Boutique Design - May 2018 - 33
A project-specific approach to design and
an eye for layering big and small statements
make Toronto-based II BY IV DESIGN a stellar
influencer on the world's hospitality scene.
GiLLiAN JAcKSON ( tOrONtO MArriOt t MArKHAM); JAVier LOVer A YePeS (MeNcHiONS ANd rUSHBrOOK )
BY MAT THEW HALL
Looking ovEr 28 years' worth of projects, it's clear that no aspect of II BY IV
DESIGN's work happens by chance. From the overarching narratives to the
placement of artwork, there's meticulous attention paid to each design decision and how to maximize its impact in forming unforgettable experiences in
hotels, cruise ships, restaurants and residences.
Given that, it's ironic that the firm probably never would have been
launched if fate hadn't intervened in the form of an industry rep who introduced budding young Canadian designers Dan Menchions and Keith Rushbrook in the late 1980s. "For years, she'd talked about how Dan and I should
meet because our work was so complementary," recalls Rushbrook. "Dan was
offered a freelance project and asked me to help him. Even though we sat at
separate desks, when we went over our progress, the sketches were exactly the
same. We had the same vision." When the recession hit in the early '90s, both of
these creatives lost their day jobs. "We thought it was the perfect time to set up
our own firm," observes Menchions.
II BY IV DESIGN's first office was technically in the trunk of Menchions'
Chevy Nova. It was a good thing the founding partners, who are also partners in
life, loved to travel. With just $500 (Canadian) as seed money, they took their
message that design is about distilling the unique essence of the project's "brand"
into its physical form to owners and developers around the world. A lot of face
time and frequent-flyer miles later, Menchions and Rushbrook were able to
translate the success of their first project-the award-winning Sing Sing karaoke
bar in Toronto-to work for such market leaders as Crystal Cruises, Disney
Cruise Line, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Hilton,
Marriot Intl., McDonald's, Nando's, Tishman Speyer and Yankee Stadium.
DAN MENCHIONS AND KEITH RUSHBROOK
II BY IV DESIGN
More than 400 awards later, the partners could sit back, keep up the good
work, play it safe and watch the accolades roll in. That's not their style. The
same unapologetic dash that led to their startup mobile workplace continues
to play out in their management approach. Employees looking up from their
workstations in an open office only have to peek around a half wall to get face
time with the partners. When the 50-strong firm was looking to add another
office (beyond its Toronto design and product studios and its New York location) last year, the duo picked London-yes, post Brexit. Menchions and Rushbrook feel that the size of the UK's design sector (the second largest in the
world) and the need for a larger geographic spread justify the risk. It might not
hurt that several honors on their shelves hail from London-based groups.
The three projects here showcase how that kind of bold decision-making
translates to hotels, hospitality-inspired residential projects and seagoing stays.
Read on for a lesson in how to make uniqueness your only trademark.
1 Touches such as the vibrant mosaic in the Toronto Marriott
Markham's pool area show off new swim lanes for the core
brand's redesign. The property, which opened in March, is the
first newbuild iteration of the flag's reinvention in Canada.
may 2018 boutiquedesign.com