We sat down with Jessica MacDonald from Studio Roslyn, a full-service interior design studio in Vancouver, British Columbia. The award-winning studio specializes in developing considered design solutions for built environments across the milieu of commercial, institutional and residential spaces. Jessica speaks to her design process, tips for anyone wanting to enter the industry and shares her sources of inspiration.


Tell us a little bit about yourself & your work?

Studio Roslyn was founded 6 years ago in Vancouver by Jessica MacDonald (myself) and Kate Snyder. We are now a team of 7 with team members in Edmonton and Montreal. We are all extremely close and supportive of each other. You spend so much time with your work family so a positive, healthy workplace culture has always been most important to us. Our unique design ethos and approach follows second to that. Our opening title sequence would read Studio Roslyn: Refined Maximilism.

What are you excited about at the moment?

We are very excited about a few of our residential projects at this point. There is a house in North Vancouver in particular, where we have taken on the building design as well as the full interiors for the home. Our clients have been eagerly pushing the status quo along with us - experimenting with atypical form and materials in a very fun way. Purple brick and curved windows makes an appearance; I won’t say too much more.

Who do you look up to in store design?

India Mahdavi’s studio has always been a huge inspiration to us! Kate and I also had the pleasure recently of seeing the Bode New York store in person. Green River Projects designed the store; The store so perfectly embodies the ethos and spirit of the eclectic Bode fashion brand it houses.

3 brands you use for work that you are loving at the moment?

1. Pierre Frey Fabrics
2. Rubelli Fabrics - the recent collab with Luke Edward Hall is drool worthy.
3. Wood Wool - we are loving this sustainable product as of late and the amazing colour ways they offer.

What’s an interesting piece of advice for your work, that you couldn’t live without?

Have a sense of humour and don’t take yourself to seriously! A playful approach to design is the best approach : )

Has there been a recent mistake that you’ve learnt a lot from?

I would say that we’re learning more and more how to critically assess a project and whether we are the right fit as a design partner. Our most successful projects are always the ones where we’re well aligned with our client, and so we carefully seek this out.

What are the 3 most important things to consider when designing a retail or hospitality space?

1. Consideration of business operations is first and foremost!

2. Design a space that evokes a positive feeling and connection with the users.

3. Way-finding + customer circulation and flow.

What is your approach colour when designing?

We tend to pull inspiration from many different areas such as film, fashion, art etc. Unexpected colour palettes naturally come from these mediums.

What is something that often gets overlooked in spatial design? 

1. Purse hooks in restaurants!

2. Signage - this requires its own permitting and process sometimes as well.

3. Acoustics (wood wool is a great product for manage the noise levels in a space).

What would you tell someone wanting to open their own hospitality business?

Do your research! Talk to peers in the industry. Ask the tough questions about permitting, construction budgets etc.

How important is signage in store design?

Wayfinding and signage is one of the most important elements in the design of a store! Customer experience and circulation should always be carefully considered.

Looking at the George & Willy website, what is your favorite George & Willy product?

I love a good blade sign Your street presence is everything!

Words by  Jessica MacDonald

Studio Roslyn -  Vancouver BC
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