Have either of you, as your companies grew, ever thought about moving your operations elsewhere?
LC: Vancouver is the place I want to live and the place I find most beautiful. We also like leaving it. I talk occasionally about those Vancouver nights when you’re flying in and it’s a blue sky or dusk is setting and the sunset’s happening. The mountains are in the background and you’re like, “Oh my God. I’m so glad I’m home.”
OA: We have a big thing going in Berlin and a satellite office in London, but it’s never even been remotely tempting to move. I share Lyndon’s love for Vancouver. There’s a nice feedback loop that’s started to develop in the last 10 years between what we’re putting out in our portfolio and the way the city influences us back. Weird synergies start occurring creatively and professionally when you stay in one place for a long time, especially a city like Vancouver, where the community is small and you start to get to know everyone intimately.
You get to know everyone, and you get to work together. Do collaborations appeal to you? Do you seek those out?
OA: Collaboration for me has to do with the kind of knowledge or craft that I can bring into our studio and art direct. So, when I think of collaborators, my team of glassblowers is at the forefront of the people that I exchange ideas with. It’s more of an internal creative collaboration.
LC: Even when we first started working together, you always referred to people you worked with as your collaborators. Which is probably also that attitude of knowing that you can’t do it yourself.
OA: Yeah. And I always say “we” when I describe our work. It’s not my work, it’s our work. People say it takes 10,000 hours to be good at anything, right?
Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000-hour rule.
OA: It takes 10,000 hours to be a great glassblower. It takes 10,000 hours to be a great architect. It takes 10,000 hours to be a great ceramicist. If you add those up, it’s way more than one lifetime. And I want to be great at a lot of different things. The only available shortcut is partnering with people who have spent that requisite time to become masters.
Who are the people you think are doing pretty interesting things in Vancouver?
LC: I have a huge love affair for Inform Interiors and what they’ve done for the city. They get a lot of respect and they deserve every ounce of it for bringing beautiful design to Vancouver. Being able to walk into this place full of magical design creations, it can change people.
OA: I like [Chef] David Gunawan’s Farmer’s Apprentice a lot. I appreciate that there’s a risk-taking culture in the kitchen that lets those experiments occur that, most of the time, yield very exciting and fascinating food, and then once in a while don’t.
LC: I believe in people who try to take the benefits of what a city has given them. When people talk about Vancouver, they talk about the mountains and the oceans. I have a true admiration for people who let that speak for itself, and then try to add beauty. Omer is a perfect example of someone who amplifies a city, rather than take away from its natural beauty.
The Herschel store is an example of adding beauty to a city, from a design perspective and a retail experience perspective.
LC: This was the first time that we built a store for Herschel. It’s not my home or my brother Jamie’s home, it’s Herschel’s home. When you go to someone’s house, whether it’s beautifully decorated or very simple, you learn a lot about what a person cares about—whether they’re eclectic or minimalist or whatever they happen to be. What I love about the store is it allows people, consciously or subconsciously, to really understand the things that Herschel cares about. Herschel, the brand, loves design, and it loves experience. Herschel loves robust projects and loves celebrating ideas. We’re very honest in what we are as a brand.
What other beautiful places or experiences do you share with out-of-town guests when they come to Vancouver?
OA: I take them to the Museum of Anthropology, in which you find the most beautiful artifacts of native peoples. The Brutalist building was Arthur Erickson’s masterpiece, constructed when he was a young man, It has this bright energy—it’s a little bit immature, but in a good way. And then, inside, you see these beautiful wood artifacts, sometimes well-preserved, other times badly preserved. It shows what this place was before Western contact. It shows what this place is now. It’s a beautiful conversation between those things.
Do you have a favorite neighborhood, a place you like to explore when not working?
LC: I love meandering through Gastown and seeing some of my favorite shops. I love going to Neighbor, which is also a great retailer in this city. There’s an amazing shop called Haven and another shop called Roden Gray. There’s a little gift shop called Old Faithful that I like to look into, and Litchfield, which has interesting gift items.
As told to Celeste Moure
Herschel: 347 Water Street; +1 604-620-1155
Inform Interiors: 50 Water Street; +1 604-682-3868
Farmer’s Apprentice: 1535 W 6th Avenue; +1 604-620-2070
Museum of Anthropology: 6393 NW Marine Drive; +1 604-822-5087
Neighbor: 12 Water St #125; +1 604-558-2555
Haven: 52 E Cordova Street; +1 604-696-6896
Roden Gray: 8 Water Street; +1 604-689-7302
Old Faithful: 320 W Cordova Street; +1 778-327-9376
Litchfield: 38 Water Street; +1 604-428-5880
Where to Stay