Toronto Design Exel Perez designed a winter wonderland at Berkeley bicycle club event venue Toronto.


What inspired you to pursue a career in design?

My path to a career in design has been a bit convoluted. I actually started my professional life as an accountant, which was an interesting job because you get to learn all about different companies and their operations.  Even though I liked it, I always felt there was something missing. When I came to Canada, I decided to focus on my creative side and explore design. This was always something that had been of interest: I remember growing up and decorating the house for Christmas and loving the chance to completely transform my home. I decided I wanted to dedicate myself to making spaces a little more beautiful, and so I began taking courses to develop this other side of me.



In your opinion what skills does a great designer in any field have to have?

Communication. Designing a space is a dialogue, and both the client and the designer need to have strong communication skills to be able to explain their ideas and vision for the space. Of course there are other things like planning, organization and team work that are also important, but without the ability to communicate a vision all of the other skills are useless.


What did you like the most about working on this creative project of designing the venue for the holiday party?

It was amazing to see the final result! Throughout the process there’s always a lot of nervousness: I have a vision, but what if it doesn’t turn out the way I want it to? I was so happy to see what I had imagine become reality.


What are you currently studying and how do you feel it prepares you for a multi- faceted career in design?

I am studying interior decorating at Humber College. The program is great because our teachers are also designers who are actively involved and who bring this practical experience to the classroom with them. We’re learning the tricks and tools that are actually used in the real world and also get the chance to hear about current trends in the market.


There is a cross over in the field of interior design and event design. How do they overlap?

The process for both is the same: you start by meeting the client and learning about their vision, then planning and organizing followed by execution of the plan. Also, the principles of design are universal and apply whether decorating interiors or planning events: you’re always thinking about symmetry, balance, harmony, focal points, etc.



When you first started planning the seasonal decoration of Berkeley Bicycle Club what was your inspiration?

My inspiration was “Winter Wonderland”. Winter is a magical season because it’s a time of year full of celebration. For me, it’s all about memories and reconnecting with those important people in our lives. In my design, I used snowflakes as a principle element because snow represents the fragile beauty of winter. It was also important for me to emphasize the beautiful architecture of the space which, like a snowflake, had all of these beautiful, intricate details.


How do you create balance and symmetry in your decor design?
Repeating several elements helped to bring balance to the design and to tie the different spaces together. Items such as snowflakes, garlands and ornaments were used throughout, creating symmetry. The Berkeley Bicycle Club is a great space because each room has its own character and feel, but it makes it even more important to use pieces that create a flow and continuity throughout so it feels like a single, connected event.


Where do you look to get ideas and references when working on a project?

Usually I start on the internet as there are so many great resources. Sites like Pinterest and Houzz or magazines like Architectural Digest provide inspiration and ideas which can be transformed and adapted to meet my needs. I also love going to art galleries and museums because art created by others feeds the imagination and helps to provoke new ideas.

What did you want the guests to experience when they attended this event?

My goal was to make everyone comfortable while at the same time creating a festive atmosphere—it’s a holiday party so I want it to feel special! The venue was very cozy and warm, and so my decorations were designed to elevate the beauty of the space and give the event a party atmosphere to make it an unforgettable experience.


What are your goals and aspirations for future projects?

My goal is always to impact people and to have my projects change the feeling of a space. I’m constantly working to be exposed to different work and to connect with inspiring individuals. I’ll be continuing to look for ways to work on projects that challenge my creativity and feed my love for design.


What themes and trends are you predicting for the year 2017 in the field of interior design and how will that replicate itself in event design?

Colours are always important in design, and one colour that will be prevalent next year is violet verbena (a greyish-purple). It will be showing up in many accent pieces, both in the home and event spaces. Another trend to watch is detailed grain in wood pieces, which connects with a rustic look that I think will be popular.

Exel Perez

Berkeley Bicycle Club