Splyce Design’s Nigel Parish relentlessly subtracts. “The majority of our work is reductive to expose the harmony between the interior space and the natural elements of the site,” says Parish, this year’s Interior Designer of the Year. “Things like views are privileged over competing interior decor.”
As a designer trained in architecture, Parish, along with his team, has been designing all aspects of the home since he started Splyce in 2001, taking into account everything from the clients’ evolving needs to the homes’ outdoor environments. “Our lives are so busy and crazy and hectic, so I really strive for spaces that can calm you,” says the Vancouver native. “A thoughtfully designed and tailored space has the ability to inspire, engage and ultimately improve the quality of life of its inhabitants, whether that be through a certain quality of space, or a calibrated window that is purposely positioned to frame a beautiful tree.”
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Parish’s meticulous design made him a standout in the competition this year, as judge Kelly Deck explains. “Splyce masterfully details their modern interiors,” she says of the first-time applicant. “Nothing is overlooked: the relationship to the site, the transitions, the use of natural light and overall functionality are exquisite.”
Instead of focusing on accessories and fabrics, Splyce leaves its mark with calculated details like narrow reveals that separate walls from floors instead of crown moulding, recessed roller shades that don’t interfere with the view, millwork that conceals hidden kitchen appliances and pass-throughs to playrooms, open-riser staircases that transport skylight rays to every floor, and rooms that bring the outside in at every opportunity.
With each project, Parish carefully considers the views, the topography, where the neighbours are located and whether or not they’ll need to screen them out—and, therefore, where the windows should be placed.
This outside-in philosophy is perhaps most pronounced in Splyce’s Russet Residence in West Vancouver, where the home’s dining room floats—seemingly independent of ground and house—in a panorama of forest canopy. To leave the site’s natural creek bed undisturbed below, the second-floor dining room was projected 15 feet past the foundation, cantilevered into the woods with glass panel walls on three sides, joined together not with window frames, but small black strips of silicone. “We really wanted the space to dissolve into the forest,” says Parish, “so you don’t read any division between inside and outside.” Even the light fixture was pared down to enhance the view, with Parish opting for a single chrome piece that virtually disappears when looking at the room head-on.
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In every Splyce interior, the outdoor environment is considered part of the colour palette—the natural tones of tree leaves and woods are pulled inside, either through views or as millwork and materials. Splyce’s spare and purposefully quiet spaces often play monochromatic, with Parish favouring white for the walls because it captures light and shadow so well. “Having really clean spaces gives further emphasis to the surroundings,” says Parish. “We really look at a lot of detail—it’s the sum of all those details that really speaks to you at the end of the day.”