SEEN IN VANCOUVER #425: How Our Most Iconic Intersections Are Seen By Designers

As noted in the Scout List this week, every major city intersection has a personality that is characterized by its architecture, its environment, and the velocity of its traffic. They are markers, meeting places and transfer points; places where fascinating stories begin, end, or pass right on by. To celebrate Vancouver’s intersections, seven of the city’s top graphic designers have created posters representing the most iconic ones. Scout has been given exclusive access to these, and you can take a peek below, together with explanatory notes from the designers themselves. The series is to debut tonight at The Chinatown Experiment (434 Columbia St.) from 6pm to 9pm. Note that none of the posters are on sale just yet. There will be a special postcard set featuring all the designs for free tonight, and then all the posters will move to Waterfront Station where they will be displayed until some point in the summer. Prints may be available down the road, so stay quick on the draw by following them on Twitter, Facebook, and on their website.

The one of Denman & Davie is our fave. Check them all out after the jump…

4th & Vine (by Post Projects) |

We didn’t want to get too bogged down in meaning so we kept our approach simple. In the 1960’s Kitsilano attracted lots of hippies—it was an affordable place to live back then. Thanks to Scott McKenzie’s rendition of the song “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair), the name “flower child” became somewhat synonymous with the term “hippie”. Thus, we made our poster out of flowers.

Water & Carall (by Setareh Shamdani)

To think of Water & Carrall is to conjure images of brick walls, vintage typography, Gassy Jack, ornate lamp-posts and red cobblestone streets—one the foremost fixtures of this historical part of town. The sharp, hard tap of shoes clicking against the hard surface is the first indication of having stepped into a time capsule, nostalgic of a period that’s preserved to help recall the roots of the city. This poster aims to evoke the feeling of walking through this spacious square in Vancouver’s signature weather, stepping over the wet, uneven cobblestones, through streets that are lit gently by the low-hanging lights.

SE Marine & Knight (by Working Format)

For a city that’s managed to escape the construction of large freeways, the intersection at SE Marine & Knight St is about as close as we get. Most of us are familiar with the intersection from routine trips to Ikea, and little more. Its oversized clover-leafs and reputation as the most dangerous intersection in Vancouver is hardly something to celebrate, yet it remains a critical through-fare, carrying people and products in and out of the city, and across the Lower Mainland.

Main & Hastings (by Glasfurd & Walker)

The Main & Hastings intersection has a lot of history. Over time it has transitioned from being the heart of the city to the heart of the Downtown Eastside – now famously known for its poverty, crime, drug use and homelessness. Yet despite this, there is beauty to be found – the kindness of people, the architectural landscape and daily interactions. This poster uses a pigeon, a permanent resident at this intersection, as a metaphor for seeing beauty in the overlooked, forgotten and everyday. A symbol of hope for a neighbourhood in need of much love.

Kingsway & Fraser (by Zach Bulick)

The intersection of Kingsways & Fraser is part of my neighbourhood, and watching it evolve has been inspiring. Recently it’s been given a renewed sense of creativity and community due to local individuals who have worked hard to make it into a place where people can connect.  For my design, I worked off the shape of McAuley Park and interjected illustrative elements from the area. My hope is to have created something that reflects the intersections positive spirit and charming character. As the community around the intersection continues to grow and change, my hope is that it will remain a place that is playful, creative and inviting for all.

Denman & Davie (by State Creative Group)

The intersection at Denman and Davie sits as a little island of colour amidst the backdrop of the more muted Pacific Northwest environment; a little gem in the city. Hence the “gem” graphic, which consists of colours that conjure up the era of architecture in the neighbourhood but also represent the intersection’s unique surroundings: palm trees, ocean, sand, sunsets and fireworks. The clean lines and geometric nature of the lettering were inspired by the fonts used to display the building names seen in so many of the apartment lobbies in the West End.

Broadway & Granville (by 10Four Design)

The focus for the Broadway & Granville poster was the prevalence of public transit found at the intersection. Six major bus routes converge on the intersection and the 99B-line along the Broadway corridor moves more people than any other transit route in North America.  The layered, abstract photograph of the trolley cables creates visual texture in the background of the poster. The custom typography is reminiscent of the hand painted shop signs and storefront windows from the high society days.


There are 4 comments

  1. “To think of Water & Carrall is to conjure images of brick walls, vintage typography, Gassy Jack, ornate lamp-posts and red cobblestone streets—one the foremost fixtures of this historical part of town..”

    Historical… as in stuff they put in in the 1970s, like that fake Steam Clock?

    Oblivious navelgazing, the favorite passtime of the Vancouverite.

  2. When I think of Water St. it’s from the time when I was a young teen-ager, freshly out of high school and having a steno job at a fruit and vegetable wholesaler on Water St. I would take the streetcar to the corner of Hastings and Carrall Streets and walk down Carrall to my job – it was a lot different then, not at all like it is now – I would never walk around there now. What a shame!