Phonse Clarke brings magic to a room. As the owner and TITLE of Design Network, his thoughtful eye and talent for décor and display transform spaces from “drab” to “fab”. Clarke and his team take into consideration lighting, fabrics, signage and everything in between that add to the ambience of an event. His team proves that with the right environmental expression, the appropriate tone can be set.

Clarke has more than 25 years of experience, yet in his youth, a career in décor was not what he thought life would bring. That stated, for his own high school graduation, Clarke had created the set design and décor, and that proved to be a foreshadowing…

BC-born and raised, Clarke obtained a communications degree from the University of Hawaii, majoring in television production (the early plan was to pursue a career in advertising).

After his return to Vancouver, Clarke worked for the retailer Woodwards on the famous displays and windows, which is where he held his first official role doing visual presentations. At the same time, for fun in his off hours, Clarke did set decor for various theatre productions. Certain that display and design was his calling, Clarke returned to the classroom, this time at BCIT, where he took classes in interior design.

While he was a natural at it, after working in the interior business for a few years, Clarke determined he did not want to be an interior designer, so he dabbled in the movie industry doing freelance set décor work for various productions. Things changed when Clarke assisted the Pan Pacific hotel and did their first-ever Christmas decor installation. The transformation of the new hotel space into an environment of holiday bliss was so well received it was featured on the cover of Vancouver magazine! After such a successful beginning with the prestigious hotel, Clarke’s first big event gig was also for the hotel. Clarke created the set and room for the prestigious AAA Five Diamond Awards. The event was a complete success, and it launched Clarke’s career in a big way to many more national and international events. Clarke considers that first event with the Pan Pacific to be one of his most satisfying career moments.

“I am proud of my first big event, because I had no experience and only a vision which I ultimately carried out,” he says. “The experience provided me with an early lesson in life that all you need is a vision and a goal to achieve success.”

While making every project something to be proud of (even when budgets are low) it was from that pivotal event at the Pan Pacific Hotel that Clarke’s reputation snowballed, and in the past 25 years he has gone on to do numerous influential, high-society and prominent events. More recognizable events include the CEO of Canada Awards, the Gemini Awards galas, the Cornucopia Festival, Forbes Top 100 CEOs Gala dinner, the Vancouver Board of Trade Governors Banquets, and many, many more.

Of the myriad installations and displays he has implemented, Clarke is “most proud of the fact that so many of my clients have been longtime satisfied customers for more than two decades, and that I have made so many friends along the way.”

When not working, Clarke composes music, skis, swims, travels, and renovates his house, located in the wild climes of the North Shore up Indian Arm. When he puts up his feet, which is rare, he enjoys time with his family and friends, and Loresten, the best cat in the world.

© 2009 designnetwork.