The Case for The West’s Design Industry
As exhibited by the West Vancouver Museum.
“It’s about ‘design’ as a verb, as a noun,” says Barry Marshall, Principal of EDG Experience Design Group and curator of the West Vancouver Museum’s Why Design Now?: A West Coast Context on view until August 27.
The exhibit focusses on how items are created, rather than how they are used. “Design is a curious beast,” says Marshall, “Everybody knows a designer here. We are much more attentive than we used to be about design when we are picking our clothes or home goods, whether we are shopping at Ikea or Inform.”
As part of the exhibition, Marshall takes the story of Neils Bendsten’s U Turn seating range: “That was only launched in 2014 and thousands have been sold all over the world,” explains Marshall. “This product was designed in Vancouver, manufactured mostly in Italy, assembled in Europe then sold all over the world. A lot of people think you can’t do that in Vancouver, that you can’t do that in Canada, but there are good examples of it happening here, and this exhibit shows why.”
Marshall has called together some of the best designers the West Coast has to offer as part of a speaker event taking place tomorrow (August 13th) at the museum. With guest speakers like Niels and Nancy Bendsten, Toby Barrett of Propellor, and Brent Comber, it’s of little wonder the event sold out within 48 hours. “There’s not much space at the museum for events like these,” says Marshall, “That’s another problem we are trying to address. There is a real lack of a centre for design in Vancouver. If you look at somewhere like Toronto, they have the Design Exchange, but currently when notable designers come to town we are trying to cram 500 people in to Inform Interiors to listen to speakers talk.”
Why Design Now?: A West Coast Context is running at the West Vancouver Museum from now until August 27th.