DMTV Milkshake: Connecting to Nature Through Design With Architect Michael Leckie
Architect and entrepreneur Michael Leckie is deeply connected to nature: Rather than locking himself away in his studio, Leckie traveled the world as a young architect, working in Greece and Italy before settling in British Columbia. In 2015, he founded his eponymous studio; he’s also the co-founder of The Backcountry Hut Company, as well as the co-founder of Arcana, “a micro hospitality movement that bridges the gap between urban life and the wild.” (The Leckie-designed cabins are central to the experience of connecting better with nature; they’re currently sold out for summer dates, but keep an eye on their Instagram for news.)
In this week’s Milkshake, we talk with Leckie about a number of subjects, from how multigenerational families can best live together to that favorite question of all young architects: How can they avoid boring jobs? Leckie says it’s as simple as partnering with clients on the same wavelength: “The most important thing in a young design practice – and perhaps in any design practice – is this idea about opportunity,” he says. “It’s the most important currency in many ways: The projects that you take on beget more of that kind of work. Opportunities lead to more opportunities.”
Leckie says his two most exciting current projects are the ones we mentioned at the top: as co-founder of The Backcountry Hut Company and a design partner with Arcana. Both of them seem to connect to his time spent living nomadically – and managing sustainable forestry projects in remote sites across Canada, as well as time doing #vanlife in Canada, the US, and Baja California. With the tagline “Get the kit, build the hut,” The Backcountry Hut Company offers prefabricated flat-packed “modernist recreational structures” for all kinds of landscapes. Arcana, meanwhile, connects guests with experiences in nature: “It’s a hospitality – or micro-hospitality in nature enterprise,” he says. “Really it’s a movement towards human wellness in connection to nature. We’ve designed a series of small cabins that allow guests to engage in science-backed wellness rituals and routines in a natural setting. The idea is really to sort of shift perspective and pull people out of the kind of hurried pace of a modern life, ground them through a series of rituals, and in doing so, really create a wellness routine or regimen that will hopefully stick with them well beyond their time staying on these sites.”
Sound good? To hear more, tune in!
Diana Ostrom, who has written for Wallpaper, Interior Design, ID, The Wall Street Journal, and other outlets, is also the author of Faraway Places, a newsletter about travel.
Milkshake, DMTV (Design Milk TV)’s first regular series, shakes up the traditional interview format by asking designers, creatives, educators and industry professionals to select interview questions at random from their favorite bowl or vessel. During their candid discussions, you’ll not only gain a peek into their personal homeware collections, but also valuable insights into their work, life and passions.