Crafted in the City with SwitzerCultCreative

As an Official Event Partner, SwitzerCultCreative is hosting a gallery showing with designers present for a casual meet and greet.  Here is your opportunity to meet the designers and makers behind some of the most exciting Pacific Northwest and locally designed and made contemporary furnishings.  Please join us on Saturday, May 25th between 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM.

Designers in attendance:

Meet Neal Aronowitz, Robert Farrell, Jay Miron, Nicholas Purcell and chat about design in our beautiful city.  

Award Winning Whorl Console table in Aluminum by Neal Aronowitz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finn Series Vanity Stool by Nicholas Purcell. Credit: Bright Photo

Kern Coffee Table by Jay Miron

Round Folio Coffee Table by Jason Klager.

Prais Nightstands by Robert Farrell

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CRAFTED IN THE CITY: Nicholas Purcell Kicks It Up A Notch With Original Design And Sculptural Elements

By Laura Goldstein

Nicholas Purcell’s Kick Lounge Chair and SideKick Ottomon were inspired by the Scandinavian kick sled popular in the winter months. Credit: Bright Photo

“In this last year I’ve found my creative side needed more feeding,” admits furniture designer and maker, Nick Purcell of Nicholas Purcell Furniture, Vancouver. 

Usually focused on bespoke design pieces for clients, Purcell decided to further challenge himself by taking part in several city-wide events. His furniture is showcased at the SwitzerCultCreative showroom, 1725 West 3rd Avenue. They are event partners with Crafted In the City, presenting Purcell and other artists and makers at an Open House May 25th. Purcell will also exhibit during Crafted Interiors at the Pipe Shop at the Shipyards, North Vancouver May 11-16th. All events were the impetus for the intrepid maker to experiment especially in cast bronze.

“It took me quite a while to find a foundry in Vancouver that was even willing to cast small artistic pieces and not just gigantic ship parts,” laughs Purcell at his studio in the rabbit warren of 1000 Parker Street. 

“I love all the bubbles and how the patina varies from gold to pinkish flecks,” says Purcell of the sculptural, limited edition Vanity Stool in bronze and curly French oak. It’s part of the Finn Series (named after his youngest son,) and is an elegant, modern addition to a home, office, spa or yacht’s interior. The Finn Bench in bronze and walnut is wrapped in a luxurious imprinted leather with impeccable top-stitching that brings to mind fine Italian workmanship. “The sides of the FINN Series are cast in silicone bronze using the ancient process of casting in sand. My intent was to show the unrefined nature of this method which was achieved fantastically in the ripples and bubbles formed in the bronze,” Purcell explains.

Nicholas Purcell’s Kick Lounge Chair boasts an adjustable head pillow counter-weighted from behind the chair with a silicone bronze pulley. Pirelli strapping gives the classic piece a sporty look. Credit: Bright Photo

The Kick Lounge Chair and SideKick Ottomon were inspired by the Finnish “kicksled” originally produced in Sweden with long runners to get people moving outdoors in the cold months. Purcell’s rendition is so comfortable it has the opposite effect- you’ll want to curl-up in front of the fireplace with a glass of wine watching your favourite Nordic noir! Stylishly built in ash with exacting joinery and upholstered in buttery caramel English bridle leather, the adjustable head pillow is counter-weighted from behind the chair with a silicone bronze pulley. Pirelli strapping gives the classic piece a sporty look. 

The INCENDIO Table in blackened and white-washed ash is Purcell’s homage to his memories of sitting around the campfire with his family camping in B.C. He carefully created the illusion of stacked logs on a campfire for the table’s base, a balancing feat that finally materialized from his countless drawings and scale models. Plans are in the works for both a coffee table and long dining table topped befittingly, with smoked glass.

Designer and furniture maker, Nicholas Purcell. Credit: Bright Photo

“You know Europe has this great history in furniture design and craft which I really appreciate and admire,” Purcell says. Born in England and originally trained as a graphic designer, he studied furniture -making under the tutorage of master furniture maker, David Charlesworth in North Devon. In 2000 he moved to Bowen Island B.C. where he established his studio then relocated with his wife and three children to Vancouver in 2010.

One of Purcell’s biggest compliments came from his adult children last Christmas. Unbeknownst to him, “they all had my logo tattooed on their arms,” he relates with a huge grin.

“I’m really passionate about my work especially about original design and I find that so many things are just replicated from photos on Instagram instead of putting the effort into designing something new,” the maker has noticed. “I think it’s better to make one fantastic piece rather than ten mediocre. You know, bespoke furniture-making is often solitary and I’d love to get together with like-minded makers in Vancouver on a regular basis to discuss design. There’s a lot of good work in Vancouver- let’s move forward and take it to the next level.”

The INCENDIO Table by Nicholas Purcell his homage to memories of sitting by the campfire camping with family. Credit: Bright Photo

Nicholas Purcell furniture can all be customized including upholstery and size through SwitzerCultCreative.

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Made From Scraps: When Leftovers Become A Feast For the Eyes

By Laura Goldstein

Made From Scraps poster logo by Ian Kaart; leaf design Oksana Gaidassheva

The Pacific Northwest is not just a playground for tourists but has become a mecca for makers and artists environmentally attuned to creating without destroying the landscape. 

Made From Scraps is a new collection of art and sculpture by four Vancouver artists collaborating at SPACE Gallery. Curated by maker, Pat Christie and showcased at SwitzerCultCreative, the pieces evolved from or incorporate wood detritus scavenged from abandoned lumber yards and old construction sites.

Made From Scraps curator, Pat Christie and Discs made from 800-year-old Red Cedar off-cuts. Photo: SPACE Gallery

“I was really impressed with the creativity, vision and workmanship these pieces reflect,” says Renee Switzer, founder, SwitzerCultCreative. “Most of these artists are in- between newly discovered talent and established in their own careers.” Curated selections of the makers’ work are available to the consumer at the SwitzerCultCreative showroom, 1725 West 3rd Avenue in Vancouver.

When industrial designer and entrepreneur, Pat Christie graduated from Emily Carr University of Applied Arts + Design in Vancouver in 2011, he realized that he and many of his colleagues were thrust into the art world with little background in the marketing and business side of their chosen careers. The award-winning maker was made research associate at Living Labs, The Shumka Centre for Creative Entrepreneurship at Emily Carr to address these concerns and develop a think-tank environment for students.

In 2013 he co-founded Yew Woodshop and more recently, SPACE – a confluence of workshop and gallery in a 2,000-square-foot setting in which artists of diverse disciplines can incubate ideas and collaborate on projects. Made From Scraps is one such venture.

“My goal is to bring artists together from the community to innovate, and many of whom would never have had the opportunity to meet,” Christie explains. An accomplished carpenter and artist in his own right, Christie brings to fruition through fabrication, the Geo 5 Coffee Table, designed by Israeli craftsman, Eli Chissick and available at SwitzerCultCreative. In what was once a derelict police station at Main and Hastings, Christie was commissioned to design and build a sweeping, intricately constructed reception desk, all built with wood off-cuts and it’s the showpiece at 312Main Community Centre.  

Mexican painter and retail store proprietor, Pablo Zamudio. Photo: Courtesy Pablo Zamudio

Greeted with an exuberant “hola,” Mexican artist and entrepreneur, Pablo Zamudio works late into the night creating dazzling op-art paintings on reclaimed wood that literally vibrate with patterns and Day-Glo colours. 

As a kid growing up in Guadalajara, Zamudio was obsessed with art, music and skateboarding graphics. When he moved to Vancouver in 1997 he concentrated on graphic designed T-shirts and went on to open a lifestyle fashion retail store and gallery, El Kartel in Chinatown.

“I love optical illusions and all my paintings are based on a perfect grid. I discovered that everything in the universe is connected through numbers,” explains Zamudio, ” although at the same time, I embrace imperfection,” he laughs. ” The more you allow yourself to look at my paintings from different angles, the more things you suddenly see, and I think, learn about yourself.”


As a carpenter working on heritage home restorations by day, mixed media artist David Ullock finds old-growth fir scraps and conjures beguiling sculptures by night. His painted pieces resemble intricate 3D puzzle pieces in which animals, birds and people are re-imagined.

Mixed media artist David Ullock at work on one of his murals. Photo: courtesy GLovely Clouds

“I want to explore spatial dynamics by taking a two-dimensional plane and translating it into a three-dimensional object,” Ullock explains. Several of his current sculptures are made from 800-year-old Western Red Cedar, off-cuts gifted to him from Christie’s project of wood discs that trace the life of the ancient trees. 

Ullock created several vibrantly painted sculptures for Tall Tree Health in Vancouver and his spectacular murals on Commercial Drive and for the Vancouver Mural Festival are car and pedestrian show-stoppers!


Many of Jake Johnston’s clock sculptures immediately recall the abstract style of Art Deco, compelling the viewer to peer in closely, and not just to read the time. 

FocusFace and artist Jake (TikTok) Johnston. Photo courtesy ake (TikTok) Johnston

Growing up in Victoria, Johnston, (aka TikTok) was profoundly influenced by the street art scene there and eventually studied graphic design at Pacific Art Academy.

“I was always interested in playing with form and shape and breaking apart things to explore balance, form and colour,” says Johnston.

“All my designs start as a sketch with pencil and paper- nothing is done digitally, he admits. And, I’ve really gotten into free-form pieces as well, using spray paints and masking techniques to lay on colour.”

In 2018, Johnston worked with Opus at a pop-up tent designing and painting skateboard decks and the year before, partnered with other artists to create a mural on the side of a bus. 


It’s evident from all four artists that the camaraderie and mutual respect that  Made From Scraps has inspired among them is the foundation for more exhibitions in the future.

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Not your ordinary design store

January 2019 marks our third year since opening the SwitzerCultCreative Showroom.  Reflecting back, I continue to feel the thrill of connecting with designers and craftspeople who create exciting, timeless works, infusing their personality into creating original design. The excitement of connecting with creatives happens at Design Shows in Europe,  ICFF in New York and in small workshops right here in British Columbia. Inspiration comes in surprising ways; a museum exhibition; a storefront in a new city; a special flower arrangement.  For me, it is essential to take myself out my daily routine and roam neighbourhoods in familiar and unfamiliar cities for inspiration.

Designers and makers put their heart and soul into creating original, unique works.  Each of the designers & companies we work with has a story that fits well with the goals we have for SwitzerCultCreative.  We aspire to bring products into our showroom that are not available elsewhere in British Columbia and we love to work with craftspeople who live and work in British Columbia.  For 2019 we want to get closer to our goal that 50% of our collections are “Made in Canada”.  Of the 17 furniture Collections currently available, 7 are designed and made in Canada.  These collections include designs by Eli Chissick, Jay Miron Furniture, Sholto Design Studio, Nicholas Purcell,  all made in Vancouver and Studio Klager from Prince George, BC.  Textiles and accessories from Ivan Meade of Victoria, BC., and lighting by Miller Modern from Vancouver Island.

Hand thrown ceramics from Beth Hawthorn, Roberts Creek, B.C. , glass accessories by Jaan Andres designed and made in Vancouver, and hand woven cedar baskets by Jessica Silvey from Sechelt, B.C. are all available in our showroom.   A commitment to include made in Canada goods in our business model is also a commitment to small business and families close to home.  For me personally it is very gratifying to provide the showroom space, marketing and sales support for hand crafted, made in Canada furniture and accessories and to play a role in helping the talented designers and craftsman grow their businesses.

A healthy, happy and successful 2019 to all.

Renee Switzer

 

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Craftsmanship & Creative Risk-Taking: A Panel Presented At The 2018 Interior Design Show IDS-Vancouver

By Laura Goldstein

l-r: Adam Bellas, Partner SwitzerCultCreative; Jay Miron, Jay Miron Furniture Vancouver; Neal Aronowitz, Neal Aronowitz Design/Art Portland, Oregon; Jaan Andres, Jaan Andres Glass Design, Vancouver and moderator, Sholto Scruton, Sholto Design Studio, Vancouver. Photo: Brand Apiary

What happens when four of the Pacific Northwest’s most distinctive glass and furniture designers meet to discuss the trials, tribulations and personal success stories in each of their crafts? Lots of fascinating insight, true confessions and laughter, of course! Sponsored by SwitzerCultCreative the designers’ pieces were also presented in the SwitzerCultCreative Booth at IDS-Vancouver 2018, showcasing the company’s continued support of the region’s talented makers. Curated selections of the makers work are available to the consumer at their showroom, 1725 West 3rd Avenue in Vancouver.

Here are a few of the highlights:

The Panelists: Moderator, Sholto Scruton (Sholto Design Studio, Vancouver), Neal Aronowitz (Neal Aronowitz Design/Art Portland, Oregon), Jay Miron (Jay Miron Furniture, Vancouver) and Jaan Andres (Jaan Andres Glass Design, Vancouver.)

Sholto Scruton: Please introduce yourselves and tell us a bit about how you started.

Neal Aronowitz beside his award-winning concrete canvas Whorl Table in the SwitzerCultCreative booth at IDS-Vancouver 2018. Jay Miron’s Oval Franklin Dining Table in foreground. Photo: Brand Apiary

Neal: Unlike my fellow craftsmen here, I’m a little late to the party as I only started doing this work about four years ago. I’ve been in construction with my own company all my life but in the meantime made some furniture for family and friends- nothing very risky but filling dozens of sketchbooks. Then I thought if I don’t get going on my design work I’m never going to do it at all. So I entered a contest with my concrete canvas Whorl Design Table and won the People’s Choice Award from Azure Magazine. My second piece was a lighting design (Boro Boro Chandelier,) that I entered into the LAMP Competition in Vancouver and that won 2ndplace. I thought, this is normal – you enter things and you win! No, but seriously, I felt I had finally found my calling.

Jay Miron with his Oval Franklin Dining Table in the SwitzerCultCreative Booth at IDS-Vancouver 2018. Photo: Brand Apiary

Jay: Hi everyone. I design and build furniture in my studio in East Vancouver. I’m a former professional athlete, a BMX bike-rider but I retired from my career- too many broken bones – so I started a bike company. It got huge with a ton of employees but I was just not happy. I sold everything and went to wood-working school and interior design school and began designing and building custom furniture.

Jaan: I’m a glass-maker originally from Haliburton, Ontario and Calgary. I went to the Alberta College of Art & Design where I discovered glass-making at 18 -years- old and have been doing it ever since. In 2009 I travelled to Adelaide, Australia and I took part in a two-year boot-camp training program at the JamFactory working with dozens and dozens of sculptors and lighting designers.

I moved to Vancouver in 2015 taking a job blowing glass full time at BOCCI- you’ve all heard of Omer Arbel, and I teach part-time at Terminal City Glass in Vancouver.

Panel moderator and furniture designer, Sholto Scruton in his Vancouver design studio. Photo: Courtesy Sholto Scruton

Sholto: I started repairing Victorian and Edwardian furniture with my Dad and Grandpa as a kid but wanted to be a painter. I did a Masters in Industrial Design and realized I really wanted to make furniture. I never wanted to work in a factory but ended up working in a factory for Bensen for four years! I learned a lot and designed sofas and finally, about 7 years ago I started my own company. I want things to endure and make things people love.

How is your work defined? By method or by the materials you work in?

Neal: I think it’s dangerous to be pigeon-holed but if I have to be defined by something I think it would be working with concrete canvas because I think I might be the only person in the world working with it.

Jay: I agree with you Neal. I don’t like to stick myself into a box or category. I’ve mostly worked with wood so far but I’m really excited that next year I’m going to be working with metal, glass and stone. I think the biggest thing we have to offer as craftspeople is the ability to go in different directions.

Glass-blower Jaan Andres at work in the Terminal City Glass Studio, Vancouver. Photo courtesy Jaan Andres.

Jaan: I have to admit I’m slightly more defined by my material in that I’m very much a glass nerd – I’m in love with the material. Frankly, I don’t think that pigeon-holes me. It just interests me to no end, blowing glass is so vast and capable of so many different things. I like to define my method as doing a few things really, really well.

But, I have to tell you making a living is also important. For instance, last week I had the weirdest commission I’ve ever had in my life! A lady wanted a glass strawberry and vanilla ice-cream cone sculpture with a cherry on top made for a Statue of Liberty scale model

(lots of laughter)

Sholto: I’m really defined by method because I come from a design background. I’m concerned with problems. We set out with a brief and that’s very pragmatic. The material is whatever it has to be. Sometimes it makes sense to do one thing one way.

What is the value of craft today where high quality production is so widely accessible?

The Kern Dining Table was inspired by the splat of a drop of water. Jay Miron used 5 species of wood in its intricate construction. Photo: Haruki Noguchi

Jay: I’m quite qualified to answer this question because I’ve worked on both sides. My bike company manufactured everything overseas and now I’m an independent craftsman. I believe there’s a time and a place for production because 90% of what people want is to fit in whether it’s wearing the same style clothes, go to the coolest restaurants or listen to the music that’s in style. Just a small percentage want to stand out. They want spectacular objects in a beautiful home and that’s where people like us come in.

Jaan: You’re totally doing it Jay! I interpreted the question as what is the value of craft in today’s manufacturing zeitgeist? I think craft is invaluable because it predicates all the objects that are manufactured- you still can’t just think objects into existence, although maybe we’ll be able to do so soon. You need to address your tools whatever they may be and pick them up and make something. I’m terribly biased of course because I think craft will become even more coveted in the future and not made obsolete by manufacture.

Neal: Today it seems like everyone can be an artist with a computer and 3D printing but that never interested me. I think the products are lifeless. There’s something about the human element that’s inexplicable and I don’t think anything will ever be able to replace that. I don’t think a machine can create soul and that’s what we’re looking at as craftspeople.

The versatile Emerald Credenza by Sholto Scruton can be customized in many different iterations including a cocktail bar.

Sholto: I think there’s a beautiful balance between the two. The danger is if you remove craft from the equation then you’ll have nothing to model your machines after.

What’s the most challenging aspect of balancing commercialism with your own work and still make a living?

 Jaan: You have to remain very honest and integral to what you do. You put your own ego out in the world of Instagram then have to put a price tag on it.

Neal: I’m constantly battling if I want to please somebody else. What really matters to me is the process of what you’re doing and money is just the reality that we all have to deal with.

The Boro Boro Chandelier by Neal Aronowitz is created from a cluster of crystallized stalactites of frozen energy made from frosted borosilicate glass tubes and rods. Photo: MK Photography

Posted in Contemporary, Design Community, Designer Showroom, Interior Design, Interior Design Show, Interior Design Showroom, Local, Modern, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MEET OUR (LOCAL) MAKERS: Vancouver glass-blower, Jaan Andres breathes reverence to the passage of time into all his vessels

By Laura Goldstein

“Colour Codes” Jaan Andres, hot sculpted, wheel finished glass bowl. Photo: Grant Hancock

The “glory hole” furnace is blazing red hot as Jaan Andres extracts his blowpipe and breathes into it ever so softly, almost like he’s playing a musical wind instrument. That’s when the alchemy of glass-blowing begins and the intricate birth of a molten vessel starts to take shape. “I just love the unpredictability of glass but your timing has to be exact,” says Andres who is working on a decorative collection entitled Tribe II, to be showcased at the SwitzerCultCreative booth at IDS-Vancouver, September 20-23rd  in the Convention Centre’s West Building.

A selection of his intricately crafted bowls and sculptural pieces can be found at the SwitzerCultCreative Showroom, 1725 West 3rd Avenue in Vancouver.

“Tribe II” Jaan Andres. Photo: courtesy of artist

Having grown up in the picturesque Haliburton region of Ontario, Andres was indirectly influenced by his uncle, celebrated Canadian abstract painter Jaan Poldaas. After moving to Calgary he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from ACAD and a Board of Governors Award for glass in 2007.

“I always loved the genre of graffiti – still do,” he laughs, “but I grew out of that as I entered art school in 2003 and then happened upon glass-blowing and that consumed my focus.”

Without knowing the exact source of his deep-seated inspiration, Andres began obsessively using the technique of coiling clear glass in a sedimentary building method. But it wasn’t until he attended the JamFactory’s Associate Training programme in Adelaide, Australia from 2009 to 2015, that he realized the huge impression that stratified rock had on his work. Perhaps inadvertently, the country’s rugged landscapes also made a subliminal impact on the glassblower and helped shape his aesthetic.

“My vessels became much more sculptural. It’s not about the motif of rock itself but more what they represent. I think rock faces are some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring surfaces in the world because they depict time in a physical sense,” he explains. “Shortly thereafter I saw a documentary on ice cores and realized that I had also been making similar pieces in the hot shop – long elongated cylinders of coils. Like the rings of trees and layers of rock sediment, ice cores can date back thousands of years.  My jaw dropped! I realized my work is ultimately about nature and in reverence to repetitive growth.”

“Acceleration Bowl” Jaan Andres. Photo courtesy of artist.

All of Andres’ pieces are textured, often using rich jewelled hues as a base over which he wraps coiled clear glass. His Axis Bowls incorporate wind-swept swirls that sit at a slight tilt while Ruby Sentinal is a tall, sensually-shaped bud vase or sculptural decorative object.

Andres has been exploring the more traditional technique of using canes and tiles to create more patterned forms in glass. “Everything around us is speeding up. Recently, my work uses both sedimentary and, what I perceive as its opposite, accelerated textures. By that I mean, when a pattern is drawn to a point, that is a physical representation of acceleration.”

Glass -blower, Jaan Andres working in the Terminal City Glass studio, Vancouver.

When not teaching classes at Terminal City Glass and working on his own projects and commissions, Andres has been blowing glass for three years for BOCCI, Omer Arbel’s contemporary design and manufacturing company for sculptural lighting based in Vancouver with a showroom in Berlin.

He has also been experimenting with his own lighting designs. Lumen resembles a glacial ice core sculpted in the hot shop and carved to a smooth finish in the cold shop. It’s mounted on a triangular piece of timber which suggests the object’s shadow.  Andres hopes to bring it into production in the future as a sconce or table lamp.

“Lumen” Jaan Andres

“I fell in love with making glass and one of the reasons I moved to Vancouver was because it’s more of a fledgling glass market here. It’s also an industrial design hub for makers to grow their business in an affluent city that appreciates hand-made work.”

 

 

Posted in Contemporary, Design Community, Design Competition, Designer Showroom, Interior Design, Interior Design Show, Interior Design Showroom, Lighting, Local, Modern | Leave a comment

MEET OUR MAKERS: Portland, Oregon furniture and lighting designer Neal Aronowitz is on a roll with his Concrete Canvas Collection

By Laura Goldstein

Neal Aronowitz - Whorl Left 2017

The Whorl Table received the People’s Choice Award from the 2017 Azure Magazine AZ Awards. Photo: Miroslav Trifonov

Concrete is a much in vogue 2018 interior design trend for countertops, fireplace surrounds and floors. It’s incredibly durable and adds a textured look especially when juxtaposed with organic materials like wood and stone. But who could imagine that the heavy medium could be molded like a pretzel into curvaceous tables that actually add an elegant airiness in a room?

Portland, Oregon-based furniture and lighting designer Neal Aronowitz Design/Art has the magic touch, using ‘concrete canvas’ to create his eponymous line of furniture available at SwitzerCultCreative, 1725 West 3rd Avenue in Vancouver.

“I really wanted to make concrete fly like a flying carpet,” laughs Aronowitz from his studio in Portland. “I used to make concrete countertops in my tile and stone business in New York before moving to Portland 22 years ago. Later I stumbled on a website that showed a concrete material on a roll- like cloth, that could have a highly flexible application when water is added. I made about twenty-five sketches of furniture and many experiments with wood forms, then wrapped them in wet concrete canvas clamped in place for 24 hours. I finally had my eureka moment, The Whorl Table.”

Like a ribbon unspooling in the wind, The Whorl Table is both minimalist and sculptural and can be colour customized and finished. And, rather than leaving you cold like some industrial concrete products, it actually evokes an emotional response. It received the People’s Choice Award from the 2017 Azure Magazine AZ Awards.

“The process for the Concrete Canvas Collection is really labour intensive and a real challenge to work with – about 100 hours to make each piece,” Aronowitz explains. He hires an assistant to help maneuver the concrete canvas through many complicated steps. “Furniture of this type has never been produced before so I had to come up with new casting and forming techniques to perfect manufacture.”

Neal Aronowitz - Enso

The Ensō Table was Inspired by the sensual art of Japanese ink painting. Photo: Miroslav Trifonov

The Whorl Console won the 2017 Gray Magazine Award for Product Design and was announced by internationally acclaimed German industrial designer and a competition judge, Ingo Maurer, who happens to be one of Aronowitz’s design idols.

Inspired by the sensual art of Japanese ink painting, The Ensō Table is the embodiment of a brush making a single, swift, expressive stroke from which Aronowitz has re-interpreted into a wall- fastened console in concrete canvas and polished aluminum. The Japanese character it emulates symbolizes enlightenment and the Zen state of mind.

With its indoor/outdoor versatility, The Concrete Canvas Collection seems a perfect ornamental yet functional addition to a private garden or public landscape. In fact, a Whorl Table was commissioned for a lush private oasis in the Hamptons while his Todas Table in concrete canvas and Cor-ten steel was designed for the boutique Hotel San Cristobal in Todos Santos, Baja, Mexico.

Not a man to rest on his laurels, Aronowitz has also explored the realm of sculptural lighting. His Boro Boro Chandelier and Boro Boro Floor Light look like something you’d see in a futuristic home on the fictional planet of Krypton: a cluster of crystallized stalactites of frozen energy are made from frosted borosilicate glass tubes and rods. Boro Boro Chandelier was a runner-up in the 2016 LAMP International Lighting Competition held in Vancouver. And speaking of celestial skies, Aronowitz’s Synodic Sconce captures the phases of the moon through twenty-eight hand-blown glass globes arranged in an arched pathway over Black Galaxy Granite.

Neal Aronowitz - Boro 2 2017

The Boro Boro Chandelier is created from a cluster of crystallized stalactites of frozen energy made from frosted borosilicate glass tubes and rods. Photo: MK Photography

“I want to experiment with more lighting although the furniture is extremely time consuming,” admits Aronowitz. “I studied art in college and love working on sculptural, one-of-a-kind pieces rather than anything mass produced. I really feel I’ve found my true passion.”

 

Posted in Contemporary, Design Community, Designer Showroom, Interior Design, Interior Design Show, Lighting, Luxury, Modern, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MEET OUR (INTERNATIONAL) MAKERS: With a salute to the glamourous era of Art Deco, Israeli Furniture Designer, Hagit Pincovici brings Italian craftsmanship to Canada

by Laura Goldstein

Hagit Pincovicci With Cabinet 102

Hagit Pincovicci with “Cabinet 102” at the SwitzerCultCreative Showroom. Photo: Grace Lanuza

On Monday, May 28th,  acclaimed Israeli furniture designer, Hagit Pincovici visited the SwitzerCultCreative Showroom to launch her newest collections and engage guests with a talk on the origins of her design inspiration.

Her use of dramatic colour combinations continues to pervade her furniture and lighting creations, all hand-crafted in Italy. With her studio based in Brianza since 2014, Pincovici, a 3rd generation maker, has been on a whirlwind exhibition circuit from the Salone del Mobile, Milan then the ICFF (International Furniture Fair) in New York before touching down in Vancouver, her first appearance in Canada.

Hagit Pincovicci Marble Coffee Table

“From Above” Marble Coffee Table an abstract aerial landscape in wood and hand varnished. Photo: courtesy Hagit Pincovicci

SwitzerCultCreative, 1725 West 3rd Avenue in Vancouver is the exclusive purveyor of Hagit Pincovici Collections in Canada.

“I’m so impressed with Vancouver – it’s so peaceful and modern, and everyone jogs,” laughs Pincovici, who also found time to visit the Museum of Anthropology.

Pincovici fondly remembers her grandparents’ atelier in Tel Aviv where they produced furniture and home accessories molded from colourful Plexiglass. A graduate in Industrial Design from the renowned Bezalel Academy of Art & Design in Jerusalem, Pincovici worked her way up as head of product development for Aqua Creations in Israel, organizing their exhibition at the annual Salone del Mobile, in Milan. She decided to re-locate to Italy “where I fell in love with the Italian spirit of creativity,” she explains.

Hagit Pincovicci - Flamingo

“Flamingo” Is a sculptural side table or jewelry case with pivoting hidden drawer on thin brass legs. Photo: courtesy Hagit Pincovicci

“I’m really inspired by artworks of contemporary painters and even fashion designers,” says Pincovici sporting a cherry red silk pleated jacket by Issey Miyake. Her From Above Coffee Tables from the Metaphysics Collection resemble pinwheels of abstract landscapes from an aerial perspective. “I began by looking at British designer, Paul Smith’s amazing juxtapositions of colours in his clothing collections,” she confides. Pincovici said she is also influenced by the late modernist architect, Carlo Scarpa and his love for interlocking geometric shapes.

She likes to draw her designs by hand on huge pieces of paper mounted on her studio walls and will sometimes create 3D models of her furniture.

All Pincovici’s furniture calls to mind a distinctly Art Deco glamour; elegant, streamlined geometric pieces are finished with up to five layers of lacquer inspired by Japanese techniques, giving each piece an alluring luminosity. (Pincovici lived in Japan for five months between her academic years.) Many incorporate brushed brass and Marquina marble and are equally sculptural and functional. Some, like the Flamingo Side Table and new Cabinet 102, disguise her penchant for secret storage drawers not apparent at first glance. Her Eclipse Table Series envisages abstract moons in Carrara-veined marble with brass inlays on slim brushed brass legs. Winged End Tables from the new Intersections Collection combines elements from both her Metaphysics and Eclipse Collections to create a contrast of shapes, colours and materials on two attached yet distinct platforms. Pincovici’s collections are available in customized colours.

Her exploration into new lighting iterations led to Lampada 13 Wall Sconce,a luxurious architectural expression of a waning moon in hand-blown glass, Marquina marble and brass. A floor lamp is in the works.

Hagit Pincovicci - Lampada 13

Lampada 13 Hand-crafted in Italy, Lampada 13 is a luxurious wall sconce in brass, Marquina marble and hand-blown glass. Photo: courtesy Hagit Pincovicci

When she’s not working in her studio, Pincovici is also an instructor once a week at NABA (Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti,) in Milan. “I love teaching and guiding design students in their final year,” she explains.

“You know, I started with family and everyone I work with in Italy are also 2nd and 3rd generation in their trades. I have the greatest respect for the traditions of hand-made.”

 

 

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MEET OUR (LOCAL) MAKERS: Sholto Scruton melds tradition with modernity to create timeless furniture pieces built with respect for the environment

By Laura Goldstein

Sholto Scruton

The designer-maker, Sholto Scruton in his Strathcona studio in Vancouver.

The importance of cultural heritage, sustainability and the responsibility of the designer to contribute to a healthy environment are foremost in Sholto Scruton’s mind when he approaches furniture design. In conjunction with Vancouver Design Week, he’ll be speaking on these subjects on Saturday, May 12that 1:00 p.m. and showcasing his intricately crafted furniture at SwitzerCultCreative 1725 West 3rd Avenue in Vancouver.

“I tend to make things that are purposely built with an intention to solve a problem,” he explains from his workshop, Sholto Design Studio in the Strathcona area of Vancouver. “For example, right now I’m working on benches commissioned for the Canadian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale by Vancouver landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander. We just got the approvals but it’s built on uneven ground from the Napoleonic times so the benches have to be stabilized to accommodate the landscape.”

Sholto Scruton - SDS sfu science

One of a series of bench commissions for Simon Fraser University designed by Sholto Scruton.

For another project, he’s designing 53 jewellery cases for the Bill Reid Gallery from 16 cedar logs pulled from the Sunshine Coast that will honour Reid’s Haida culture. Scruton is collaborating with renowned Haida artist, Corey Bullpitt to ensure cultural authenticity on all of the work.

Born in Northern England into a family of furniture makers specializing in antique finishing (Sholto is a Gaelic name,) he’s a graduate of the Masters Program in Industrial Design at Manchester Metropolitan University. “I always thought I’d be working in plastics and metal,” he admits. Scruton immigrated and was raised in Northern B.C. and is married to Scandinavian graphic designer, Berit Hansen. “We come from cold places,” he laughs, “but the mix of cultures has shaped the way I design furniture to warm a space.”

Sholto Scruton - SDS emerald coffee table

The Emerald Coffee Table hewn from solid walnut or oak with a hexagonal parquetry wood top.

His Emerald Collection began when “I wanted something unique and thought of the ‘emerald cut’ of a gemstone.” Both the coffee table and side table, hewn from solid walnut or oak in a hexagonal parquetry wood top, “were designed to feel both light and strong, angular yet soft, organic and logical and hand-rubbed with non-toxic natural oil and wax finish,” Scruton explains. Legs are available in solid wood but conceived in plated rose gold, chrome or brass instills a really modern vibe to the piece as a whole.

His rectangular Emerald Dining Table available in three sizes (or custom,) has been in great demand at Canadian Embassies and private residences in Barcelona, Brussels, Hanoi and Tanzania to name only a few.

Sholto Scruton - SDS emerald dining table

The Emerald Dining Table by Sholto Shuton has been a popular commission for international Canadian consulates.

“I first built the Emerald Credenza for my wife who wanted something in which to store files, says Sholto. “But then I thought, ‘why not a beautiful cabinet that could also store records, a wine rack and even as a bar?’” And voila! Like a magician’s box, the sleek cabinet, assembled with light-reflecting mortise and tenon joints in white oak, walnut, black oak or fir, cleverly conceals the aforementioned options. Should you choose the cocktail service, The Emerald Credenza top opens to reveal a cutting board and compartments for all your bar-tending needs.

Teaching the business side of industrial design part-time at the Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic in Richmond, Scruton hopes he can impart a sense of social responsibility through sustainability and good manufacturing process to his students.

“I like to practice what I preach,” he says of the importance of durable, easily repairable furniture over trendy throw-away products.

Instilling those values in his students also includes his 7-year-old son, Finn who is already handy with a hammer and drill and has built his first chair.

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MEET OUR (LOCAL) MAKERS: Bespoke furniture maker, Jason Klager is inspired by the simplicity of Japanese design

by Laura Goldstein

Jason Klager - 021 Klager 2013

Many of Jason Klager’s designs have a distinct Asian influence. He used black walnut, western maple, zebrano, wenge & imbuya woods with pierced carvings of branches in his “Autumn’s Display” cabinet. Photo: focalpointestudios.ca

Jason Klager has never visited Japan but it’s on his bucket list. The custom fine furniture and cabinet maker creates subtly elegant streamlined pieces in beautiful contrasting wood grains. Many designs have a distinct Asian influence: pierced carvings of tree branches resembling lace are all hand-made; brushstrokes emulate swimming koi and hidden compartments all inspire a Zen-like affinity with nature.

“I love Japanese Tansu (storage cabinets) and puzzles,” says Klager from his studio in Prince George, British Columbia. “My Matsuba Coffee Table was made for a Japanese client and I used several exotic woods like wenge and zebrano with black walnut and mahogany. It opens into various removable compartments and hidden drawers.” Furniture by studio klager can be found at SwitzerCultCreative 1725 West 3rd Avenue in Vancouver.

His newest iteration is his Folio Table Series in walnut, white oak and the boldly striped zebrano wood tops. The geometric tables have a wood base with some sprayed with a black conversion varnish and resemble building blocks for adults. They can be combined in multiple permutations including stacked to add height.

Klager's newest furniture collection is his "Folio Table Series" Photo: focalpointestudios.ca

Klager’s newest furniture collection is his “Folio Table Series” in walnut. Photo: John Watson

“Working in exotic woods like zebrano, highly reflective bubinga from Africa or wenge though beautiful, are expensive and much more temperamental in our climate so I also work a lot in local woods like birch,walnut and pine that tolerate our cold, dry winters,” explains Klager. His furniture is coveted by the Canadian Consulate in Iceland and for official residences in Beijing and Guyana all through SwitzerCultCreative .

Jason Klager - Fingerprints+2017

Klager created the imaginative design and furniture for Fingerprints Early Learning Centre, Prince George. Photo: focalpointestudios.ca

The versatile cabinetmaker who received his training at Inside Passage School of Fine Woodworking on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast, is also in great demand designing imaginative, modern learning centres for children. The Duchess Learning Centre in Prince George boasts sturdy, child-size play kitchens in wood with a real sink, cubbies, art easels and a cleverly elevated platform and reading area with slide.  Even adults would love to lounge in Fingerprints Early Learning Centre, Prince George with it’s cool cantilever platform like the prow of a ship; polycarbonate covered circle hammock in which to read and a spectacular loft with an elevated maze equipped with motion-activated LED lights throughout.

The father of two boys, Klager turned one son’s bed into a gold miner’s cabin with canvas over the top and LED lights.

“It takes time and patience, but for me making bespoke furniture is a labour of love.”

Jason Klager

Bespoke furniture craftsman, Jason Klager at work in his Prince George, B.C. studio. Photo: focalpointestudios.ca

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