July 2017

Wine and Design

It is no secret that the Okanagan is home to British Columbia’s best wineries. Why not slow down this weekend and go on a getaway to experience the timeless world of winemaking? With spectacular views of the Okanagan Lake, these wineries must be at the top of your to-do list! You can spend all weekend winery hopping, but Mission Hill Winery and Quails’ Gate Estate Winery are the ones you can easily spend an entire day.  Located in West Kelowna and only a few minutes’ drive from each other, both wineries offer a one-of-a-kind experience. Whether you’re a connoisseur or are new to the art of wine, there is plenty for you to enjoy. Pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable weekend!

Mission Hill Winery

From the moment you pass through the enormous gates into Mission Hill life seems to slow down and you instantly feel like you have entered into an exclusive estate. The grounds are impeccably manicured with the vineyard on display right at the entrance. Follow the path through the contemporary archway into the inner courtyard and take in the 12-storey bell tower that is the centerpiece of the piazza. The spectacular architecture designed by architect Tom Kundig of Olson Kundig Architects gives a nod to tradition without crossing the line. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly think that you are in Italy! Enjoy the views overlooking rows of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir while sipping a glass of wine and grabbing a bite to eat at the outdoor Terrace Restaurant.  The fresh produce is mostly grown in the estate Varietal Garden! When you are done, find your way past the fountain and into the wine boutique. You can easily spend hours at the tasting bar and admiring the thoughtful product displays here! For those who want a complete wine country experience, we suggest taking one of the many tours and experiences that Mission Hill offers. If you plan ahead you might also be able to snag a hot ticket to one of the concerts  held in the winery’s ampitheatre for an unforgettable night filled with delicious cuisine, wine and music.

Quail’s Gate

With equally stunning views of Okanagan Lake is Quails’ Gate. For a true taste of the Okanagan, a meal at the Old Vines Restaurant is a must. It is renowned as one of the top 100 restaurants in Canada and is definitely worth the visit. Reserve a table on the terrace and enjoy your lunch or dinner in the vineyard setting with your glasses of wine. The tasting and tour options are also very educational. How about giving the Chocolate & Wine Tasting a try? It is sure to be delightful! We also love that Quails’ Gate offers two complimentary wines at their Wine Bar Tasting in the Wine Shop. We highly recommend tasting the Riesling Icewine and taking a bottle home with you! If you have an extensive budget and want to splurge for the weekend with a bunch of friends, you can even rent out The Lake House at Quails’ Gate. It is nestled at the bottom of the vineyards and has amenities such as multiple patios, a hot tub, gas fire pit and a chef’s dream kitchen. It will without a doubt be a weekend to remember!

Which winery will you visit first? Let us know in the comments below! #area3wine&design

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Ohayo Gozaimasu Japan

I recently had the great fortune of visiting Japan for a few weeks on a holiday. For many years my business partner said – you must go, you will love it. She was right! In preparation I spent a few months listening to the Pimseleur audio tapes driving to and from work. Every morning I would attempt to speak a little more. Luckily my business partner had lived in Japan previously and would converse with me daily. This did come in handy during my trip. Hint – be sure to have directions written in Japanese should you choose to hop in a cab, most drivers don’t speak English. Japan is so unlike Canada in many ways. The formality of the people, everything you look at is steeped in tradition and history. My friends loved the abundance of seafood, sushi and of course the noodles. For me, the architecture was it. There is nothing better as a designer than the ability to visit in person and see a building or a space you studied in school or have glossed over many times in magazines and books. Below are just a few of my favorites and most memorable stops.

We visited many of the neighborhoods in Tokyo, each so unique. One sunny day we thought it would be fun to take the train to the “Harajuku” area and see all the colorful and quirky teenage girls dressed up. Unfortunately it was a school day so we only caught a glimpse of a few, however on the other side of town is a tree lined street called Omotesando. Here was an architectural dream of “who’s who”. Couture store upon store, but forget the fashion (for a moment). It was the buildings themselves. Prada the tall iconic glass structure by the famed Herzong & De Meuron and modern concrete form that housed the Tod’s store are only two of many that line this street and fought for your attention.  As I was standing across the street taking photos a women walked up to me who was an avid traveller from Jerusalem. She knew every building, and architectural firm that had designed it. Delighted to have someone to converse with she told me she visits Japan once a year just to see the architecture. She gave me a tip and suggested I must stop at this lovely pineapple bake shop a few blocks away. She did not disappoint! SunnyHills cake shop designed by Kengo Kuma was one of the coolest places I saw during my trip. The space has been featured in multiple magazines like Dezeen, Detail, and Arch Daily. The building consists of hinoki cypress and takes its inspiration from Cidori, a traditional Japanese toy in which timber slats are joined by means of milled cut-outs, not by nails or other connectors. So simply stunning. Truly one of those spaces you need to see in person to truly appreciate. The interior is minimalist and modern with concrete stairs and reception which was equally exciting.

 

 

The Roppongi area hosts many museums and art galleries. Only in Japan have I ever waited 30 minutes just to purchase a ticket for entry. This was at the Mori Art Museum which also houses an observation deck with panoramic views. I wondered if the Marvel: Age of heroes (which was one of the current temporary exhibits) caused the crowds. I would later decide not, after visiting many museums seems the Japanese have much more appreciation for art and design. One of my favorites is designed by the talented Tadao Ando. 21_21 Design Sight is a low rise structure with steel roof plates that gently slope down to the ground. The building sits quietly among the beautiful landscaping in a park behind a massive mall, hotel and restaurants. So discreet you could almost miss it. As the website states this venue allows you to redirect your eyes to everyday things, and events and make discoveries from the design point of view. This is a space to openly communicate and evaluate the design process. The one building houses the store and current exhibit and the second seemed like a lecture hall. Wouldn’t it be great as a designer to have such an amazing space to attend an event or be inspired on a regular basis? My biggest regret was not signing up months in advance so I could attend a service at Tadao Ando’s church of light. Next visit for sure. In the meantime I was able to observe some of his handy work and details in this great museum. The public washroom even had one his famous linear light wells.

If you have ever wanted to see the craziest and busiest intersection in the world (Shibuya)? Eat sushi that came off a conveyer belt? Hope for a sighting of a Geisha girl (I saw two) in the Gion, Kyoto district? View some of the most stunning and lush gardens, colorful temples, or see the largest Koi fish jump. Then I suggest you book your next vacation in Japan. Once you return be sure to share your favorite story and especially your architecture experience. #area3japan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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