Mak­ing of a mar­ket­place

The Globe and Mail (Alberta Edition) - - GLOBE STYLE -

Too big for craft fairs but too small for in­dus­try trade shows, Van­cou­ver-based fur­ni­ture de­signer Kate Dun­can cre­ated her own show­case. The re­sult is an an­nual show for emerg­ing mak­ers on the West Coast

Some­times not fit­ting in is good thing. “I had done some craft mar­kets, and then I had done a cou­ple of trade shows,” says Van­cou­ver­based de­signer-maker Kate Dun­can. “I felt like where I was at with my brand and my busi­ness I didn’t quite fit into ei­ther model.”

Peo­ple go to craft mar­kets to spend maybe $50 to $100, says Dun­can, not $10,000 on a ta­ble. But at trade shows like the In­te­rior De­sign Show, she says her work – clean, con­tem­po­rary fur­ni­ture that re­flects her metic­u­lous wood­work­ing skills and a Ja­panese aes­thetic – felt out of place ex­hib­ited along­side large cor­po­rate brands, so she de­cided to put on her own show. “I reached out to a bunch of mak­ers and de­sign­ers who I thought were maybe in a sim­i­lar po­si­tion with their brands, and I ad­mired their work,” she says. “And I said ‘Hey, why don’t we do this?’”

As a re­sult, Ad­dress was born. Launched in 2014, the an­nual de­sign show­case high­lights the work of lead­ing and up-and-com­ing de­signer-mak­ers from the Pa­cific North­west, and in­cludes fur­ni­ture, light­ing, tex­tiles, sculp­ture, fine art and home ac­ces­sories. This year the show runs May 25-28 in East Van­cou­ver’s El­lis Build­ing and will fea­ture the work of over 30 ex­hibitors, in­clud­ing new­com­ers from Seat­tle and Port­land, Ore­gon. As op­posed to be­ing “booth-cen­tric,” ev­ery­one’s work will be mixed to­gether in highly cu­rated vi­gnettes, such as bed­room and din­ing room scenes you’ll want to cart home. “Any­body who’s any­body in the de­sign com­mu­nity, I find, at some point will walk through the doors of the show,” says Dun­can. “It’s good to ac­tu­ally con­nect face to face. Ev­ery­body gets their head out of their com­put­ers and says, ‘Hi,’ and it’s not just de­sign­er­mak­ers, it’s in­te­rior de­sign­ers, ar­chi­tects and de­sign en­thu­si­asts in the city.”

In­te­rior de­signer Am­ber Kingsnorth of Mak In­te­ri­ors has styled the event for the past few years and has had the chal­lenge of putting it all to­gether in a new space, a 4,000-square-foot ware­house on Main Street. Kingsnorth says she loves the show be­cause it’s all about high­light­ing lo­cal de­sign. “You kind of get caught up in sourc­ing th­ese quick and easy pieces that are off-shore, or from big-box stores,” she says. “Be­cause that’s what clients know about, and that’s what they sort of ask for. This is a chance for de­sign­ers to have their eyes open. There are so many tal­ented peo­ple here, it’s crazy.”

One ex­am­ple of this tal­ent, says Kingsnorth, is the light­ing and sculp­tural work of Van­cou­ver’s Pro­pel­lor De­sign, who are ex­hibit­ing for a third year. The show has been re­ally help­ful in al­low­ing them to get their work in front of a lo­cal au­di­ence, says de­signer and part­ner at Pro­pel­lor Toby Bar­ratt, who is find­ing in­te­rior de­sign­ers and ar­chi­tects have a real hunger for lo­cally pro­duced work. “We find that our clients here in the city re­ally like be­ing able to come by the stu­dio and jam on ideas with us and take pride in sup­port­ing the lo­cal de­sign scene,” he says.

The aes­thetic of the show un­til this point has been very clean and nat­u­ral, Kingsnorth says, and this year they’re “punch­ing it up a bit” with some more graphic-in­spired new­com­ers: Eik­cam, quirky ce­ram­ics by Grace Lee, and tex­tiles with fresh prints and pat­terns by An­nie Chen of Le­monni.

Like her own work, Dun­can says Ad­dress has evolved every year and is now much big­ger than she ever imag­ined it would be. As for this year’s show: “I just hope it’s big­ger and bet­ter than the last one, which was al­ready amaz­ing,” she says.

FINE LINES Kate Dun­can (above left) founded Ad­dress in 2014 to cre­ate a mar­ket­place for up-and-com­ing de­sign­ers on the West Coast. Among those show­ing at this year’s edi­tion are light­ing de­sign­ers Pro­pel­l0r (above), and Eik­cam (left), a line of quirky ce­ram­ics by artist Grace Lee.

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