OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS | Gastown’s Rowan Sky On The Hunt For Dedicated Shoe Lover

September 18, 2014 

Gastown's Rowan Sky is located at 334 Cordova Street West in Vancouver BC | 604.568.2075 | www.rowansky.com

The GOODS from Rowan Sky

Vancouver, BC | We’re looking for a fashion savvy part-time sales associate who is detail-focused and passionate about footwear, bags, and jewelry. The successful candidate will be a self-starter who is motivated to achieve sales goals and has the capacity to work one on one and successfully in a team. Dedication to being on time and working efficiently are musts, as is computer experience (Mac OS, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) and the ability to further our social media presence. You will also need to climb ladders and lift up to 25lbs. Extra languages spoken will be helpful. We can offer proper training to excel within our company and in the fashion business, sales incentives after probation period, employee discounts on all merchandise, and education on maintaining our blog and website. Pay is negotiable based on experience. Read more

HEADS UP | Midcentury Modern Tour To Wow Lovers Of Architecture This Weekend

September 17, 2014 


The Vancouver Heritage Foundation is holding it’s annual Midcentury Modern Residential House Tour this weekend. Participants get to tour the interiors of five “significant” West Coast Regional Style Modernist homes in Vancouver. Architecture wonks will appreciate that this year’s tour includes homes by architects such as Ned Pratt and Barry Downs, plus there’s a Duncan McNab home with landscaping by Cornelia Hahn Oberlander. Expect a post-tour reception at Vancouver Maritime Museum where tour participants will be invited to listen to Professor Sherry McKay talk about the history of Modernism in Vancouver over refreshments. A little bit of post-and-beam appreciation, a little bit of wine and cheese – sounds like an exceedingly civilized Saturday!

Saturday, September 20th | 1-5pm | Various locations | $85 | TICKETS & DETAILS

VANCOUVERITES | Six Illuminating Minutes Inside The Studio Of Local Artist Ed Spence

September 17, 2014 


by Grady Mitchell | Ed Spence is an analog artist for the digital age, a specialist who takes existing images and pixelates them by hand. His process starts by cutting out a section of an existing image, then slicing that into individual pixels. Next he rearranges those pixels by colour or pattern, and finally he inserts the newly-reorganized section back into the image. The new piece contains untouched stretches of the original artwork interrupted by cascading wave-like gradients, complex geometric patterns, or buzzing static clouds of colour. The pieces are jarringly beautiful: quaint, antiquated images that appear hacked.

Raised in Salmon Arm, Ed studied fine arts at UBCO, focusing on video and sculpture. His education solidified a fascination with materials, the different ways they can be combined to create art. His pixellation series is a way of breaking down an image to study its parts. “Dissecting the material of the image makes you think about the illusion of pictorial space,” Ed says. “It really is a planar, flat medium. But once you cut into it, it becomes three dimensional again. You’re reminded that it always has been a three dimensional image: there’s ink on paper, the light reflecting, the illusion that these are colours.”

Ed’s fascination with fractal patterns started young, instilled by his dad, who would spend hours typing code into the earliest home computers, then have the machine visualize it into spiralling digital patterns. Now Ed is doing essentially the same thing, minus the machinery. “I found that really intriguing, that interplay between math, science, and art.”

Once removed, he says, the pixels no long mean what they did as part of the whole. “Every little piece becomes an entity on its own, you start thinking about the component parts of the picture. How all of those small parts coalesce into a harmonic image.”

In the beginning, Ed sought out a specific style of imagery to rework. He wanted soft, warm images, the kind that fill vintage magazines and travel brochures. “The era that they were from was nostalgic,” he says. “There was something to do with that combination of the futurism infused into these antiquated images that you’d see at your grandmother’s house.”

These days he wants to create an entire image from start to finish, and work in more modern colour palettes. His new work begins with crumpled reflective sheets of paper, which he blasts with coloured lights and photographs, so the vibrant tones get grabbed and warped by the many folds and facets. He then prints those images, slices and pixelates them. The process is the same as his earlier work, but the images are much different: whereas the older images are soft and warm, these new ones feature synthetic colour bursts and unpredictable shapes.

Next Ed plans to apply his pixillation to the human form through a collaborative project with his wife, Julie Chapple, a choreographer and artist. He’s begun work on wearable sculptures (you’ll see him working on a prototype in the images below) which dancers will wear in a performance choreographed by Julie. To see more of Ed’s work, visit his site here.


HOODS | On A Gastown Walk With The Duo Behind Local Design Firm “Falken Reynolds”

September 16, 2014 


by Luis Valdizon | Interior designers Chad Falkenberg and Kelly Reynolds, founders of local design house Falken Reynolds, recently took me on a leisurely Q&A walk through their Gastown neighbourhood…

Tell me about yourselves and your respective roles in your company? Kelly and I formed Falken Reynolds two years ago. We’ve been partners in life for almost nine years now and it was always part of the plan to work together. We both transitioned to being professional designers after having fairly colourful career paths. Kelly was a sailor in the Canadian Navy, a cop in the VPD, a flight attendant, and a hotel manager before making the shift almost ten years ago. I grew up spending summers on horse ranches in Texas and Arizona; studied finance and psychology; taught business at a university in Lithuania; and had an international marketing job before starting design school in Barcelona.

While one of us takes the lead on each project we rely heavily on each other for input, especially during the early conceptual phases. We share the same perspectives on design – that spaces should be relevant to both the people using them as well as the space’s context; that style is deeply personal and subjective and our role is to create a space that reflects what makes each client unique; and that design is constantly evolving and reacting to culture, which is why we travel to Milan each year for iSaloni, the most important event on the contemporary design calendar.

You work and live in Gastown. Why? We moved to Gastown eight years ago because we both craved the authenticity that comes from so many segments of society rubbing shoulders everyday. There is a freedom that comes from the diversity here. [It] stimulates creativity, collaboration, encouragement – all the ingredients that give entrepreneurs the support they need to be successful. Neighbourhoods and cities that aspire for too much homogeny can stifle creativity and draw a person’s focus more towards fitting in than finding their own way. So much of this atmosphere in Gastown stems from the architecture and urban planning of densely packed low-rise buildings with a mix of residential and commercial use. The streets are active and familiar because so many people live and work here – it feels really intimate and neighbourly because people are out and about doing their thing.

You’ve taken a role as an IDSWest ambassador. How has the experience been? Talking about design is pretty natural for us so taking on the role of ambassadors has been a great fit. After ten years, IDSwest has become the anchor event for a month of design activities in Vancouver. When we travel to Milan one of the things that is so inspiring is the critical mass of people (350,000 this year) who are talking about how design impacts our lives – and that same energy is alive in Vancouver over the month of September. Craftsmen and manufacturers are all showing their latest designs and products and from that collective showing we can see the trend line of how society will be living in the years to come. Design fairs are a bit like seeing into the future, just like fashion weeks are – eventually all the custom, high end design trickles down to price points that are more affordable and available. The most exciting thing about IDSwest is bringing so many creative minds under one roof – over the years we have met countless people who we end up working with. There has been a real shift to designers being more open and collaborative (helped by a relatively strong economy and the internet) that we are starting to see how much more we can do when we work together.

We’re designing Shed, the central bar for IDSwest, presented by Caesarstone, and we are working with some of Vancouver’s best design companies to bring it together: Benson, Inform Interiors, And Light, Object Outdoors, Synlawn and Moosehead Contracting. Our taking off point for the concept was a garden party in an abandoned west coast back yard. A lot of the materials that will be used for Shed will be repurposed in the restaurant we’re designing in Chinatown, Sai Woo. It’s true to our perspective on being “green” – build with better quality materials that last longer and can be reused and recycled.

We have a few other things going in the show this year too – we’re designing a couture chair we’ve named Dauphine, for William Switzer, which will be exhibited along with six other chairs designed by leading interior designers. We’re exploring youthful west coast luxury – if Marie Antoinette moved to Gastown this would be her chair… We’re also speaking on the Gray Conversation stage about our career transition to design, as well as sharing our story of being shortlisted for two categories for Western Living’s Designers of the Year.

Who is currently inspiring you in your neighbourhood? We’re lucky to call a lot of our Gastown neighbours and colleagues our friends – so many great people giving 110% everyday and having success in Vancouver as well as an international stage. Their vision and determination for their own businesses has collectively elevated the neighbourhood and gained international recognition as one of the best spots to live and work. We know how lucky we are to be here and experience this moment. There are too many people to name everyone but here are a few that really stand out:

Niels and Nancy Bendtsen from Inform were pioneers in Gastown and have been so supportive to us and so many emerging designers – we have watched them in action in Milan where they are just as comfortable and recognized as they are in Vancouver.

The crew from Roden Gray has been on the cutting edge of mens fashion. Rob Lo is always working on a new and exciting project – we are always inspired by how they run their business and Rob has become a great friend.

The same goes for Jonathon from Litchfield, Paul from L’Abattoir and the crew at Timbertrain – They all work so hard at being excellent at what they do and it shows in the success they have with their business.

When Michael and Charlie from Bailey Nelson approached us to work on their Canadian flagship shop we jumped at the opportunity because we could all see the potential for the rather derelict site on the corner of Cambie and Cordova. They were able to see past the decades of decay and the crumbling building and then trust us to turn it into something fresh and welcoming. We are super happy with the result and hope it inspires other entrepreneurs to set up shop in the neighbourhood.

Name three of your favourite architectural or design landmarks that your neighbourhood offers? The digital photo of the Gastown Riot by Stan Douglas [Abbott & Cordova]. The roof at Inform Interiors – it’s a private gem and one of the best examples of how to keep the heritage of a building on the street and redevelop it for contemporary use. Maple Tree Square – there is so much potential with this space. Even though there have been many failed attempts at improving it, the bones of the square are intact. When the city takes another crack at improving it we’d love to part of imagining how to make it a better public gathering place.


GOODS | “The Acorn Artist Series” Profiling Artist Elizabeth Zvonar Through September

September 15, 2014 


The GOODS from The Acorn

Vancouver, BC | The Acorn Artist Series shines a light on artists in Vancouver whose work we admire greatly and wish to proliferate in our own humble way. Each month we make a new artist postcard that gets handed out to our guests who are free to frame it, mail it, or fold it into an airplane and surprise their neighbour. This month, we’re featuring Elizabeth Zvonar. In her dreams, her website has had over 1 million views. True story: rich and famous people have told her that they should have bought her work after they had already purchased another artist’s work. She also knows high people in places. A quick Q & A with her (and more) after the jump… Read more

FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE BRIEF #434 | Time Lapse Shows California’s Stunning Diversity

September 15, 2014 

(via) This timelapse showcasing California was filmed over a four year period by Hal Bergman.

“California is the most populated state in the United States, and the third largest. It’s almost double the size of the United Kingdom and slightly larger than Japan. If it was it’s own independent country (as it was briefly for a few weeks in 1846), it would have the 8th largest economy in the world by GDP. It contains the highest summit and the lowest desert in the Contiguous United States (and the second-lowest point in the world), both of which are in the same county. It’s most known for movies, technology, wine, and national parks, but also grows more than a third of the vegetables consumed in the US, two-thirds of the fruits and nuts, and an unknown but presumably huge percentage of marijuana. It contains every major climatological biome except tundra. More important than those facts, to me, is that I was born and spent most of my life here.”

Locations include (in alphabetical order) Alabama Hills, Big Sur, Bombay Beach, Death Valley National Park, Gilroy, Inyo National Forest, Jenner, Joshua Tree, Lake Tahoe, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Malibu, Mono Lake South Tufa Reserve, Mount Shasta, Napa, Onyx, Owens Lake, Salinas, San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Santa Monica, Sequoia National Forest, Venice, Weldon, and Yosemite National Park.


VANCOUVERITES | 4 Minutes With Nancy Bendtsen Of Gastown’s “Inform Interiors”

September 12, 2014 


by Grady Mitchell | In anticipation of the Interior Design Show West coming up September 25-28 at the Vancouver Convention Center, we met with Nancy Bendtsen from Inform Interiors to discuss the importance of design in everyday life.

Nancy’s husband, Niels, launched Inform half a century ago when he was just 19. At that time the Pacific Northwest was an epicentre for progressive design. Originally the store sold the handiwork of Niel’s father, who at 12 was pulled from school to apprentice as a Danish cabinet maker. Gradually Niels added other brands and designers, and now Inform, with its twin Gastown locations, is a touchstone of home design in Vancouver.

Like Niels, Nancy is genetically predisposed to be a design lover. When Allan Fleming updated the CN logo in 1960 – a long-overdue revamp that Marshall McLuhan declared iconic – Nancy’s mother found the sleek new lettering so alluring that she packed a young Nancy and herself into the car, drove to the nearest station, and took the shortest possible round trip, just to be on a train featuring the polished logo.

Later Nancy studied architecture at L’ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and at the University of Toronto. Architecture, she says, is less about schematics and flair than it is a general education. “You think over a lot of big things. It was more overall thinking; about humanity, about how people live.”

The things Nancy deems important are often small details that others overlook. “Everything you touch,” she says. “Door handles, cutlery.” Rather than a Dwell-ready house packed with curated spaces, it’s important to slowly collect pieces you truly enjoy, on both an aesthetic and functional level. “You don’t have to have a lot of stuff,” Nancy says, “just stuff you really love.”

As far as IDS West’s imminence is concerned, Nancy is excited for London-based lighting designer Michael Anastassiades, whose work she describes as “very architectural, geometric.” Rub shoulders with Nancy, Michael, and a host of other design aficionados at the Vancouver Conference Center from September 25-28 for IDS West.

FIELD TRIP #608 | On Riding Your Bike To Victoria & Back Before The End Of Summer

September 11, 2014 


by Rebecca Slaven | Cycling to Victoria is perfect for a long weekend and even better if you’re able to take a day off and avoid the ferry crowds. The route from Swartz Bay to Victoria is (almost) completely flat and mostly shaded, which makes it a great ride even during the final hot days of summer.

You can either take public transit or cycle to Tsawwassen. Each method has its disadvantages. The route to Tsawwassen is not the prettiest or the most straightforward. However, public transit brings with it a risk of delay. To take public transit, hop on the Canada Line to Bridgeport, and then take bus #620. Each bus has two racks for bikes, so cross your fingers that you’ll be first in line because the #620 only leaves once every 40 minutes.


You’re best off following a Map My Ride route or checking out HUB because I’ve gotten temporarily lost every time I’ve ridden to Tsawwassen. Whichever route you follow, you’ll have to take the George Massey bike shuttle, which is free and large enough that I’ve never seen it fill up past capacity. The waiting area simply has a bench and a small sign and so it’s easy to miss. The driver is very nice about being waved down by latecomers. Nevertheless, check the schedule carefully before leaving and try to get there early because there are large gaps between shuttle times, with not a lot to do in the area.

Once at the ferry terminal, you’ll be directed up to the front and loaded on after the big trucks and before the cars. The ferries have one or two bike racks and when those are full, cyclists simply lock their tires to their frames and prop bikes against the side of the ship.

When you’ve arrived at Swartz Bay, follow the cycling signs off the ferry to the Lochside Trail, which is fairly straightforward the whole way. There’s one point early on at which it looks like you may need to go on a bridge to cross the road but continue on the flat path to the left, instead. The only bridges you should be crossing are the wooden ones close to the city.

If you have time for a break on your route, stop at Sea Cider. The tasting room has a gorgeous view and the ciders are excellent. The completely vegetarian food from Re-bar makes for a perfect end to a long ride and their cookbook is definitely worth picking up while you’re there.

When heading back to Swartz Bay, stop at Fol Epi and pick up a sandwich to take on the ferry. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this place until my last visit to Victoria. I’ve missed out on so many delicious macarons! Happy late summer cycling…



Bio-PicRebecca Slaven is a librarian, writer, and cyclist. Her subject specialities include law, beauty, and croquet. Her format specialty is the how-to guide. She mostly rides her bike to work but has cycled as far as San Francisco. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

HEADS UP | Design-Themed Pecha Kucha Night Vol. 34 Set For Sept. 18 At The Vogue

September 10, 2014 


The next Pecha Kucha Night goes down September 18th as part of Vancouver Design Week. As you can see from the bill above, there are some great folks in the line up from diverse design slants and backgrounds. It should be fascinating, and a sell-out, so pounce on a pair of tickets while they’re still available. Bonus: the musical guest for is Jody Glenham.

September 18 | Doors 6:30pm | The Vogue Theatre (918 Granville St) | Tickets $15 | DETAILS

SMOKE BREAK #1123 | Starbucks Baristas Misspell Your Name Just To Fuck With You

September 9, 2014 

If the baristas at Starbucks have been spelling names wrong on take-out coffee cups by accident to date, this satirical video by comedian Paul Gale gives them an out: they’re just ”fucking with you”.


SMOKE BREAK #1122 | Wes Anderson From Bikes, Sleds, Planes, Trains, & Automobiles

September 5, 2014 

This new supercut by Jaume R. Lloret splices together iconic POV vehicle shots from the following Wes Anderson movies: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), The Darjeeling Limited (2007), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), Moonrise Kingdom (2012), and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014).


COOL THING WE WANT #443 | A “Soulbox” Cabin Hidden Away In A Naramata Orchard

September 5, 2014 


(via) This two storey “Soulbox” modular cabin by German design firm allergutendinge really trips the Dr. Seussian light fantastic. It was created as an escapist “research station” for one or two people looking to get away from their busy city lives. We don’t even have to squint to imagine it plopped down somewhere in the recesses of a Naramata orchard. “Oh, the fun we’ll have…”


DEFINITIVE RECORDS | The 3 Albums That Anchor The Tastes Of Super Vancouverites

September 3, 2014 


by Maya-Roisin Slater | Definitive Records asks interesting Vancouverites to pick the three albums that anchor their musical tastes. Today we hear from Emily Molnar, a dancer, choreographer, and the current artistic director of Ballet BC. To see her work in motion, visit Ballet BC’s website.

Miles Davis – Kind of Blue | LISTEN | “A classic for jazz lovers like myself, I never tire of hearing this inspired album. Although supposedly not a one take improvisation (as often claimed) one is mesmerized by the uniqueness of the playing and the deep sense of craft, freedom and intimacy.”

J. S. Bach – Sonatas and Partitas | LISTEN | “A world without the genius of Bach is not one I could live in. The transcendent brilliance and counterpoint of his musical structures continue to inspire new perspectives in my thinking and experience of the world. These partitas and sonatas are some of my favourite pieces of music. There are many recordings I Iove and own. The one I am listening to at the moment is a more contemporary interpretation by Gidon Kremer.”

Nina Simone – Finest Hour | LISTEN | “The voice of Nina Simone for me speaks at the depths of being human. This album is an arresting collection of some of her most popular songs. It is one I hold dear and have turned to for years.”


INSTAVAN | The Manner & Measure Of The Many Things We Instagrammed Last Month

September 2, 2014 



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