Since hosting the Winter Olympics in 2010, Vancouver has rapidly ascended to the rank of an international hub of commerce and culture. Projects by local heavyweights Patkau Architects and Bing Thom Architects (now Revery Architecture) dot the city’s skyline, while structures by Bjarke Ingels Group, Shigeru Ban, and Herzog & de Meuron are taking shape. It’s a shift that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the city’s fledgling design scene. Though a number of prominent figures—from celebrated architect Arthur Erickson to artist-turned-author-turned-artist-again Douglas Coupland—have called the West Coast metropolis home, the past decade witnessed another cohort of multihyphenate creatives who have set up shop here.
And while much of this physical expansion and economic transformation has resulted in skyrocketing real estate prices, a new generation of designers continue to carve out their own space. With property values rising over 50 percent in the last five years, many studios have found unique ways of working autonomously and together. Among them, collaborative ventures and hyperlocal producers are forging bonds with manufacturers both at home and abroad. From a contemporary blacksmith to a dynamic lighting trio, here are five of the leading practices shaping design in the city.