and still, to this very day, on display at one of the major foyers at his design school. Eric’s designs and concepts are inspired partly by his travels and past experience in auto sports and the auto industry.
Perhaps it has to do with being born and bred in one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, Montreal (nee St. Jean du Richelieu), Eric is constantly evolving and chasing after his passion. Before making a decision to become a (first Aeronautics, then Mechanical) Engineer, he worked as a Sports Journalist and Freelance Copywriter for some of the top print publications in Montreal, Quebec.
A MODULAR MIX OF TIMELESS AND PRACTICAL
Inspired by all that made up his past career, his affinity towards modern furniture, architecture, interior design, accessories, and other resources for modern living runs through every aspect of his life. His finished work, especially the modular furniture pieces, shows an impeccable quality of both materials and craftsmanship. From sourcing special exotic wood from Africa and scouring fabric shops for a very specific type of textile, Eric devotes tens of hundreds of man hours (constantly working on evenings and weekends) to find the perfect material for each of his project.
His keen eye for details, use of mix materials and appreciation of the old and the new is very apparent. So is the individualism that lies at the core of each piece of furniture he designed from scratch.
While there is no doubt that he is brilliant and competently skilled in many different professions and a master in several crafts, Eric Meloche stands out in a way he incorporate timeless designs and practicality. Evidently, he is an ingenious industrial designer who has a clear understanding of using existing architecture and room lay-out before adding new elements that amplify the character and feel of the space.
CUSTOM-DESIGNED AND HAND-MADE FURNITURE
More importantly, he is uncompromising. Perhaps to a fault. Yet, the proof is indeed in a pudding. The final outcome is a spectacular display that embodies every hour he painstakingly devote to each of his project. Like good contemporary designers who can effectively translate the homeowners’ personalities into their living space, Eric knows how to integrate that unique touch.
In an industry saturated with an obscene amount of choices of big box furniture store items, where each living room and bedroom is designed straight out of a catalogue or an online style book, Eric stands by what feels authentic to him. He chose a path not taken by many. As a multi-talented custom furniture maker, he chose to design every piece, except the television and the bar table, seen at Twenty York Street. And that is essentially what makes a good designer, one who is capable of customizing and personalizing each design.
A SHIFT IN DESIGN PERSPECTIVE
It may be easy to pigeon hole this designer based on a certain look – see the subtle Asian-inspired attributes at Twenty York Street, from the expansive living room, to the Japanese style Tatami dining room, from the versatile and fully flexible tetris-like coffee table to the elaborate Kabuki feel of the multi-layered massive headboard in the guest room.
Now that would be way too easy. As a matter of fact, Eric has a wide range of style and feel in his design portfolio that his next master project at his other massive condo is a far cry from the aesthetic and tone of Twenty York Street. While both are blessed with an airy feel and stunning views of the Byward Market at the Parliament Hill, the two couldn’t be more different from the other.
Though we can’t quite tell you how Eric’s next project is going to be, we can confidently predict that it is going to be another masterpiece. It will be stylish, timeless and sophisticated. It will reflect the designer’s taste on high quality pieces.
With time and experience, a true artist learns to appreciate the work of others, as well as his/her own work. Thus this time, we predict that not every single piece of furniture will be custom-designed and hand-made. But each one of them will be carefully curated. Hopefully, with not as much time and personal sacrifices.
More importantly, we can predict that with that maturity and confidence, he is ready to collaborate with other design houses, architecture firms or established furniture stores.
The next phase of his journey, like every other adventure, will be exhilarating. It will be nerve-wracking yet exciting to go beyond his comfort zone and explore where his next design will take him.
In the meantime, let’s take another tour of Twenty York Street, while it lasts.