Ones to watch on Canada’s west coast design scene

Arbor jewellery stand by Zoë Mowat
Arbor’ jewellery stand
(Image credit: Zoë Mowat)

Now in its 14th year, Vancouver based Interior Design Show West has grown in tandem with the west coast design scene. No longer the domain of cedar-enhanced minimalism, nor the handmaiden of the Toronto-centric East, Vancouver boasts a more sophisticated palette while maintaining a certain maverick and often nature-inspired aesthetic.

Designers like Omer Arbel, whose quixotic, inspired lighting designs infuse his brand Bocci with a luminescent intelligence, began his international career here and is still based in Lotusland (Vancouver’s long time moniker). While furniture designer Niels Bendtsen has been a stalwart fixture of the local scene for decades, quietly producing pragmatic yet elegant pieces that happily marry form and function.

These are two of the designers featured in one of this year’s highlights, aptly named Canadian By Nature’, that aims to counter prevailing stereotypes about Canadiana.

Press mirror, by Umbra Shift

‘Press’ mirror, by Umbra Shift

(Image credit: Umbra Shift)

The entrance exhibit for 2018, designed by Vancouver’s Glasfurd & Walker, will present a cross section of established and emerging designers from across diverse platforms, including architecture, interior, industrial and graphic design.

Highlights include tea tables by Vancouver-based fine art influenced design duo Dear Humans. Their one-of-a-kind or limited edition pieces sculpted from pulped post-consumer recycled paper and natural pigments express their mandate to ‘create joy through unexpected moments in everyday environment.’

Also of note are Toronto based Partisans’ Bar Raval Materials’, a radical reinterpretation of Spanish art nouveau in the form of a stylised Basque pintxo bar, as well as Woodford Sheppard Architecture’s Our Lady of the Snows’, a starkly beautiful church in Labrador that embraces the northern landscape.

Altered States, by Caesarstone and Snarkitecture

Altered States, by Caesarstone and Snarkitecture

(Image credit: Caesarstone and Snarkitecture)

Altered States’, an interactive kitchen experience by Caesarstone and Snarkitecture in its post-Salone de Mobile iteration, celebrates the aquatic element in the kitchen via three ‘changing states’ of water. Three kitchen islands, entitled Ice Island, Water Island, and Steam Island, offer topographical takes on what has become the performative centre of the modern home.

Elsewhere, ‘The Mix: West Coast Best Coast’ offers experimental design alchemy via a series of on-site works, off site installations, and in studio talks – the offspring of collaborations between leading Los Angeles-based designers Leah Ring and Bari Ziperstein and Vancouver designers Riley McFerrin and Ben Barber.

Tube series ceramics in grey by Bari Ziperstein

From left, ‘LG Diamond’ grey vase, ‘Tall Saucer’ grey vase, ‘Wide Saucer’ grey vase, ‘Jumbo Diamond’ grey vase and ‘SM Robot’ grey vase, from the ‘Tube’ series, by Bari Ziperstein

(Image credit: Bari Ziperstein)

‘Halves’ side table, by MSDS

‘Halves’ side table, by MSDS

(Image credit: MSDS)

‘Pluto’ table, by Ben Barber

‘Pluto’ table, by Ben Barber

(Image credit: Ben Barber)

‘Aura’ mirror, by Another Human

‘Aura’ mirror, by Another Human

(Image credit: Another Human)


IDS West is on view from 20–23 September. For more information, visit the IDS website