2 minute read

A Space Called Space

The first thing I noticed was the height. My imagination fired with potential as I looked towards the amazing 22-foot-high ceilings supported by solid Douglas Fir timbers. Hanging by their lonesome were these chains, left over from fluorescent lights that used to run in rows when the space was an automotive repair shop. I wanted to hang things.

I took over 552 Clark Drive in August 2015. The concept of SPACE, as it is now called, emerged when, at the tail end of an extra year at Emily Carr, I began looking ahead to future possibilities. In Vancouver, there was (and still is) a lack of growth and accelerator environments tailored towards art- and design-led initiatives. I kept wondering where I would go next, and if could I participate in building a new model tailored for here.

While on exchange in Germany for my third year studying industrial design, I participated in and observed an integrated industry and education model. It appeared to be more permeable and cooperative than how we operate in British Columbia and the rest of Canada. Europe has a design-centric culture, and more specifically, industrial design plays a crucial role in the cultural production of objects, material goods, and experiences that contribute to the identities of its regions and countries. Why couldn’t that also be true in Vancouver?

My time in Europe resonated deeply with me, and helped channel my aspirations for my own city. I wanted to make things, too, but not just any old things—meaningful things that added value to the lives of the people in the communities around me, while contributing to an emerging identity for design on the Canadian West Coast. I wanted a place in which I could grow not only my professional practice, but my art practice, while being surrounded by people with supplementary skillsets who were pursuing their own missions. Over time I’ve discovered many others who want this too, and that’s the gravity that has kept us together.

We see collaboration and cooperation as the answer to overcome the challenges we face in our pursuit of a creative, sustainable Pacific Northwest.

In September 2017, SPACE expanded next door to include 554 Clark Drive; this address has allowed us to grow our focus from a strictly playful and exploratory place to a professional coworking environment. Within these two locations exists an essential dichotomy, which we believe helps foster growth and creativity in a city that can at times be stifling.

SPACE is accelerating around the formation of people with a common direction and a purpose of creating positive change today and in the future. It is home to numerous interdisciplinary artists, designers, and oddballs with a collective goal of activating the cultural potential of Vancouver. We see collaboration and cooperation as the answer to overcoming the challenges we face in our pursuit of a creative, sustainable Pacific Northwest. We are proud of our city, and that which lies within all of us—for we are humans before we are anything else.

words by pat christie photography by pamela rounis
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