Robyn Bascand, Interior Designer (I MERLI)
With over thirty years of experience, interior designer Robyn Bascand of I MERLI produces residential and commercial interiors that lift the soul, combining the quality of colour, texture and light with intuition and craftsmanship. Robyn's own home, that she shares with her husband and dog, is a seductive mixture of collected antique furniture and modern art. Located in Ohoka, twenty minutes outside of Christchurch, the house's concrete exterior is softened by a hazelnut forest and trailing blossom garden. This play between opposing materials echoes Robyn's serious lifelong hobby of the Japanese craft, Ikebana, which she practices from her home.
Robyn lends her heart and her eye over multiple creative outputs, and it is the combination of these endeavours and her sensibility that attracts us to her. Currently in the process of archiving the local nunnery's Irish linen collection, we caught a moment with the dynamic woman while she positioned hand cut magnolias on her marble coffee table.
Tell us a little about your experience with interior design, the makers and movements you find yourself drawn to.
There is not one day in nearly forty years that hasn’t been exciting and rewarding designing spaces for people to enjoy.
You ask what movements and makers I am drawn to. To define one or several movements is too difficult because I think most artisanal products that reflect dedication to the craft of their maker are beautiful.
My favourite interiors are a mix of the old and the new, contrasts such as contemporary engineered lighting and handcrafted with inlay, antique furniture placed together in a room, highlighting each other. I love spaces where the nuanced details of colour, texture and reflective surfaces combine to complement each other.
What are your favourite parts of the home, and how do these spaces invigorate your daily life?
Each room is my favourite. A lot of my enjoyment of the spaces is about the lighting, artificial and natural.
One favourite area is the long breakfast bar. There is a six-part steel framed big splashback antique mirror and adjacent, a similar splashback to the so-called whisky bar where all our family gatherings happen. There is a lot of love here and of course, reflected light, two large Il Fanale Galileo lights glow down on a polished black galaxy granite bench, and on us.
"The beauty in ikebana is its transitory nature. Like interior design, ikebana is an art form in composition and balance. It’s a study in proportion and space, always taking inspiration from nature."
What is your fascination with ikebana and how did it come into your life?
The Japanese have an approach to art and design that is constantly being refined and renewed. That is true of ikebana too.The beauty in ikebana is its transitory nature. Like interior design, ikebana is an art form in composition and balance. It’s a study in proportion and space, always taking inspiration from nature. As with most Japanese traditional arts, ikebana is immersive and a joy to learn. I love its multi-layered gentle study stemming from the idea of developing a compositional skill inspired by and giving homage to flowers, foliage and a multitude of innovative materials .
What has your experience been with the rug in your living space? Have you noticed any new ways of being in that room?
We love the Nodi rug. The rug’s simple reeded texture is a perfect design to compliment the natural fibres, and the fringe along the sides instead of the ends is an unexpected successful detail. We had not been able to find a rug that did not disturb the balance in the room where the pieces blended. But the Nodi rug, rather than breaking up the balance in the room, has added texture and warmth to this intimate space.