Décor & Design

This B.C. Design Firm Wants To Connect You With Nature (Win!)

March 14, 2024

Our design-savvy friends at Vancouver-based Barter recently restocked some of their best-selling home accessories, including our fave Grove Candle & Holder Set ($525). The firm’s owner, Kenneth Torrance, began as a celebrated stone carver straight out of high school, but the solitude of the studio drove him to seek community. After exploring marketing and graphic design, he rose to the position of creative director at a leading global product design firm. Despite the shift from isolation, he felt disconnected from his craft. Seeking to reunite community and craftsmanship, he founded Barter Design. Today, Barter collaborates with 30 companies throughout British Columbia, prioritizing partnerships with various artisans, from blacksmiths to woodturners. Kenneth’s current focus is expanding a worldwide network of foragers. We chatted with him to learn more. —Vita Daily

Hello! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.

Hello! I’m an artist, designer, father, and maker. I have a profound love for nature, particularly forests. After graduating from Emily Carr, I spent some time in London working in marketing. Upon returning to Canada, I embarked on a journey where I discovered my mission: to reconnect, as a designer and artist, with the potential of creating a business and community centered around our local materials.

When and why did you launch Barter Design? What niche were/are you aiming to fill?

Over a decade ago, the brand was launched with a yearning and design philosophy to make nature the hero. I wanted to create a company that respected and valued all members within the community and worked as sustainably as possible within the approach. The idea was to make tools for living that celebrated the inherent qualities of the materials. I took an approach of searching for teachers within different crafts to be able to make design decisions within the shop, rather than outside of the shop.

What products/services do you currently offer, and what makes them unique?

Big monolithic wood furniture pieces that will last families hundreds of years. And a range of accessories from candles to bowls playing with the supporting material members such as clay, steel, beeswax, stone, wool, concrete, etc.

Tell us more about your unique business model, i.e., how you collaborate with other B.C. companies and, in particular, prioritize partnerships with various artisans, from blacksmiths to woodturners? How does this work, and what does it yield?

The business model is as follows: we begin by embracing the new and learning from the masters of the crafts. Once we identify the most interesting and powerful tools for scaling objects, we begin to play. Through the process of learning and playing, a by-product is created, which typically informs the new design. Over a decade later, with a greater understanding of materials and processes, we can develop tools much more easily. Consequently, we are open to developing products for anyone or any corporation that believes in our environmental and philosophical design approach. I believe that what we are producing are products and methods that can advance our digital culture to once again become a material culture, establishing a spiritual connection. “We are nature,” and we need to begin collaborating with it rather than merely taking from it.

We hear that your current focus is on expanding a worldwide network of foragers. Can you please tell us more about that?

We believe that if we are creative and connected, seeking the sustainable opportunities that lie within nature, we will be able to create a network across the earth that shares in a vision of bringing true value into the world with things that can last centuries. From anyone. From an automotive corporation who believes their showrooms could be warmer by showcasing the materials of the forest as plainly as possible, or a fashion brand who believes the species and the fragrance connected to them could elevate their brands. So not about foraging materials, it’s about foraging a global community that can work together to fight for sustainability.

Overall, how would you describe your design/decor aesthetic, as well as Barter’s?

My aesthetic is all about surrounding myself with natural materials as raw as possible. Whilst letting the chaos and patina of life fall upon them. Cooking stains, the colors from my children, the natural oils of skin. The patina that comes from my family will be cherished and handed down. The Barter products are designed the same way. Let nature be the hero embracing minimalism, so that the end user, the people, can make them their own.

What are some trends you’re seeing or predicting for the coming months, in terms of design/decor?

More and more corporations are integrating sustainable design into their environments. Given the chaos of the world, I believe that calm and simple geometry holds significant value in soothing the mind. The reality is that the global market is increasingly seeking answers to questions such as: Who produces it? How is it made? Is it environmentally friendly? Is it beneficial for our communities? These are just a few of the inquiries driving demand and the trends that we’re seeing today.

Win! 1 of 3 $525 Grove Candle & Holder Sets From Barter Design!

Congrats Jesse B. of Vancouver, BC, Mollie L. of Mclure, BC and Mikayla G. of Victoria, BC, who will each receive a gorgeous $525 Grove Candle & Holder Set! Please note: if you are the winner, you will receive a DM (direct message) in Instagram directly from @vitadailymedia. Please be wary of fake accounts, which often use similar handles with an extra or missing letter, number or symbol. We will never ask for a payment or for your credit card number, and we will never ask you to click through a link. If you are unsure whether you have been contacted, via Instagram, by us or a fake account, email us before responding.


  1. Mary M

    March 15th, 2024 at 9:32 am

    the den @maryandcedar

  2. Pnina Lutwak

    March 15th, 2024 at 9:55 am

    Living room


  3. Janet M

    March 16th, 2024 at 5:38 am

    Ireally like my living room. @asherares

  4. Julie Y

    March 18th, 2024 at 10:37 pm

    living room @julieeyang

  5. Brittney

    March 20th, 2024 at 3:25 pm

    I love my living room area 🤍

  6. Rose

    March 21st, 2024 at 8:09 pm

    My family room


  7. Anne Tam

    March 22nd, 2024 at 12:32 pm

    My favourite room is my bathroom 🛁 @jcont1234

  8. Xu Li

    March 22nd, 2024 at 10:08 pm

    My bedroom! @xulaing889

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