With recently completed projects for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and an ongoing relationship with developers Urbandale and Happy Goat Coffee Company, Candice Wei and Mark Sanchez are in demand. The busy duo, who founded Wei Sanchez in 2017, talk about design, dream clients — and dogs.
On style: We aim to embody the idea of purity in our design. We like to use materials that aren’t expensive but are honest, to allow them to speak for themselves. Concrete, for example. We put a huge amount of emphasis on natural light.
Dream client: That’s definitely someone who is really passionate about their project. When we meet clients who want to be a part of the design process, then we can really build a relationship based on trust. It’s very rewarding.
Recent projects: Our project for the CNIB at Lansdowne was unique in that aesthetics were not the primary driver: end user experience and function were even more important. We needed to find a way to help the users of the space feel connected to it in ways that didn’t rely on sight. One way of doing this was to use tactile finishes such as wall coverings with raised designs and tiles in the kitchen, which referenced Braille in an abstract way.
We aimed to create a space that balanced the visual with functionality but didn’t have an institutional feel. We also designed Phase 1 of the CNIB kennels in Beckwith. There, we tried to understand what a dog really needs — so there are heated floors throughout and lots of natural light. There are a lot of full-sized doors and windows to the outdoors.