Community Fits With Clint Moroz

Community Fits With Clint Moroz

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Space Lab, the shop of Hi-Fi audio enthusiast and vintage connoisseur Clint Moroz. We discussed his journey as a business owner, the evolving trends in interior design, and his diverse taste in what constitutes good design. 

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Upon stepping into Clint's shop, tucked away on Hastings Street, we are immediately enveloped in a world of vintage charm. Clint, ever the gracious host, begins our tour of Space Lab. The shop is a sprawling space, brimming with meticulously restored vintage lamps, chairs, coffee tables, and an impressive array of vintage speakers, each piece a testament to Clint and his team's dedication to detail.

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At first, the sheer volume of items is overwhelming, but soon, the shop's allure takes hold. Each item demands attention and as we wander through the labyrinth of relics, we discover something new with every glance - pieces that seemed to materialize out of nowhere since the last moment we looked. Clint's shop is more than a store; it feels like an interactive museum, where every object has a story, waiting to be told.

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Ricardo: So I keep hearing that you’re THE speaker guy in Vancouver.

Why? Do you need a system for your house?

Ricardo: No, no, I am mostly just curious. I mean look at this speaker wall, it's unbelievable. How did it all start?

The Wall is its own thing that we did several years ago. I had a good amount of speakers laying around and we made one at the old [shop] location that was only 8 ft high and 14 ft long. Once we moved here, it was determined that we needed to sacrifice more speakers to the Gods of The Speaker Wall. A lot of them are here due to repairs and are not sellable and some of them are extremely sellable; but the visual aspect of the wall is worth its weight anyways. It’s tough to replicate. I sold a similar wall to a coffee shop in Whistler when they asked for a smaller version of ours.

Ricardo: Is it a nightmare to put one of these together?

It took four of us three days to put the one in Whistler together. You know, it needs to look slightly random but still be stable. Every speaker is a different size, there’s nothing consistent in any shape or form; it’s all random. So we’d build a bunch, take it apart, somebody will say “I don't like the way that looks”, we take down half of it again, put it back in place. But in the end it all just comes together.

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Ricardo: What were you doing before you got into vintage?

I managed construction companies. I’ve worked across three continents doing construction. I used to manage a company in Alberta and I also have a customer experience background; but I’ve always loved audio. That was always my personal interest so I opened up a store and the funny thing is that when you start buying stuff for your own shop, people will start showing up to try to sell you their stuff; it’s really strange.

So I started buying audio because of my love for it but a lot of dealers that would sell me equipment would also ask if I wanted things like antique dressers, and that’s how I started collecting everything else. I do 95% of my business with the film industry and as they started working more and more with us, we expanded.

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Ricardo: When you first started, how much of this stuff did you already have?

None! When I started my first shop was a 316 square foot space. I was trying to find holes in the market and at the time, everyone was buying teak; everything was mid-century modern, every store was buying the exact same shit. Listen, I like that stuff too but I also like industrial design and I don’t like design for the sake of just designing something. I like problem solving and utility. Vancouver was really bad for that. Everyone had a teak desk, teak sofa, teak coffee table; everybody's place looked exactly the same. So with my first shop I just tried to deal with stuff that nobody was competing for. Other people obviously sold audio but it was an area in the market that a lot of the store owners had no interest in; and my idea was to have things in the store that I was personally familiar with and that they didn’t care too much about. Then of course, everything else started coming in: Lighting, furniture, and even a couple teak pieces!

Ricardo: Have you felt that we’ve now shifted away from mid-century modern?

Oh fuck that shift has been happening for 10 years!

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Ricardo: Oh what, really?

Oh yeah, I mean even The New York Times wrote an article about what trends are ‘dead’ and Mid-Century Modern was one of them but I think there is always going to be a demand for certain quality of any period. Nowadays a lot of things sort of look MCM; even IKEA stuff all looks MCM or Bauhaus. I think people have just been looking at the same stuff for the last 15 years and got a bit tired. You go to many antique stores that are around and many of them are MCM but now a lot of the pieces they carry have cheaper alternatives with a similar flavour.

Clint, Maya and myself get distracted by the giant Motel sign in the middle of the shop as he powers it on to show us.

As I said, I do most of my business with the film industry here in Vancouver. You know, a lot of the things in here would never go into someone's home so I am currently in the process of changing a lot of it over to cater a bit more to the average customer.

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Ricardo: Do you find that this is more of a “people-forward” business? Like, you have to convince them a bit?

You know what's funny, I find that I need to talk to people a lot more when they are buying in the low-to-mid range. I had a guy come in recently that was interested in a $12,000 turntable. He took a quick look at it and I asked him if he wanted a demo. “No, it’s all good. I'll take it.” The more expensive the piece, the easier it is to sell. It's the more affordable stuff that takes some effort. What I love is for people to come in, have a beer or a glass of wine and just walk around. There’s no pressure here. I just want people to spend some time in the shop and find something that is perfect for them. I think selling is an inherently aggressive situation. By nature, selling is aggressive; it's overt. If you can make it passive, it becomes a lot more enjoyable. It’s almost like playing with a cat; if you try to convince a cat to play with you, it will immediately put it’s guard up. I’ve tried to create a much more casual and passive environment here and if you have any questions, then come find me!

Ricardo: Do you have a favorite piece in here?

People always ask me that but it’s too hard to say. I think I look for particular qualities, and those often change as well. Right now what I look for is value in pieces that isn’t completely superficial. Clothing is a perfect example, you can look for single-thread stitching for example but when looking at the entire article of clothing that quality won’t be immediately apparent. You know, you can stamp a designer logo all over a shirt but it does not make it a ‘good’ shirt. There are qualities that take a minute to appreciate and are not always obvious. That’s why certain things have more value than others and are more collectible, because there may be a name attached to it but that name also has a level of quality attached to it.

To me, that’s the underlying beauty.

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