Our store(y) today takes us to Vancouver, BC where furniture designer Kate Duncan will be hosting the annual ADDRESS event now in its fourth year and taking place this May 25-28, 2017. If you haven’t heard, ADDRESS is a four-day show that features emerging designers and makers from the Pacific Northwest and from all disciplines including furniture, lighting, and accessories.
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In lieu of a usual convention hall, ADDRESS looks to places that don’t require an exhibitor to build a booth so that the focus can be on the designer’s actual products. This year, ADDRESS is taking up shop at the historic Ellis Building in Downtown Vancouver. Read on to see why Kate decided to create a showcase like ADDRESS and stay tuned until the end where she’ll impart some good life lessons to take away (spoiler alert: it’s really good advice).
Why did you decide to create this yearly event?
I started ADDRESS in 2014 cause I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. My brand was too small for a trade show and too big for a craft market. I had tried both avenues with limited success and after much trial and error I thought that maybe I could take the best of both worlds and create my own platform. I wanted to draw a design-centric kinda crowd so I teamed up with the lovelies behind Designer Happy Hour, a monthly design event here in Vancouver, and they plugged the event to their design peeps. Once word got out everyone was lined up at the door, including some local press coverage too.
I also wanted to get away from those booth displays you see at craft markets and trade shows. ADDRESS doesn’t do booths. I work with local designer Amber Kingsnorth, principal at Māk Interiors, to stage all the exhibitors work collaboratively. When you walk in the door you’re not bombarded with aisles and aisles of booths to sift through; you’re hit with a highly curated and styled lifestyle event that features everything hand crafted right here in the Pacific Northwest. From lighting to rugs and furnishings to linens. It’s gorgeous.
How did the name ADDRESS come about?
Oh gawd! I agonized over the name. Sawdust is my jam. This might sound kinda lame but ADDRESS simply came about because I wanted folks to understand that this was a ‘home and design’ event. But ‘home’ didn’t quite fit. It got me thinking about all the places people live, hang out, work and ADDRESS just kinda fit, in an ambivalent and kinda benign way. It felt really open ended to me… What’s your address?
Has it changed much since you started it? How?
It’s changed in so many ways I don’t even know where to start. The first year I rented a teeny tiny venue in the most colorful neighborhood in Vancouver. The next year we moved into the iconic Arthur Erickson Waterfall Building and everything was gorgeous. This year we’re moving into a venue that’s part warehouse and part heritage-house in East Vancouver. It’s gritty. And huge. The exhibitor list has nearly doubled since last year and moving into a bigger venue has really allowed the show to grow.
What’s one of the challenges you have with putting on this show every year?
So many challenges… oh so many. Finding a venue is always hard. Vancouver real estate is whack and venues are expensive. Working with so many creatives can have its set of challenges too. Time management is probably my biggest challenge… I run my own designer/maker business making furniture, and there’s only one of me to go around. I really burn the candle hard at both ends. It takes its toll on me. I’ve tried to get my dog Cooper to handle all my calls but that fluffy mess ain’t got no thumbs.
What’s your favorite item from ADDRESS 2017 right now?
I’m always excited to see what Propellor is going to bring. It’s different and fabulous every year. And I hear Antipod Workshop is working on something new…
Is there a theme or inspiration for this year?
I try not to put pressure on the exhibitors to be a certain way or fit into some kinda box. I really trust them to be experts at what they do. That’s the whole point; talented folks just being fabulous. I guess if I had to pick a theme, it would be “just do you.”
Are there any products and/or newly discovered designers you’re particularly excited about?
Always! I love seeing the applications roll in. I’m always so surprised that there’s new work coming at me. I’m pretty stoked on Becki Chan and her line of architectural jewelry and Jarvis Furniture has chairs dialed in, in a big way.
Do you have anything from the showcase in your own home?
If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I’m good shopper. Like, a real good shopper. I treat myself every year to a little bit of exhibitor work. The first year, Troy Moth gifted me 6 images from his Burnt Series. I covet his work. Another year I snagged a blanket from Hendrik.Lou and it’s been keeping me warm ever since. I have some serving pieces from Stefanie Dueck and ceramics from Heyday Design too. Every year I swoon over the mountain ranges by Propellor… One year I’m going to bite the bullet and get one.
What does good design mean to you?
I always go back to the design ethos espoused by Dieter Rams… That shit is tight. Specifically #6. Good design is honest. #7. Good design is long-lasting and #10. Good design is as little design as possible. Or as my dad always says… “Keep it simple, Stupid.”
What’s one lesson you’ve learned since launching this event?
So many lessons. I think the biggest ‘game-changing’ lesson I’ve learned is that the world doesn’t owe me a thing. You put stuff out there, ya know, and what you get back ain’t always what you thought it was gonna be. Sometimes you drop something and nothing happens and sometimes you drop something else and everything happens. And more often than not I play a card and the world plays back a card I didn’t even know was in the damn deck… Ha! It’s all good stuff but damn this deck ain’t straight. Ya just gotta keep on keepin’ on though and the best way I’ve found to do that is to reign in expectations and enjoy the ride. Really, just enjoy the ride. That’s all the world is dishing up so just roll with it. Expect nothing and keep your eyes wide. Put it all out there, way out there, and don’t stop moving forward.
Starting May 25-28, 2017, ADDRESS is open daily from 10am to 6pm & 9pm on Friday at the Ellis Building, 1024 Main Street in Vancouver, BC.