T H E C I T Y E DI T
DESIGN FOR LIVING Trend trailblazer Arren Williams tells INSIGHT about his go-to décor hot spots. By Yuki Hayashi
“We describe Casa Cubista’s start as a ‘happy accident’ ”
01 C A S A C U B I S TA
hances are, if you’ve got a well-dressed home, you’ve been influenced by Arren Williams’ eye. The British expat has been sharing his urbane aesthetic with Canadians for nearly two decades — first, as a commercial prop stylist; then as design journalist and stylist for top national style magazines like House & Home, Style at Home, Chatelaine and Flare. In 2013, Williams jumped from trendspotting to trendsetting in a two-year stint as the creative director of the home department of Canadian iconic department store Hudson’s Bay. The culmination of his work is now making waves internationally via his own brand, Casa Cubista, a contempo-Portuguese housewares collection that has quickly become a favourite of style-savvy design editors. “We describe Casa Cubista’s start as a ‘happy accident,’ ” says Williams. “My husband [David Pimentel, a co-founder of the company] and I were in Portugal on sabbatical and discovered all these talented craftspeople. Friends introduced us to traditional tile makers who make handmade tiles the same way they [were made] in the 16th and 17th centuries and we were hooked. The business started in the spring of ’16, and now you’ll find our collection in select retailers across Europe and North America, including Saudade in Toronto.” So where does this design-insiders’ design insider go to shop? Here’s the scoop on five of Williams’ favourite shops and boutiques.
Can’t make it to Portugal’s Algarve coast or to Le Bon Marché in Paris to pick up Casa Cubista’s handmade housewares? Shop Casa Cubista online, where you’ll find timeless artisan pieces crafted from cork, terracotta and cotton. “The palette is simple and minimal — an on-trend mix of natural materials, paired with soft white, black and blue, so everything works together,” says Williams. Best part? “Everything is still made here [in Portugal], often by small family-owned producers who are excited to try something new or [to] see their traditional product presented in a contemporary way.” casacubista.com
PHOTO: Courtesy of Casa Cubista