Evolution of Level Studio + a Q&A with Us
It’s our 6th birthday and we’re feeling older, wiser, and more creative than ever! We’ve put together a blog and Q&A to give you a behind-the-scenes look at our interior design company and to answer any burning questions you might have. Check it out to learn about us, and what inspires Level Studio to create beautiful, unique spaces!
Our story begins over twelve years ago when we met as teenagers at a bowling alley where we worked as bartenders. Over time, we became good friends, discovered common design interests, and studied environmental design, interior design, and architecture at OCADU together.
During our studies, one professor recognized something in us and made us feel that we could be “Toronto’s next interior design duo.” Our many travels and experiences together inspired us to start our own company and Level Studio was founded in 2017.
One of our favourite photoshoots to date!
Level’s core mission is to create unique and functional interiors inspired the stories of our clients, and to design spaces with an exciting and enjoyable process while using collaborative design approaches.
In late 2021, we moved from our home office in Vaughan to our studio in Cabbagetown, downtown Toronto. As we settled into our new environment, we began looking for new team members, eventually expanding and hiring Carol in the Spring of 2022, a junior designer originally from Vancouver.
In the summer of 2022, Vinh studied, wrote, and passed the NCIDQ exams which means he is also a registered Interior Designer, along with Luca. This is no small feat because in Ontario (and other parts of North America), the title ‘Interior Designer’ is protected as interior design is not interior decoration.
We enjoy our lunches outside during the summer!
In the fall of 2022, we rebranded and launched a new website.
For the remainder of 2023 and beyond, we aim to continue establishing ourselves as design leaders in Toronto and the GTA and continue to engage with the community through collaborations and partnerships.
As a scalable company, we want to remain boutique, but expanding the team and moving to a larger studio is not out of the question. Life is unpredictable, so you never know what’s in store for us!
Keep an eye out for our Eglinton Loft project featured in House & Home!
Q/A with Luca and Vinh
Q: What is your role at Level Studio?
Luca: Co-founder and Lead Interior Designer
Vinh: Co-founder, Creative Director and Interior Designer.
Q: Walk us through your week. What does a Monday look like vs a Wednesday or a Friday?
Luca: It’s different every week! Some days I’m in the office, and some days I’m at an install, some days it’s a mix of both. On Other weeks I’m out doing pickups and deliveries for our projects. No two weeks are the same.
Vinh: Monday tends to start a little slower as I get settled for the week. I usually review the data and analytics on our website, and reply to emails—that kind of stuff. Around the middle of the week, I provide IT support and work on marketing campaigns with our junior designer. For business owners, Friday is usually a day to clean up and prepare for the next week.
Q: What is your overall design aesthetic? Does the city you live in influence your work at all?
Luca: I love colour! My overall design aesthetic is definitely to use fun, bold colours. I love choosing colours that represent the clients we work with.
Toronto is a vibrant, very diverse and wonderful city that provides a great backdrop for the spaces we design. We do projects across the GTA and definitely draw inspiration from the outdoors and surrounding areas, so Toronto definitely plays a role in the spaces we create.
Vinh: Maximum minimalism. I love designing interiors that are functional yet bold and filled with sculptural work against a neutral background.
Definitely! Toronto has an abundance of new construction and condominium developments. Condos and homes are getting smaller and smaller, so learning how to utilize, maximize, define, and adapt to small spaces is critical.
Q: Is there a moment in your career that stands out that will stay with you forever?
Luca: When Vinh and I first started the company because it was both a risk and a challenge. We were excited and driven to strive for something completely new and fresh, so failure was never an option.
Also, when we moved to our studio in Cabbagetown, we felt like we were really part of the design community and it was exciting to see our team grow. It felt so special because it wasn’t just the two of us anymore.
Vinh: When I failed the NCIDQ exam. I have high expectations of myself and am very detail-oriented so I was upset when I failed the interior design licensing exam. But failing the exam made me stronger because I was able to identify my weaknesses, and passing the exam a second time made it that more special.
Q: If you could work with a dream client, who would it be and why?
Luca: Elton John. He’s fun, lively, colorful, and brave, and his unique personality would definitely reflect his home.
Vinh: Adele. She is funny and has a kind personality. She seems to know what she wants, she has an old soul but a modern taste and it’s reflected in her music and that would translate to her interior aesthetic as well.
Q: Design and life advice for new students, fresh grads or junior designers?
Luca: At school, try to acquire multi disciplinary knowledge and gain practical experience in customer service, retail and the food and beverage industry, such as a server, bartender or a cashier. Conflict resolution and other valuable skills can be learned and acquired early in these positions. It teaches you how to quickly think on your feet, deal with difficult situations and to work on your public speaking skills.
Vinh: Don’t overdo it and overwhelm yourself. Experience is everything, but you can’t and won’t learn it all at once. Identify your passions, focus on them, and focus on learning as much as you can about the subjects you’re passionate about. It’s okay to make mistakes. Be more exploratory, don’t limit yourself, and never stop learning.
Q: Aside from design, what else are you good at? What do you do when you’re not designing?
Luca: I love bowling, socializing, and hosting dinner parties. One of my favourite things to do is to run in warm weather to clear my head and gain inspiration.
Vinh: I am very good at planning events like trips with itineraries. I love socializing with family and friends, exercising and photographing urban landscapes.
We would love to meet you and learn about your projects. Next time you are in Cabbagetown, come find us! Thanks for following along on our journey so far. Live, Laugh, Level.