Brian Gluckstein stood in the doorway of his campus at Ryerson University, wondering where his newly acquired BA in interior design would take him. Fast-forward two decades from then, and he is the mastermind behind Gluckstein Design Planning Inc. – one of the most sought-after design companies in the GTA.
“I worked for a small design firm in the city and then a few years after, I opened up my own firm,” Gluckstein recalls of his road to the top. “Some very important architects and art consultants have recommended me to some of Canada’s most important families and it just started right away.”
Today, his company employs a talented group of designers with extensive international experience. They offer a complete range of upscale interior design, planning and project management services to residential and corporate clients, residential developers, as well as the hospitality and leisure industries.
The firm’s design work extends to the design of custom furnishings and accessories, rugs, china and tableware, as well as stationary and signage.
The Power of Word Of Mouth
When asked about his success and professional accomplishments, however, Gluckstein chooses to remain modest. “Staying in business this long is probably my biggest accomplishment,” he laughs. “There is not one project that really stands out as sort of your milestone in the business. I think that each one propels you to the next.”
He explains that his company relies on its excellent reputation and word of mouth to find new clients – something that must constantly be upheld, motivating him to work extra hard on every project he takes on.
“When people see current work, it stimulates new people to hire you. I always think that what we are working on currently will bring more work after that,” he adds. “Its evolution, but all of our work is word of mouth, so most of the people that call us know someone that has worked with us in the past, which is the best thing.”
Gluckstein has had the pleasure of designing for some of the world’s most famous names, in addition to handling the top condominium projects in Toronto. His resume also includes the prestigious Windsor Arms Hotel and the Avenue Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto.
Great Design is More Than Just Following Trends
Gluckstein Design Planning Inc. employs both traditional and modern design styles. The firm aims to create timelessness and cleanness to every space by mixing bits of modern flair into traditional spaces, and vice versa.
“I think great design has longevity to it,” Gluckstein explains. “There is a difference between great design and fads. I think we definitely see a lot of trendy spaces or fads, and that’s fine in a space that may be demolished quickly. So it might be fine for a presentation centre or a retail space or a restaurant that, maybe, has a five-year life. I probably wouldn’t do it in a space like a private residence or the common areas of a condominium where they are going to have to last a long time.”
He believes that great design never goes out of style, citing a book by a California designer in the 1950s as an example. “I was looking at book on a designer named Michael Taylor,” he recalls. “I was showing some of our designers the spaces that he designed that looked just incredible. Just very inspirational space. Traditional space but very light, very beautiful.”
“And then I opened up the book in front of everybody and said ‘I love these spaces, aren’t they beautiful?’ and they said ‘Oh yeah, they’re really cool, they’re beautiful.’ So I said, “Do you realize those spaces are 50 years old? Well they could have been today!’”
Gluckstein’s theory is that great designs can truly last forever. He believes that the only reason homeowners may want to redesign such spaces is because they have lived there too long, rather than the design growing out of style.
He states that a traditional design dating back to the 1920s can still look fresh today with the addition of a few modern pieces. His passion for traditional architectural details allows him to integrate classical designs into the most modern spaces, resulting in a clean, sophisticated design he can be proud to put his name on.
In fact, his own home shows off a blend of antiques mixed with contemporary furniture to complement the traditional architecture of the house. True to his work, you can see a few modern pieces throughout.
“It’s like a woman wearing a beautiful, simple Armani dress with a broche or a necklace that’s from the 1920s,” he explains. “You look at that and say, ‘Wow! That’s such an incredible piece!’ It’s how you use them together to make it sophisticated and current.”
If he moves, Gluckstein …