PIANO PIANO – Colborne Street – TORONTO

With Nikki McKean

Marina Dempster and Nikki McKean collaborating on carpet installation for Piano Piano Colborne Street
Photo: Christina Gapic Photography

Have you ever met the magical Nikki Leigh McKean? All in one beautiful human lives a Restauranteur, Commercial Photographer, Creative Mindset Coach, Visionary, Lover of Life…. When Nikki told me she had intuitively found a carpet she ‘had to have’ to bedazzle for her new restaurant at 55 Colborne St., I just knew I just had to see what she was on about…a wild embellishment, you say?

To make a wonderful story short we lept into a collaboration that was about so much more than a carpet. Beyond surrendering to an intuitive, intentional and playful process of creating together, I truly wanted to midwife Nikki’s vision and to assist her and her husband Chef Victor Barry in creating an iconic talisman for their new restaurant that would embody their personal courage and brave entrepreneurial vision. So, for a restaurant where ‘Narnia meets the circus’ per se….”Courage, Dear Heart” naturally emerged.

Using materials from each of our studio ‘cellars’, up-cycling off-cuts from previous Piano Piano restaurant creations, and some other magical finds, the literal heart of the collaborative commission is a throbbing and pulsing leather heart pocket imbued with special secret ingredients animating the original carpet. A beautiful ‘Yes, and…’ was our intuitive duo-dynamic, literally hooking, beading and stitching this work together – piano, piano.

I feel this collaboration is symbolic of the truth that every creative act takes courage and trust, beginning with a tuning in to the quiet whispers of the heart begging to be heard, and also seen by one another. And this is not always an easy process – receptivity, belief, effort, perseverance are all necessary, but we can absolutely bring ease, rest, play and joy into the mystery of where a magical carpet ride might lead. If there ever was a place to turn up the volume on our wildest dreams and celebrate them in emboldening company, Piano Piano is the destination.

“Have courage, dear heart, for there is nothing to be afraid of and never has been.”

C.S. Lewis

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