Moodboard of the Month: Indigo Living’s John McLennan

“I sometimes feel that I have been in the design industry for too long and that I have seen everything. Then a new designer comes along and creates newness from something mundane, and this fresh take on things is what excites me most in design today.”

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John McLennan

John McLennan has indeed led a storied career in design. The Vancouver native, based in Hong Kong for nearly 30 years, is the owner and chairman of home and lifestyle line Indigo Living, bringing tasteful interior touches to homes across Hong Kong as well as in China, Singapore, India and the Middle East.

See more: Be my guest: festive table setting ideas from Indigo Living

“Hong Kong has become much more worldly in its taste without losing its unique identity,” observes McLennan of the local market’s evolving design preferences.

“Many local designers have burst onto the world stage in architecture, interior design, fashion and art.”

 

“It has put Hong Kong back on the design map and I hope there will be more support to nurture this local talent. The overused term ‘east-meets-west’ is being turned on its head, and now as the west meets east, the results are stunning.”

See more: Furniture designers Kelvin Ng and Samuel Chan on the next generation of Hong Kong design talent

In between helming the newly-listed company and developing new looks and product ideas, McLennan lends Home Journal a bit of his time to share his creative inspirations as of late.

Describe your favourite colour palette, in-season or otherwise.

In the past Indigo has been known more for its restrained use of colour, but recently, as per our latest look book, more solid, saturated colours have become my favourites. Rich dark burnt orange, mossy forest green and thick inky blues are on my colour palette at the moment, along with antique metallic tones from deep bronze through to tarnished silver. Combine these together and you get a layered visual image that has a feeling of history and providence.

(Photo: Courtesy of Indigo Living)

What's your go-to material at the moment?

Glass never ceases to fascinate me and is my go-to material at the moment. It could be the types of finishes used on mirrors or thick, roughly carved handblown glassware from India. It's such a versatile material and can be as delicate as a champagne flute or as heavy as a whisky glass and in any colour one desires. It's the ultimate reusable material and thus ticks many of the environmental boxes that are important to Indigo and to me personally.

(Photo: Courtesy of Indigo Living)

Favourite travel destination? 

The coastline of the Pacific Northwest of British Columbia in Canada is my number one travel spot. The air is so clean it smells like the forest and the sea it surrounds; it is wild and rugged; the weather can change in a minute; and the people are the most friendly and generous I have ever known. All this and it also has the best seafood in the world. We often go clamming in the morning and pick oysters off the beach and pull up the crab traps on the way back from salmon fishing. A quick trip to the farmers market and a nip into the craft brewery and you are set for a fantastic meal – what more can you want? 

(Photo: John McLennan)

Name a designer or artist who’s been particularly inspiring to you recently.

I recently visited an exhibition at the Puerta Roja Gallery in Sheung Wan by a French artist, Laurent Martin “Lo”. He creates the most energetic but restrained pieces of sculpture I have ever seen, and all from bamboo. The perfect quote to describe the work is that it is a “dialogue between flexibility and resistance that leads us to harmony and peace”.  It is this dialogue between various shapes and materials that is constantly happening in the world of design for Indigo, and the seeming simplicity of Lo’s pieces is what I have been particularly inspired.

(Photo: Courtesy of Puerta Roja Gallery)

What’s the most memorable Indigo Living collection to you personally, and why?

I love statement pieces as they become the focal point in a room and really say something about the homeowner. Every year, Indigo produces a limited edition set of cabinets; this season’s cabinet is a Japanese blossom-inspired design, imagined in a clean, contemporary way. It's a real statement piece for any room. I am also very proud of our in-house designed Pedder collection, which we expand upon every season. The streamlined design of this collection is based on the parallel lines of railway tracks and the grid pattern of the tracks receding into the distance. The great thing is that we design new collections every year, so my favourites are constantly changing and evolving.

(Photo: Courtesy of Indigo Living)

See what’s inspiring other leading creatives in the industry with more from Moodboard of the Month.

Header image and portrait of John McLennan: Courtesy of Indigo Living