With all the recent hoopla surrounding the Nordstrom opening and New York and Milan fashion weeks, it would be easy to overlook Vancouver’s own claims to design fame.
We might not be dressing catwalks, but on the international art-and-design scene, this city punches far above its weight. You could be forgiven for not knowing about it, however, since 1) it’s highly un-Canadian to trumpet one’s own successes, and 2) God forbid the national design media should focus on something outside of Sarah Richardson’s latest Toronto home renos. If names like Michael Green, Omer Arbel, Farmboy Fine Arts, and Andrew Salgado mean nothing to a hometown crowd, that’s okay. They’re doing just fine without us, since they mean quite a bit to an international community of top-flight developers, artists, curators, and designers.
In the same vein, here are some completely subjective and highly opinionated shout-outs to a few other locals who deserve a little praise this year for their outstanding work.
Best line for bedding down
At Bed, Bath & Beyond (various locations)
Considering how much time you spend in and on it, bedding is a great place to implement the concept of functional luxury. When she isn’t overseeing multimillion-dollar West Side renos, Vancouver-based interior designer Ami McKay turns her talents to her PURE bedding collection for Bed, Bath & Beyond. Stunning both visually and in terms of its affordable price point, PURE maxes out at $170 for a king-sized Parkay coverlet.
Best way to get stuffed
Joue Design’s Dana Mooney pillows
At Mint Interiors (1880 Fir Street, 604-568-0422) and the Living Lab (1121 West 15th Street, North Vancouver, 604-973-0263)
It’s all about the art in Joue Design’s collaboration with Vancouver abstract artist Dana Mooney. The new collection, named Lumenance (in eggplant) and Smokeshow (in navy), comes in two sizes: 12 by 18 inches ($120) and 22 by 22 inches ($210). Mooney’s artwork is printed on a linen-cotton front, and each pillow features a metallic-linen back and handpainted daubs of gold leaf for a one-of-a-kind piece.
Best place to dine in style
1 West Cordova Street
If you’re going to name your restaurant after a highly influential and almost mythical art school, you’d best come correct. Natalie Boll and the team at Bauhaus have done an admirable job visually linking the restaurant to its inspiration city, Berlin, and its home in Vancouver. Renovations for the 100-year-old heritage building were overseen by designer Andrea Greenway, and the room features dining chairs inspired by Bauhaus teacher Marcel Breuer and bar chairs modelled on the iconic 1952 T-Chair by Katavolos, Littell, and Kelly. Pride of place goes to the graffiti-inspired This Is Not Art canvas by First Nations artist Corey Bulpitt. The street-art theme continues into the bathrooms with the freestyling of Spanish duo Olliemoonsta on every vertical surface.
Best light-bulb moment
Jude light-bulb sock
At Renew Gallery (5 East 5th Avenue)
While restoring an original fixture, Renew Gallery’s Judith Cohen developed the reproduction Jude cut-crystal beaded light-bulb “sock” ($195). An elegant response to the naked-industrial-light-bulb trend, it’s handmade in Vancouver using antique olive-bronze hardware suspended on a knotted, woven cord. The socket can be fitted with an Edison-style or clear bulb for a refracted, glittery effect.
Best place to find design ideas
Peter Wilds Design
51 Powell Street
Filled with tasteful/quirky vignettes, Peter Wilds Design in Gastown is a go-to when it comes to whipping up fabulous inspiration. Go in person, not only to touch and feel but because Wilds could stand to up the Instagram.
Best place to go back to the future
Pacific Boulevard at Smithe Street
With the not-so-enchanting name of Site 10A, Paragon Gaming’s $600-million “urban resort” will feature many things Vancouver already has plenty of—two hotels, a casino (naturally), and a rooftop green space—when it opens adjacent to B.C. Place in late 2016. The unique thing it offers the city (for good or ill, depending on your tastes) is Vancouver’s only neofuturistic structure. A marriage of heavy 1960s brutalism and reflective copper-glass wall, it’s a boon for devotees of the late-1970s architectural movement that brought about design classics such as the DeLorean, Detroit’s GM Renaissance Center, and the highly stylized 1976 film Logan’s Run. It will doubtless be used as the backdrop for several third-tier made–in–B.C. American films and TV shows once completed.