Designing a Work Life Balance

with Carla Zacharias

by Jessica Antony – April 30th, 2019

Winnipeg-based designer, Carla Zacharias, is the creator of two new EQ3 collections: the simple, geometric Alfred Vessels and the soft, woven Desert Linens. We spoke with Carla about her background in design, her inspirations for these collections, and how her work-life balance informs her design philosophy.

Education

Having always been intrigued by both design and creating things by hand, it is perhaps no surprise that Carla chose to pursue a career in interior design. Her fascination with “how the atmosphere in a space evokes feelings and how furniture makes you experience a space” lead to a degree in environmental design at the University of Manitoba. It was design at the smaller scale, in particular, that inspired her choice of career path, she told us.

Having always been intrigued by both design and creating things by hand, it is perhaps no surprise that Carla chose to pursue a career in interior design. Her fascination with “how the atmosphere in a space evokes feelings and how furniture makes you experience a space” lead to a degree in environmental design at the University of Manitoba. It was design at the smaller scale, in particular, that inspired her choice of career path, she told us.

Good design takes into account environmental and social awareness.

Design Process

While her collaboration with EQ3 on the Alfred Vessels began with the call for a unique series of ceramic vases, it was spending time mapping out ideas in her notebook that really got Carla’s imagination and creativity flowing in creating these sand-coloured pieces. “I wanted the design of the vessels to stand on their own as beautiful objects,” she said, “but also have functional uses.” After roughly sketching out her ideas, which at first “never look pretty,” she began to refine her ideas and model the vases using 3D software. She sometimes mocks up an idea using whatever materials she has on hand to get a better sense of scale and then, between that and the 3D models, working drawings are produced from which a design sample can be made.

Her process for the Desert Linen collection was much the same. After thinking about how a table is usually set, how people interact around a table, and what makes a table inviting, Carla decided she wanted to emphasize softness in juxtaposition to the hard surfaces and materials of the tabletop and serving ware. “I wanted to make sure the designs remained soft and tactile,” she said. Creating a design that was woven into the fabric itself was important to her, as was having various fabrics together on the dinner table. “It is charming to me,” she noted, “and has that ‘unformal gathering’ feel, so I developed a collection that allows people to mix and match their linens.”

It’s this mixing of colours and patterns that Carla both enjoys in her designs and finds that many people tend to be somewhat apprehensive toward, noting the fear some people have of pairing items that don’t ‘match.’ “People are always asking me if they can pair light woods together with dark woods in their spaces,” she said, “I don’t get why people are so afraid of this.”

While pairing items in a space may take some practice, or at least confidence, Carla’s general rule for good design itself is multifaceted. She explained that “good design takes into account environmental and social awareness.” Furthermore, “good design uses materials to their best capability, manufacturing techniques that respect our environment, has function, has a purpose, and isn’t an object that becomes obsolete,” she noted. The answer to what makes good design is one that “will be ever changing as our environment and society changes.”

Carla said that she finds “having a life of balance allows inspiration to flow more freely,” which for her means a combination of travel, spending time with family, shopping for fabrics or design inspiration, and spending time in nature. Winnipeg’s relatively low cost of living allows her, like many Winnipeggers, the opportunity to experience other parts of the world, especially tropical locations that help break up the long, cold winters.

Despite the need to get away from time to time, Winnipeg is a place that Carla is happy to call home as she enjoys its “unique culture of food, art, music, and community.” Winnipeg also has a small-town feel, where “everyone is connected through someone, making networking simple,” she said. While it isn’t necessarily the city itself that inspires her design philosophy, much like her propensity for mixing and matching, it’s all of the city’s elements working in tandem that spark her creativity.

Subscribe to our Mailing List

Follow Us

Share This