Fraser & Kingsway, Main & Hastings, SE Marine Drive & Knight Street, Davie & Denman, Water & Carrall, 4th & Vine, Broadway & Granville. Get ready to experience these iconic Vancouver intersections through the eyes of talented local designers.
Seven graphic designers have teamed up with the Canada Line Public Art Program to bring you Intersections, a new exhibition inside Waterfront Station. The show explores seven essential Vancouver cross-streets with large-format posters created by 10four Design, Glasfurd and Walker, Post Projects, Seterah Shamdani, State Creative, Working Format, and Zach Bulick.
Intersections will reveal all seven posters at an off-site opening reception January 31 at the Chinatown Experiment (434 Columbia), 6pm – 9pm. The evening is free and open to the public. As of February 1, Intersections will be on view at the Canada Line Platform in Waterfront Station.
I sat down with Ross Milne of Working Format recently to learn more about Intersections.
How did the idea for Intersections come about?
It started out of Vancouver’s 125th anniversary. We created an exhibition called By Any Other Name (which Vancouver is Awesome featured) focused on seven alternate names for Vancouver. Using those names we tried to tell the story of Vancouver through its various personalities: Raincity, Hollywood North, Lotusland, Terminal City and so forth. We thought each of these suggested something very different about Vancouver’s history, its geography, and its people.
My wife (who is a partner in the project) and I had seen some models for public poster art in transit stations when we spent time in Europe. We said, hey we want to do some of that here. We quickly found out that the Canada Line has a fantastic public art program and through that we got in touch with their art curators and organizers, who are really great champions for art in Vancouver. That provided the space for the original exhibition, and from the success of that that we were able to work out an idea or a plan to use the space at Waterfront Station to house more exhibitions, including Intersections, always with this Vancouver-based theme.
Why are you focused on Vancouver themes for these exhibitions?
We like the Vancouver-based theme because the location at Waterfront Station is perfect for tourists, it’s a place where a lot of people are experiencing Vancouver for the first time if they’re getting off the Canada Line coming from the airport. It’s also a transit hub for the Lower Mainland. It’s a place that people are coming to from all different locations – enroute to work, special events, sporting events, theatre and so forth.
What are you hoping to achieve with the show?
For Intersections we’re focused on seven different cross-streets, geographic intersections in Vancouver, and we invited seven different designers to create a poster to convey the personality of those intersections. It’s not meant to be a literal representation. We’re looking to the creativity of fantastic, talented Vancouver designers to convey something deeper, something new that will add to the experience of those intersections.
We see this as a tremendous opportunity. With InTransitBC’s help, we were able to find out that over 250,000 unique people go through the corridor at Waterfront Station every month. This is a space that’s typically advertising space – there’s not a lot of public art in environments like this – so we see this as an opportunity to provide a hiccup in people’s daily routines – provide a reason to stop and reflect, to enjoy their surroundings. We figure that if even one percent of people who go through every month stop and look, that’s still a staggering number of people taking part in local arts.
Why is Working Format interested in collaborating with other local designers?
We find that so much of our job involves the commercial side of design. A project comes in, we’re paid to do that project, the project finishes and that’s it. There’s a shortage of opportunities for designers in this city to engage in arts and culture in a noncommercial manner. A lot of the reason for that is that it’s a for-profit venture – design tends to fall outside of a lot of grant programs. Our mandate was to create an environment for designers to produce work for a purely social or cultural purpose. It also provides the opportunity for us to build community in the design industry in Vancouver.
Intersections is part of Platform Gallery, an online archive of exhibitions inviting Vancouver-based designers to celebrate and critique the city we live in. Past and present exhibitions are shown at Waterfront Station’s Canada Line platform and produced in collaboration with the Canada Line Public Art Program. Visit Platform Gallery on Facebook and Twitter and be sure to check out Intersections!