January 22, 2010

DvH 2010 03 Vancouver, B.C. Penthouse

This project could have starred as a designer's nightmare. The high-rise culminated in a dusty muddle of bare-bones supports and grimy pipes emerging through rough concrete floors from apartments below. The only thing to recommend it was the promise of a home with wrap-around view— fog-shrouded mountains at eye-level, sunrise, and sunset.  Remodeled and reconfigured it will function as a living/working space.
The client had these requests: "Room for books, a space to work and keep the place open, don't block off any view, and leave everything as clean as you can."

Generosity and the seamless interconnection of space were the inspiration for the design. The interior epitomizes contemporary living, and the client’s admiration of simplicity in style formed the foundation. Day to day practicalities, such as robust materials, and an abundance of built-in storage were essential for clean, unobstructed lines. The cool palette is enhanced with an innovative lighting design, and layered with natural and neutral tones.
Project completed and ready to receive guests for the Winter Olympics. Let it snow!

Winter comes to the Pacific Northwest with cold skies the color of old nickels, and light rain that hangs unfallen in the air for days on end. People move indoors to wait it out, knowing that when spring and summer do arrive, those seasons will feel like a just reward. The first sign of relief at the far side of winter will not be a change in the weather or a lengthening of the days so much as it will be a change in the nature of things to eat, the arrival of delicacies peculiar to the region. Enter March and the first king salmon. After dinners, the conversations often turn to food. I ask the client what he liked most about the Pacific Northwest, and without pausing to think he answered, ‘The fruit, the nuts, the razor clams, the wild mushrooms, and the black-bottom pie.’ In other words, he knew, that the Pacific Northwest is a gourmet’s paradise. There is no distinct style here, as one might speak of “California cuisine”. Nor is there to be found the ethnic-food regionalism so easily identified in New Orleans and Santa Fe. Instead, it is a natural cross-pollination of the best of culinary sentiments-the preference for fresh ingredients, imaginatively prepared-with Asian influences that helped to create a special Pacific Rim culture.
Then there is the setting, the quality of light -fantastic. The people are open and decent, and you feel it. It is like a copy of San Francisco without the excesses of the Continental affectations.

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