April 24, 2014
Visitor No. 5,386: Geoffrey Erickson
This week, we’re launching GWERK Profiles, a new feature on the amazing contributors, influencers and people that make up Vancouver.
In the series, we get to know a few of the 8,000+ visitors who have come through our exhibition doors, learn about their personal GWERK experiences and continue the dialogue on why they think city-building and design dialogue is so important Vancouver’s future and its residents.
Our first profile of the series is Geoffrey Erickson, nephew of the late and great Arthur Erickson.
Tell us about yourself and about the Arthur Erickson Foundation.
Well, I come from a family that have been involved in Vancouver’s art and design scene since the 1930’s. My background is primarily in graphic and interior design, but also in photography, video production, and most recently in publishing. I had an interior design practice in Toronto, following graduation from OCA in Environmental Design, and worked with many of the top designers there including, of course, my uncle Arthur.
More recently I have been managing the arthurerickson.com website and the inquiries from all over the world — mostly from students doing projects based on his work. The Erickson Collection and estate matters are also ongoing, such as donations to various museums and charities. Next month I’m off to China to photograph two projects conceived by Arthur, which were recently completed. That is something I particularly love to do!
Also next month we will be giving the first annual Arthur Erickson Travelling scholarship to a winning student with funds raised through The Arthur Erickson Fund For Excellence in Architecture, the Royal Canadian Academy, and the Arthur Erickson Foundation.
The family was delighted when the Arthur Erickson Foundation was finally launched in 2012. It is a group with tremendous talent, and the launch event was held in the wonderful penthouse of AEF President Phil Bonhame, on top of the Marine Building. Currently my sister Emily is representing the family seat on the board.
How does the “gesamtkunstwerk” philosophy resonate with you?
This resonates with me because I am working on a book about the Hugo Eppich House, which personifies this word. This magnificent house comprises Arthur’s steel architecture — manufactured with great precision by EBCO, detailing by Nick Milkovich and Inara Kundzins, landscape architecture by Cornelia Oberlander, artwork by Egon Eppich, and custom furnishings by interior designer Francisco Kripacz. It is a complete work! Francisco’s interior design is also featured in another new book I have compiled which will launch in 2015, titled “Francisco Kripacz, Interior Designer”, with text by Arthur.
Coincidentally, Phyllis Lambert describes the Four Season’s restaurant in New York (by Mies Van Der Rohe and Phillip Johnson) as “the ultimate Gesamtkunstwerk” in her new book “Building Segram”. She chose Mies to be the architect of the building, and is now the Chairman of the Arthur Erickson Foundation.
The reception to the exhibition and to the Westbank Salon Series has been incredible. Why is it important to have intimate and open dialogue around design and city-building?
Because it will improve the quality of our surroundings. Also, I agree that there should be more architectural competitions for important projects, as suggested by Leslie Van Duzer in the first salon. That’s how Arthur and Geoff Massey got SFU back in 1963! It would give some of the brightest new designers a chance to do something great in our city.
What is one thing that you would like to see Vancouver do more of, or see improved upon? And what do you love about this city?
The thing I love most of about Vancouver is nature, which has more presence here than any other significant city.
Where can people learn more about the Arthur Erickson Foundation?
A separate AEF website is nearing completion, which will deal with foundation matters. Meanwhile, arthurerickson.com continues to expand with new material from our collection and photos donated by top photographers. Any inquiries can be directed through the site. We recently started a blog as well: http://arthur-erickson-officialblog.tumblr.com/.