Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Robson Square + Picnurbia

As the repairs to Robson Square draw to a close the space is coming alive again.

It's a chance to experience the landscape anew, almost like stepping back thirty years. Granted, I miss the mature plantings that provided quiet shelter from the city but the renewal closely reflects the original design.

Meanwhile the stretch of Robson Street between Hornby and Howe remains closed off, a temporary pedestrian zone that allows the north and south blocks of Robson Square to meld together.

An intriguing installation has appeared there recently: Picnurbia, a pop-up park in the form of undulating waves of soft yellow turf, interrupted only by sun umbrellas and wooden seats that span the hollows. The soft forms invite exploration and reimagine the urban experience.

It's an unexpected delight to come across Picnurbia - I encountered it in the quiet of early morning and had breakfast while lounging, with Robson Square as a backdrop. Quite remarkable.

Picnurbia is the work of The Loose Affiliates, a Vancouver-based design collective that explores how urban space is used, searching out opportunities where none appear to exist. It's a summer installation so check it out while while the weather is warm.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

P4A #6

Guest speaker Omer Arbel will join hosts Anant Topiwala, Anne Pearson and Christine Wang for the sixth edition of Party For Architects.

The action happens Thursday, August 25th at Vancouver Special and should be a great night of Peroni-fueled discussion about our built environment.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Artist's Circle in West Vancouver

This is the final weekend of The Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver. If you haven't had a chance to check it out, it's well worth a visit.

The festival highlights the rich cultural life of West Vancouver, both past and present. The Museum has had a strong showing this year, organizing The Artist's Circle–a ten day exhibit of ten artists in a temporary gallery set up by the seaside.

The location is frankly spectacular and the artwork matches the locale, including works by Gordon Smith, B.C. Binning, Douglas Coupland, Ian Wallace, Attilla Richard Lukacs and Joan Balzar.

It's the brainchild of Curator Darrin Morrison who had a vision of art by the sea as a way to promote West Vancouver's artistic legacy. It also foreshadows a plan for a larger, dedicated space to house the municipality's significant cultural holdings and engaging exhibitions.

Morrison has shown through his resourceful and inspired use of the current tiny Museum building that a new purpose-built facility would be well used and an invaluable addition to the community.

One of the highlights of the festival was a talk by Gordon Smith, Douglas Coupland and Ian Wallace. Each artist has a deep connection to the local rugged landscape and it was a loose but engaging round table discussion.

Smith held court as elder statesman, while always singing the praises of other artists' work. I can't think of another venue where you might hear a story about the Smiths hosting PM Pierre Trudeau and his family along with the Binnings and a bathrobed Arthur Erickson.

Still, one of the most remarkable things about Smith is how current he remains in his knowledge of contemporary arts, culture and architecture, even at the age of 92. The man is an art machine.

Coupland and Wallace were gracious and offered insights into their methods and the influence that West Vancouver has had on their work.

Kudos to West Vancouver, the curators and the artists involved for bringing together a terrific event.

Untitled, B.C. Binning

Monday, August 1, 2011

Illustrated Vancouver

A wonderful site showing Vancouver through illustration.

Via Eve Lazarus' blog which in turn has an excellent write up on Malcolm Lowry's time in the city.