Design

Winter Staycations

We all know someone who has already started to count down the number of days until Christmas. For the rest of us, our dreams may consist of just a few relaxing vacation days without the holiday season stress. Before you deep dive into the season’s festivities, why not consider a little staycation right here in BC’s backyard? Just a weekend will do the trick and we have just the places for you! Keep reading for three winter staycations on our bucket list.

Penticton Lakeside Resort

The Okanagan is ever popular in the summer, but it is also a fantastic getaway destination in the winter! Penticton is a short four hour drive from Vancouver and is not only a beautiful getaway, but also a lot of fun! Whether you are an adventure seeker and want to try a snowshoeing adventure [http://www.hoodooadventures.ca/snowshoeing/], cross-country skiing, or prefer to do something more laid back, there’s something for everyone. The quintessential wine tasting is still an option in the winter and some fresh picks can also be found at the Penticton Winter Farmer’s Market. Make sure to stay at the Penticton Lakeside Resort [https://www.pentictonlakesideresort.com/] which is situated right on the lake. Every year, the hotel gets into the holiday spirit with a fully decorated lobby and they also convert their private beach into an outdoor ice-rink! The resort is also home to Penticton’s only casino and the Hooded Marganser restaurant which has stunning lake views and delicious food.

Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort

Getting up early, bundling up and hitting the slopes isn’t your winter style? If dipping your toes into warm natural mineral waters of lounging pools sounds like heaven, then Ainsworth Hot Springs [http://www.ainsworthhotsprings.com/] in BC’s Kootenay region is for you. The Ktunaxa First Nations peoples were the first to visit these soothing, warm waters for their restorative properties after a long day of hunting, gathering and fishing. You can explore the unique horseshoe-shaped hot spring cave with its stalactites and stalagmites – the hottest pool on site – soaking in the mineral waters. Once you are in need of some cooling, jump into the stream-fed cold plunge. In need of some further relaxation? Visit the Spirit Water Spa for a massage or body wrap. Later on in the day, take a serene and scenic hike through surrounding forest trails and come back to a scrumptious dinner at the Ktunaxa Grill. A perfect getaway to restore your mind, body and spirit if you ask us!

The Wickaninnish Inn

Looking for some island time? Tofino is not only fantastic for surfing in the summer, but is also great for a weekend of rest and relaxation at the Wickaninnish Inn [https://www.wickinn.com/]. Start your day here by taking in the majestic Vancouver Island coastline from your room then head over to the Rainforest Haven studio for a rejuvinating yoga class. Continue the day with some treatments and packages at the Ancient Cedars Spa and top it off with a farm-fresh meal from The Pointe Restaurant. The perk to the Wickaninnish Inn is their pet-friendly rooms and dog sitting, so your fur babies don’t need to be left at home. Children are also welcome and can be taken care of by babysitters when the time comes for your well-deserved massage and glass of wine!

Where will you go for your winter staycation? Let us know with the hashtag #area3staycation

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Around Town

It’s been awhile since we have talked about the neighborhoods in our beautiful city of Vancouver. The last one was “3 Must-see Design Districts in Vancouver.” This time, we are featuring neighborhoods around our downtown core – Railtown, Chinatown and Yaletown. They are jam packed with great finds and will leave you wanting to come back for more! As a designer we always appreciate an inspiring space whether thats a coffee shop, retail space or beautiful building! We suggest you take your time walking each street and popping into unexpected shops and cafes. Keep reading for a few our favorites!

Railtown

Chances are, you have never been to Railtown or have not even heard of it before. It is just East of the always busy and tourist filled Gastown. It is definitely a bit more quiet and industrial, but if you venture out this way, you are sure to come across some gems. Looking for a place to grab brunch this weekend? Ask for Luigi is just the place if you fancy a fresh hand-made pasta in a casual yet intimate setting. Be sure to arrive early as there are no reservations! Another good place to pop-by for a good evening is The Belgard Kitchen and Postmark Brewing. You won’t miss it when you drive by because of its enormous wood doors. Inside, you can choose to taste some of Postmark’s beer brewed on location before grabbing a seat and enjoying some modern tapas. Finally, if you’re looking for something very unique and custom for your home, you should definitely head over to Alexander Centre (611 Alexander St.). This is where you will find the showrooms of companies such as Crown Wallpaper and Fabrics, AnneStarr and Jan Kath. You have been warned, you will get lost in the land of wallpaper, fabrics and rugs! Heads up though, not all of these designer showrooms are open to the public so be sure to call first.

Chinatown

Did you know that Vancouver’s Chinatown is the largest in North America? No wonder it is a tourist destination! Other than the beautiful Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens – which everyone should visit at least once – Chinatown is packed with many great places to shop and eat. Looking for some new cookware? Ming Wo  is filled with great finds, whether it is some new cutlery, dishware or a new kitchen gadget. For those who are into street-style fashion, be sure to wander into El Kartel. Although it may look insignificant from the street, the store is quite large on the inside and has something for both males and females. Looking for a quick snack? Pop into New Town Bakery & Restaurant  and pick up a couple of fresh Chinese buns and be sure to get a Hong-Kong style milk tea while you’re at it! Finally, if you find yourself in Chinatown on an evening, take a seat at Juniper and enjoy one of their charcuterie boards with a glass of wine. It’s a great place to catch up with a few friends!

Yaletown

Hip and always happening, Yaletown doesn’t ever seem to sleep. In the summer, the restaurant patios are always packed and there is constant buzz on Mainland and Hamilton Streets. It is very easy to do some shopping absolutely anything in this neighborhood. Start the day off with a pastry and coffee at the ever-popular Small Victory Bread & Coffee. Looking for something for your home? Be sure to check out The Cross Décor & Design. For those of you who like to spoil your furry friends, Barking Babies is the place for you! Got a sweet tooth? Karameller Candy Shop is your next stop for some irresistible Swedish candies. Of course, Yaletown has plenty of places to grab a bit to eat. The Banter Room  has an eclectic interior that’s perfect for lunch whereas a whimsical night sipping wine in the courtyard of Brix and Mortar is an absolute must.

Which neighborhood will you check out first? Let us know with the hashtag #area3aroundtown

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Fall Back in Style

Without a doubt Fall has now arrived in Vancouver. Warm cloudless days have made way for chilly mornings and dark evenings. In just a few days we will be changing our clocks back. Until November 5th we are looking forward to leaving the office while there is still a sliver a light! Since we will all be setting our clocks an hour back, why not swap out your ho-hum clock for something with a bit more style? We’ve rounded up five of our favorites right now along with a couple of alarm clocks for those of you who have trouble getting out of bed when it is still dark!

If you are looking for a clock that makes a statement, look no further than Alessi. This European company has a clock for you no matter what your style is. From the very funky Walter Wayle II wall clock designed by Phillipe Starck to the writable Blank Wall Clock , Alessi never disappoints. Those of us who are on the search for something minimal and refined will love the Ora In/Out.  For something more timeless, HAY (another one of our personal favorite furniture and accessory lines) has the Analog clock which will create a bold, yet simple statement on your wall. The Watch Me  clock from Normann Copenhagen will definitely catch your eye from anywhere in the room. This neutral yet graphic clock was inspired by a fanned out color swatch. No wonder we Interior Designers are attracted to it!

Finally, if you are not a morning person, be sure to pick out a fun alarm from Lexon. Our favorites are the INOUT Clock which has a beautiful rectilinear form that has a second mini clock that pops up to display the alarm time. Say goodbye to wondering if you set your alarm clock properly before bed! The FLIP clock available in an array of colors is also easy to use with “ON” written on one of the large surfaces and “OFF” on the opposite side. If you see “ON” it means that your alarm is activated. After the alarm goes off, you simply flip the clock upside-down to turn it “OFF.” No more slapping the alarm off and going back to sleep!

Which clock would you like to have in your home? Let us know with the hashtag #area3FallBack

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IDS West 2017 Highlights

For those of you who aren’t familiar with IDS West, you are missing out! Every year at the end of September is a week that most of us in the Architecture and Designer (A & D) community look forward to. For many years IDS was only on the east coast in Toronto, but since it arrived in Vancouver it has quickly gained traction with not only designers, but also the public. With every year that passes, it seems to get much bigger and better! Not only are there thousands of square feet of trade show floor to explore, but also great talks, seminars and new products to check out. It isn’t uncommon to emerge from IDS a few hours later with lots of new inspiration and a very heavy bag filled with new finds! Read on for our highlights from IDS West 2017.

Opening Night Party

If there is one social event that you have to go to, it is the Opening Night party. This is a well-known fact as the line up to get in was longer than ever, but absolutely worth it. Although the show floor is completely open, it is unlikely you will see most of it as you will find yourself socializing most of the time. The event is a great place to network, catch up with other designers and suppliers! With a live band, strategically placed bars and seating areas, the night will be over before you know it! Fret not, the show is open for Trade Day the next morning and to the public right after that. And if you are looking for more social opportunities, Gray Magazine also hosts a very fun afterparty on Friday night!

New & Noteworthy

There is never a shortage of new products at IDS West, but there are a few that caught our eye this year. If you have been reading this blog for awhile, it is no secret that we love all things Scandinavian. We were thrilled when we found out that IDS had a HAY pop-up this year. You could find anything from toothbrushes and towels, to notebooks and trays. It took some restraint not to buy it all! Another fun and clever product we saw was the intelligent wallcoverings and modular accessories for the active workspace by Foster. The wallcoverings are magnetic with fun color and patterns. The magnetic accessories snapped right to them and could be moved around for different types of work! A great system to liven up any workspace whether it be at work or home.

Did you check out IDS West this year? Share with us your highlights with the hashtag #area3idswest

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Fall Trends 2017

Now that the daylight hours are becamer shorter, and the kids are back at school – seems we are once again welcoming in the Fall. As the weather transitions, so do we! We’re ready to get our layering on and get cozy. Of course, we’ve been keeping an eye out on the new trends for this Fall in both fashion and décor. Keep reading to find out a few of favorite ones!

Color and Texture

Fall is always marked by the gradual changing of color here in Vancouver. Fashion seems to have taken note and used the tones that we see in nature as Fall 2017’s color palette. With a neutral base of cozy and comfortable black and grey pieces, we suggest you add a hit of texture and color. At one of our favorite Canadian fashion retailers, Oak + Fort, we’re seeing texture added with pleats and a hint of velvet. Warm it up with some sultry tones such as olive green, maroon red, or a touch of burnt umber. Dusty rose is also in and looks beautiful as a jumpsuit like this one from Oak + Fort. COS another one of our fashion favorites (did you know they recently opened a location in gastown?) is showing a lot of Khaki green in their fall collection. We especially like this slouchy easy to wear, weekend staple jersey wool top.  West Elm has paired up with Sherwin Williams to help forecast seasonal color trends. Looking to paint an accent wall? Check out Sherwin Williams Rocky River SW 6215, Sandbank SW 6052 or Cascades SW7623 just to name a few of their suggestions.

Dark, Moody & Embellished

Who says that we can’t embrace the dark side? Design trends this season are leaning towards a moodier space. As we were saying before, it’s all about texture and creating warmth. We’re seeing black and deep browns such as walnut as a backdrop. Looking to create some drama? Use black as a statement wall contrasted with white and embellish with brass or bronze accents. Nothing too over the top (remember less is more). A set of brass toned flatware or these bronze serving spoons  from CB2 might be perfect to add a little spakle to your Thanksgiving dinner! Looking for a little more impact? West Elm has a new line of LED lighting by New York city studio Bower which offers simple forms and a hit of the current brass trend with their collection of pendants and table lamp.

Art deco also seems to want a revival, but we think there can be a tasteful way to do it. If you are looking to change or add a piece of furniture, why not give a warm and buttery brown leather armchair a try. No, we are not talking about a La-Z-boy. We are seeing these beautifully crafted armchairs like the Uno Chair from Suquet Interiors, which would be a stylish addition to any space. Perfect for a night in with a good book and a glass of wine!

 

What fall trends will you embrace? Share using #area3designfalltrends

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What style are you?

What Style Are You?

Have you ever spent hours flipping through magazines, scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram and then realized that the images you like are all similar… or worse, all vastly different? We all gravitate towards a style whether we know it or not!  Before you waste too many hours Googling all the different design styles, we have created a quiz that we think will help you figure which style you are. Answer these five questions and keep reading to find out your style!

  1. Which stores do you like the most?
    1. Restoration Hardware, Bombay and Paramount
    2. Pottery Barn and Country Furniture
    3. Old Faithful, nineteen ten, Scott Landon and Union Wood Co.
    4. Spencer Interiors, Living Space, Inform Interiors and Vancouver Special
  2. Which colors do you prefer?
    1. Gold, hunter green, and maroon
    2. Navy blue, red, yellow and green
    3. Dark grey, linen and greige
    4. Black and white
  3. Your favorite woods are:
    1. Mahogany and Cherry
    2. Whitewashed Oak and Rustic Mahogany
    3. Reclaimed fir and natural oak
    4. White oak and walnut
  4. Your dream home would be:
    1. A palace or a Newport Mansion
    2. A bungalow or a cottage
    3. A heritage studio loft
    4. A downtown condo or penthouse
  5. The chair you would most like to see in your space is:
    1. A Wingback chair
    2. A La-Z-Boy slipcover chair
    3. A Tolix galvanized dining chair
    4. A Barcelona chair

Traditional

If most of your answers are A, you are traditional. As a child you dreamt of living in a palace and to this day that dream is still somewhat alive. You marvel at intricate details and you prefer classic pieces. You’re not afraid of ornamentation and you believe that a little glitz can make a space feel luxurious.

Country

If most of your answers were B, you like the country style. Your favorite getaway is to your family’s cottage or cabin. You like pieces that aren’t perfect, but are well loved.  You’re not afraid of a bit of pattern and color. Your goal is to create a cozy atmosphere that isn’t too precious.

Industrial

If most of your answers were C, you are the industrial style. You love cities like Portland and your favorite area in Vancouver is Gastown. For awhile you have wanted a loft with soaring high ceilings in an old repurposed warehouse. You love the look of concrete, tarnished metals, natural and distressed woods and worn leather. You would like to create a space that you can comfortably work, live and entertain in. The wear and tear only adds to the aesthetic.

 

Modern

If most of your answers were D, you like the modern style. You appreciate buildings designed by greats such as Mies Van der Rohe and Le Corbusier. You want a space that feels organized and streamlined. You enjoy the clean minimalist look of white and opt for hits of neutral colors like black and grey. The use of textures like wood and wools add visual interest. You want to create a space that is a calm and relaxing. Less is more.

 

If you couldn’t decide between the options in our quiz, chances are you are known as “eclectic”. What style are you? Let us know with the hashtag #Area3DesignStyle

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Student Space 101

If you are wondering where the summer went, don’t worry, we are too! As we try to soak in the sun (as much as we possibly can) before we bid the warm days goodbye, many students are preparing to head back to college and university. No matter where you live as a student, whether it be a dorm room, the bedroom you grew up in or a tiny studio apartment (you can barely afford), space is of the essence. Before you go out and spend money to personalize and organize this space, read on for tips on small space living for students!

Basics

If you are living on your own for the first time, there are a few basic pieces that you must have as a student. These essentials include your mattress, desk and task chair. You don’t know the power of a good night’s sleep until you haven’t slept for days! A good mattress will not only save you some aches and pains, but is a worthwhile investment long term. If you are just beginning college or university, getting a good desk and task chair is a must. Believe it or not, you will spend much more time there than your bed! Consider investing a bit more on a task chair that is fully adjustable – height, seat depth, lumbar support and tension – your back will thank you. We love the sleek and linear look of the Vitra Pacific Chair  which is timeless. You can also find a variety of economical options to fit any budget at Allmodern. A desk that is the right size and fit for work you will be doing is also key. The last thing you want is to end up studying on your floor because you ran out of space to lay out your laptop, textbooks and notes. A sit-stand desk is a great option when you want to stretch and study. IKEA has a manual crank model called the SKARSTA  as well as an electrical powered model called BEKANT that is quite affordable!

Organize

Staying organized is hard, but extremely necessary in a small space. We suggest that you begin with your closet. Looking for more than just hangers? Try storage and drawer boxes for seasonal clothes, shoe boxes that can stack, and hangers for items like belts and scarves. It makes getting dressed in the am quick and easy. Great places to find these items are The Container Store and the much anticipated Japanese retailer Muji soon to grace Vancouver. The key to staying organized is having prepared a space for everything. Be sure to include solutions for other needs like stationary, toiletries and food. Use bags and boxes with labels. If you tend to forget what you put in boxes, make sure to get clear plastic ones instead!

Personalize

Dorm rooms and rental suites are usually very limiting in terms of your ability to personalize them. Fear not, you don’t even have to paint! Adding just a few small accessories can help personalize your space. We suggest that you take full advantage of textiles. If you are in a dorm room, your bed is probably the largest element in the room. Start with great bedding, like a fun duvet cover, toss cushions and a throw. The bay offers a few great lines, Lacoste is colorful and graphic. Calving Klein adds a little sophistication with their subtle neutral palate. CB2 has a great black and white linen pinstripe line, and cozy throw blankets. Don’t be afraid to jazz up your workspace as well. Some great wall organization ideas are – cork boards (consider tiling a few together on a wall to create more of a statement) magnetic or dry erase boards to plan your classes and deadlines. Room in Order even offers desktop varieties. A personal favorite (if you are able to splurge) is the Vitra Uten Silo which comes in two sizes. This can be used to hold your pens, pencils, ruler, stapler, scissors etc. I use mine in the washroom – great for toiletries, make up brushes, hair bands, etc. Not only a designer’s dream but, very versatile.

How will you personalize and organize your student space? Let us know using the hashtag #area3studentspace

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4 Must see Museums

As a child, many of us dreaded going to museums – myself included. They were definitely some of my least favorite field trips in grade school! Somehow as we grow up, seeing artifacts from time periods we will never personally know and imagining ourselves living in the that time and place becomes rather intriguing. While travelling, popping into museums for a quick gander or spending entire days seems like a given! Next time you are in Europe where museums are bountiful, make sure to carve out some time for our 4 must-visit museums!

The State Hermitage Museum

Although a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia may not be at the top of your must-visit cities in Europe, it is a must for those who love art! With more than 3 million items, the Hermitage has acquired a rather spectacular collection of world art. The collection includes pieces that spans the years from the Stone Age to the early 20th century. Not only does it occupy the grand Winter Palace, but it also spreads to 5 more connected buildings along the Neva River. Finished in 1794, the blue-and-white palace is a perfect example of Baroque architecture and is beautifully kept. For several centuries it was the main residence of the czars including Catherine the Great who founded the museum. As you wander (we highly suggest a tour) through each of the immaculate rooms, expect to not only admire the masterpieces from greats such as Rembrandt, da Vinci, Picasso, van Gogh and Goya, but also at the details of the interiors! Be prepared to spend a full day or two here.

Musée du Louvre

Everyone knows that a visit must be paid to Musée du Louvre in Paris. Not only is its glass pyramid iconic, but it is also famously home to the Mona Lisa. It is no surprise that getting in can take hours, but we have a secret to dwindling down the wait. Go early and enter from the mall entrance which most tourists don’t know about! You will gain back some valuable time and hopefully see the Mona Lisa without a massive crowd surrounding you! The wealth of treasures in the Louvre is mind-boggling – from Classical sculpture, Mesopotamian antiquities and Egyptian relics to the many galleries of Italian Renaissance paintings that cover enormous walls and halls. Research beforehand which pieces you must see and take your time aimlessly wandering to discover other jaw-dropping pieces.

The British Museum

When all museums have free entry in England, it is hard to see them all! The British Museum is one that you must visit even if you only have a couple hours. It is Britain’s largest museum and houses the national collection of archaeology and ethnography. With more than 8 million objects, the museum boasts the world’s second finest collection of Egyptian antiquities outside of Egypt. Be sure to check out the Rosetta Stone which was carved in 196 B.C.! When you are done gazing at exquisite gold jewels and Assyrian palace rooms, be sure to spend a few minutes walking around the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court. The two acre-space was designed by Foster and Partners and is enclosed by a stunning glass roof with the world-famous Reading Room as its center. We love how the shadows cast by the roof juxtapose the museum’s Greek Revival Style architecture. Be sure to snap a few pictures while you are here!

Maritime Museum of Denmark

Outside of utopian Copenhagen, which we wrote about in our blog post “Inspired by Copenhagen,” is the town of Elsinore. Most people visit the town to see Kronborg Castle (better known as Hamlet’s castle), but next door is an underground gem – the Maritime Museum of Denmark. Built around an old dry dock, the museum pays homage to Denmark’s maritime roots and beautifully tells its story. The exhibits on display are evocative and dramatically staged with soundscapes and film projections encapsulating you. Designers will admire the creative display cases that are lit just-so. Before you finish off your visit, make sure to have a coffee with a delicious slice of cake or a hearty lunch in the M/S Café. The interiors exude Danish hygge and you will never want to leave. Did we mention that the museum was designed by Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG)? This is definitely one of their most well-known projects!

Which museum is at the top of your list? Let us know in the comments below or with the hashtag #Area3Museums

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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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