[RECESS] is when we get to hear the stories of the good people behind the pop-up. It's our favourite time and we share these conversations with you.
Local independent designers Andrea Wong and Melanie Hull have gathered a stellar line up of Pacific Northwest inspired goods for the upcoming holiday pop-up #PortageShop. We caught up with them to find out more about what to expect in store and on the table at their "Bread and Butter" secret-supper series.
@thisopenspace: You have your own personal brands AW and MH but Portage is a group of vendors that you represent. Tell us how you all got together.
Melanie Hull : I organized a Winter Solstice shop last year and shortly after Andrea and I joined together to create our ideal pop-up shop - one that embodied a pacific coast cabin like feel. We invited some friends to enter in, designers that live in Vancouver because we wanted to make it big and bold, rich with local designers.
Andrea Wong: My brand has always been inspired by the Pacific Northwest, and Portage is an extension of this. When we were naming the pop-up, I wanted something that would be very Canadian... it doesn’t get more Canadian when canoes are involved.
So, this is a big question but we think you can handle it, how do you see design as a part of everyday life?
MH: Swimming in the ocean, hiking, enjoying powder on some of BC’s best mountains. When I'm relaxed and enjoying life, design just happens.
AW: I see design in everything. Design is at it’s best in nature. I feel very grateful to have lush natural resources - the mountains, ocean and forest all in my backyard. It's a source of inspiration for me.
Nicely said. How did you source the Portage Pop-Up vendors whose aesthetics seem to pair nicely with yours?
MH: We thought, what would you want when you are cozying up in a cabin with a warm fire burning? We think sustainable design is extremely important to us, we found designers who have the same principles as us - a natural fit.
In general, how do you think an artists studio context informs the work they create?
AW: Ample natural light. That's essential. I personally dream of having a studio in the woods where I could feel the beauty of nature and functional design every day, free of distraction. It would be like living in a full time private artist residency. Imagine!
Is there something you hope for visitors to the pop-up to consider, become aware of or change about their choices and lives?
AW: We would like all our guests to feel proud of their work and deeply connected to Vancouver. Our designers make great products, they generate jobs, support other local businesses (through collaborations for example) and are environmentally conscious. By supporting Portage, you are supporting an incredible community of emerging entrepreneurs.
What brands do you personally align with or admire?
MH: Janaki Larsen Pottery I could fill my whole house with those designs. Camp Brand Goods - cozy sweatshirts very circa 90’s Club Monaco. Hendrik Lou with all her knits, those throws make us wanna curl up with a hot tea.
AW: I love Scandinavian design for it’s clean and functional lines. My background is in fashion design and I gravitate to casual Scandinavian clothing brands such as Wood Wood, Hope and Acne. I repurpose wool blankets and hand woven textiles into large tote bags.
You also have a Long Table Dinner Series lined-up. Tell us about that.
AW: My partner and I have hosted several elaborate dinner parties for our friends. He takes care of the food, and I take care of the décor and hosting. Our last event was an outdoor dinner with 40 guests, the main course was a beef shoulder, slow roasted overnight in a 2x2 ft pit in the ground.
Mmm... beef shoulder. Thanks guys. This is the first interview that left us drooling. Can't wait to have you in the space.
The Long Table Dinner Series coming up next weekend is bound to be a feast to remember. We really hope they don't dig up a 2x2 ft. pit in the space and start up a raging fire. Fingers crossed! The menu has our stomachs grumbling and if you hurry, there's still a handful of tickets left for the Friday night (Saturday is sold out).