RISEYear: 2013 Shortlisted Proposal
Materials: Steel and Mixed Media
Client: City of North Vancouver, Spirit Trail
RISE was a shortlisted proposal in collaboration with Measured Architecture for the City of North Vancouver’s Spirit Trail.
The Londsdale Quay site was a dynamic one that prompted us to focus on an intervention with strong visual connectivity to the primary route of the Spirit Trail. This brings travelers to a tributary line, provides a unique identity of place for those awaiting pick-up at the turnabout, and offers a potential engagement with an object as a device that orientates the traveler on the trail and to the city context beyond.
Aside from the intervention’s primary role as a beacon and marker, we saw it as an opportunity to rise above the pedestrian level, obstructed by the surrounding developments and fencing, and reveal a dramatic view of the sea and mountains to the north and the city to the south.
As a nodal of several converging paths, our design was an orienting device that addressed each of these: As a drop-off point for thousands of daily commuters and travelers, a resting point, meeting point, and shelter. As an entry point for the visitors of the Spirit Trail, a trail-marker and key point of reference of the route. For pedestrians walking to and from the Waterfront Park and along the quay, it was a viewpoint free of obstruction.
One of the key parameters given in the call for this project was that the piece be something that perpetuates interest over many visits. We designed a structure that would beautify the landscape and reference nearby maritime structures, but it is the landscape itself that people are coming to the Spirit Trail to see and maintains their continued interest.
There is a part of the forest we visit regularly where there was once a grove of grand Douglas firs. They were probably cut over a century ago--the technique for cutting these giants back then was to chop wedges into the trees and embed horizontal planks to stand on so they could cut above the root line. What remains are eerie empty eye sockets that longed for an intervention. We gave these sentinels of the forest a second life with some fine porcelain peepers.
Pause at the ThresholdYear: 2013
Client: Self-Initiated prototype
Our relationship with the door handle is daily and necessary—a perfect place for our post-it notes and letters we need to send—and for a secret reminder to STAY. Pause at the Threshold is simply about that: to provoke a pause during an ordinary moment of our day. The common objects of our lives are each opportunities for unexpected discovery. Our interest in object design is more about tweaking and activation than reinvention.
Dinner With NeighborsYear: 2012
Materials: Antique factory blank dishware
Client: Vancity Credit Union
Dinner with Neighbors was commissioned by the local credit union, Vancity, as the two-story centerpiece for their prototype branch in South Burnaby. Well-respected in Vancouver and also very dedicated to community building, Vancity was a pleasure to work with on this project.
Each community no matter its size, race or creed has a tradition of food. This was the unifying subject we chose for the diverse community of South Burnaby. Superimposed onto a dishware canvas, we created the image of a long banquet table in mid-meal. The center of the table is an assortment of foods representing the specialty dishes of the many ethnic groups that make up South Burnaby.
The plates, acquired from the now defunct Hycroft China Ltd., have been lying dormant since the factory closed in the late 1980s. It has been a rewarding experience digging them out of piles, dusting them off, and breathing new life into them. Hycroft in its heyday was a prominent Canadian manufacturer of industrial ceramic wares. Now it is a part of Medalta and the Historic Clay District in Medicine Hat, Alberta where it has been restored and preserved as an historic landmark.
After The Rain (Come Up To My Room)Year: 2009
Materials: Ceramics and mixed media
Client: Gladstone Hotel--Come Up To My Room event
After the Rain was a collaborative piece with Laura McKibbon for the annual exhibition, Come Up To My Room at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto, ON. Artists are invited to transform the empty rooms of the hotel into dramatic experiences for the viewers. The installation consisted of a variety of ceramic objects, including over 300 ceramic raindrops, several pigeons, and porcelain lights. Photos by Lorne Bridgman
Let Us Linger Here a While…Year: 2012 (Proposal)
Materials: Solid wood planking, sandblasted words
Client: Centro Terra West, Richmond, BC
This bench was proposed as a way of creating a private, meditative sanctuary within a busy urban environment. Between the exterior and interior of the circle is the excerpt, “LET US LINGER HERE AWHILE…” This is a segment of the phrase, “Let us linger here awhile in the foolishness of things”, from a poem by an anonymous author. The words are a reminder to would-be visitors to remain in the moment.
The bench forms a high-backed and tapered circle around the tree in the center with space to enter on the sidewalk side. The interior is brightly colored and complimentary to the color of the raw wood and the nearby building. Through time, the space would witness the maturation of the tree, and with it, the further intimacy of the seating area.
3D WallpaperYear: 2010-2011
Materials: Molded ceramic parts
The idea behind 3D Wallpaper is to address interior space as a whole, activate entire walls as canvasses, and to extend our spatial awareness into forgotten corners.
Our prototypes led us to creating this interior piece for our friend Patrick Tubajon’s Gudrun Tasting Room in Steveston. We admire him for his locally sourced foods and his thoughtful interiors, made using high-quality recycled and custom-built elements. In following with his ethos of operating locally, he is also a supporter of local artists and selected us to put some finishing touches on the west wall of the restaurant. Drawing from a pattern on a custom glass partition at the bar, we carried it over onto the wall with a 3D wall pattern of screen-printed terracotta crosses.
Retroreflective TieYear: 2010
Materials: Silk, retroreflective material
This tie was our reaction to the high visibility clothing offered on the market at present, the majority of which is strictly functional, with little or no attention to style or playfulness. Though understated during the day, the tie becomes highly visible in the evening. It was one of the shortlisted design entries from more than 3000 participants in a recentDESIGNBOOM competition, ‘Seoul Cycle Design Competition 2010‘, organized in collaboration with Seoul design foundation.
Doors/WindowsYear: 2013-In progress
Materials: Ceramic tiles, custom decals
This project is a response to blank concrete surfaces all over the city. Fake windows and doors are positioned onto walls as a reminder of human scale and to evoke a sense of magical curiosity. These will be full color decals on porcelain tiles.
Albertan StoryYear: 2012 (Proposal)
Materials: Commercial tiles, custom decals
Client: Mill Woods Senior Centre and Multicultural Facility, Edmonton, AB
This tile mosaic was proposed for a multi-cultural and seniors’ center in Edmonton, AB. We based the imagery on old embroidery patterns of Alberta’s provincial bird and flower, the owl and the wild rose. Beyond the aesthetics of the piece and with consideration to its location, the mosaic relates numerous stories from the lives of diverse Albertan individuals through QR codes that are subtly imbedded throughout the image, leading viewers to a custom multi-media website.
Studio PracticeOur bigger ideas often start from humble beginnings—We both have a long history of working with ceramics and maintain a continuous studio practice that feeds into our larger projects. We have an unconventional approach in our use of imagery and ways of making in the medium. Both of us tend towards working narratively and intuitively and often collaborate on smaller scales as well.
Home ProjectYear: 2011
Materials:Ceramic letters, magnets
In collaboration with Finish artist, Henriikka Leppänen, who came to do a two-month internship with us in 2011, we tagged the streets of Vancouver and Helsinki with the magnetic ceramic letters HOME. For us it was a reflection on the meaning of home, with Noel’s Canadian permanent residence having been granted earlier in the summer and our roots growing deeper. We placed them along our familiar pathways in Vancouver, as did Henriikka in Helsinki. We wanted to beautify the city with a gesture that would have a second life as a gift for those who discover that the ceramic graffiti tags could be easily removed.
Stump StoolsYear: 2010 These stumps stools were an off-shoot of one of our early collaborations together. While doing a residency in the Banff Centre in Alberta, we created a body of work called: A Growing Feeling of Dismemberment. It focused on the pine beetle infestation spreading across the west of North America. The extensions we made were meant to be prosthetic "limbs" for the tree stump victims of the beetle scourge. We loved the look of the stumps so much that we made these 3D illustrations for the home. Babies love them.
Materials: Ceramic hearts, magnets
Over 300 hand made ceramic hearts were dispersed across Granville Island in Vancouver, for passersby to pick them up. Those who found them, kept or gave them to loved ones. Each tag had our web address and many of the finders left comments and sent photos. The project launched on Thursday, February 11th and by the end of the weekend all of the tags were gone. This project has led us to receive a Canada Council project grant for 2013 to execute a similar project on a much grander scale. Stay tuned!
Secret SpacesYear: 2009 - present
Materials: Ceramic, mixed media
Client: Private residences and at-large in the world
One of the things that drew us together was our mutual love for clandestine artistic interventions. This has evolved into the occasional practice of implanting secret sculptures out in the world. In the urban environment, they are surprises for passersby to discover (or destroy), while in interior spaces, they are secret possessions of the home owners.