Ones to Watch: Gamla
This design company celebrates functionality in its simplest form.
“Our whole practice is all about experimentation,” explains Brent Freedman, founder of B.C.-based design company Gamla. “It’s about reducing things down to the most honest version of the design.” Along with Robin McMillan, the managerial half of the pair, Freedman produces handcrafted furniture and lifestyle objects (think slim white-oak lounge chairs and Scandinavian-inspired coffee tables) using high-quality, sustainable materials, creating “inspired versions” of things they need.
This past year proved to be a big one for the duo: not only was Gamla shortlisted for Western Living’s Designers of the Year Awards, they also acquired one of their highest-profile clients to date. The Canadian Consulate in London, England, ordered 12 of Gamla’s structurally precise S2 chairs to be featured in their newly expanded building. That fateful order brought the pair to a crossroads. “The decision was to either scale up our manufacturing or keep it simple and special,” says McMillan. They opted for the latter, and at the end of 2014, transplanted their downtown Vancouver design studio to Bowen Island. “We want to live and work on a scale that will continue to represent our lives,” says Freedman.