Westbank has built a practice around long-term commitments to artistry, sustainability and city-building. These commitments underlie an orientation towards projects like Woodwards, Vancouver House, Mirvish Village, Telus Garden and Oakridge – catalysts for larger change that go beyond the borders of the projects themselves. We are here to create. To provoke. To ignite. We are the vehicle for a new movement of cultural expression.

As the practice matures, we have become more ambitious. With every new project reflecting our commitment to the philosophy behind Gesamkunstwerk, or in our recent work the Japanese philosophy behind layering, the net effect is that our work becomes much more complex and far-reaching.

The core of Westbank’s mission is to create a body of work with a high degree of artistry that helps foster more equitable and beautiful cities. Westbank is active across Canada and in the United States, with projects including luxury residential, Five Star hotels, retail, office, rental, district energy systems, affordable housing initiatives and public art. Established in 1992, we are one of North America’s leading developers, with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Seattle, Shanghai, Beijing, Taiwan, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and over 25 billion dollars of projects completed or under development.

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May 02, 2014

Visitor No. 9,814: Karin Bohne

Continuing our GWERK Profiles feature on the amazing contributors, influencers and people that make up Vancouver, today we introduce Karin Bohne, founder of Moeski Design Agency.

Tell us about yourself and what you do. 

I am the owner and art director of the Vancouver-based boutique interior design firm, Moeski Design Agency. We work in a wide range of industries including residential, restaurant/hospitality, retail and office — and we design really cool projects!

My vision as a leader, a business owner, and a mentor is to inspire those around to me to reach for more, to risk, and to be as creative as possible. I strongly believe that creativity is like currency — the more you dream and express your creativity, the more you generate and the more you attract. Creativity is contagious.

How does the philosophy of “gesamtkunstwerk” weave into your life?

Being an interior designer, I naturally value and understand the importance of good design. Design, for me, is in everything and is everywhere. Design is in literally every facet of our lives: the cars we drive, the homes we live it, the t-shirts we wear, the beer mugs we drink from.

For me, the essence of design is about the relationship of art to function, and the more thoughtful, the more deliberate, the more innovative that relationship is, the better the design also is. Great design, whether objects or buildings, can become an iconic statement that has immense cultural and historical meaning, such as the Coliseum in Rome or the iPhone.

You came to the mobile photography exhibition reception during opening weekend. Why do you think art, architecture, photography and design are important things to discuss and enjoy in a city?

Art, architecture, photography and design are important to discuss and enjoy because they are the reflection and expression of a city’s culture. These are the elements that are the pulse of city and, collectively, they shape and define a city. A city’s identity is evoked by its landscape, buildings and structures alike, and the art, design and photography produced in that city are the expressions of its people and culture. These elements give life and context to a city and should be enjoyed and celebrated as such.

If you could improve upon anything in Vancouver in terms of design or urban space, what would it be?

We are so lucky to live in Vancouver with its naturally beautiful setting. If I were to weigh in on our urban space, I would stress two points: green space and diversity in building design. Although there are numerous parks, green space and trees sprinkled throughout Vancouver, I would stress that we need even more, and urban planning should be forced to consider it. Vancouver has a unique relationship with nature, and I think this should be even further expressed in our urban planning.

Vancouver has become known for a certain type of building, glass and concrete with commercial units on the ground or lower floors and residential units on top. Our city need more diversification in building design, and more creative and interesting building structures.

Name two must-see places, spaces and/or public realms people need to see or visit here, even if they’re a local. 

Almost any seawall in Vancouver is worth walking on a beautiful sunny day. Every time I run the seawall from my Yaletown apartment, I’m reminded of why I love this city so much and that I feel so lucky and proud to be a part of it.

Follow Karin on Twitter at @MoeskiDesign. To read last week’s GWERK Profile with Geoffrey Erickson, click here!


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