7 Reasons Check Out Vancouver Design Week
The coolest events to check out at the annual design fest—one for every day of the week.
If you’re in a creative drought, the upcoming Vancouver Design Week (May 7 to 13)—a jam-packed week of workshops, exhibits, open houses, events and parties to reinvigorate and inspire—may be exactly what you need. The city’s only official interdisciplinary design festival (which took a hiatus two years ago and only returned in 2017 for one weekend) is back with a full program and, for the first time, has an official theme: impact. And to help you navigate through the 90-plus events happening across the Lower Mainland (all of which will focus on the impact Vancouver design culture has on our society), we’ve compiled a list of the one’s we’re most excited about.
1. When the Plants Start Talking
Is your houseplant trying to tell you something (besides, “Water me!”)? Local luxury tea brand, Tealeaves, has partnered with UBC Botanical Gardens, and architectural firms Christine Lintott Architects and PFS Studio, for Garden of Secrets, a panel discussion on plant-inspired biomimicry and biophilic design inspiration. Be it app or interior design, learn how to take inspiration from botanics no matter the project (and take a tour of the gardens while you’re at it)—the plants were here first and they have something to teach us.
Monday, May 7
7 to 10 p.m.
Tickets: From $18
2. Chit-Chat with the Pros
Created in Tokyo in 2003, PechaKucha Night (derived from the Japanese word for chit-chat and prounounced pe-sh-a-koo-sh-a), is now a worldwide creative event that invites speakers to discuss their latest work in 20 slides, with just 20 seconds of time alloted per slide—whoo, boy! The super-fastpaced talk that’s part of VDW features Chef Angus An of Maenam, Jamie Smith of Thrive Art Studio, landscape architect and urban designer Joseph Fry, and the Aviary‘s Stella Cheung Boyland and Andrea Mclean, among other awesome creatives.
Tuesday, May 8
7 to 9 p.m. (doors at 6:20)
3. Shop on the Morning Commute
We love a good pop-up shop—and North American company thisopenspace know how to do it better than anyone else; they often transform cool locations into pop-up shops for emerging local designers. For Vancouver Design Week, the historic Waterfront Station will become a one-time-only shop where people can browse unique fashion, gifts and homewares while speaking to the designers themselves.
Monday, May 7 to Friday, May 11
11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Waterfront Station, 601 W Cordova St.
4. Class is in Session
Calling all design nerds! Do you know a ridiculous amount about interdisciplinary design but don’t have a platform to show your skills? This is the event for you! Gather six of your closest friends and head to the Railway Stage and Beer Cafe for the Engine Digital: Make It POP Quiz, a pub trivia night covering all things design—from graphic to architectural and everything in between. For once, your knowledge of Buckminster Fuller will be celebrated instead of ridiculed.
Thursday, May 10
6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Railway Stage and Beer Cafe, 579 Dunsmuir St.
Registration now open
5. Knights of the Perfectly Constructed Round Table
Join WL Editorial Director Anicka Quin for a discussion about the importance of West Coast design. Five panelists—former Designers of the Year Kate Duncan and Michael Leckie, along with David Battersby of BattersbyHowat, Mo Dhaliwal of Skyrocket Digital and Bonne Zabolotney of Emily Carr—will each give a short presentation, followed by a round-table discussion and a Q&A with the audience.
Friday, May 11
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
6. City of Glass Tour
Ever looked at a city landmark and wondered how it got there? Architect Seth Ruthen wants to take you on a tour of Vancouver’s most influential buildings. From Canada Place to Christ Church Cathedral to Robson Square, the 90-minute architectural walk starting at Waterfront and heading along Burrard will give you a new perspective on the local landscape.
Saturday, May 12
1:00 to 2:30 p.m.
Meet at Waterfront Station, 601 W Cordova St.
7. Do it For the Bees
Hives for Humanity and Faculty Brewing Co. have teamed up to create a special beer just for VDW. Wrap up the week with a brew in hand while discussing the design of the bike-shop-turned-craft-brewery with architect and owner Alicia (who also happens to be married to brewmaster Mauricio)—all in benefit of the bees!
Sunday, May 13
11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
1830 Ontario St.