Concord Pacific has unveiled one of the most striking towers Vancouver has ever seen at the North end of the Cambie Street bridge. As a nod to new ‘Vancouverism’, The ARC is a bold, luxurious ‘gateway’ to Vancouver’s downtown – a modernist (and residential) take on civic arches like Paris’ L’Arc de Triomphe or Saarinen’s Gateway Arch in St. Louis. These two conjoined towers will forever change our city’s skyline and introduce much needed housing stock to the Vancouver market.
More importantly, the ARC pioneers a serious commitment to community and urban living thanks to significantly larger and better communal spaces. Compared to other residential projects, The ARC has dedicated expansive areas to amenities and community life including a ground-breaking, gravity-defying glass bottom pool, a spa with tepidarium and therapeutic Mr. Steam experience showers, state-of-the-art fitness centre, cappuccino lounge with landscaped gardens and a grand outdoor patio – all with jaw dropping city views. This focus ensures residents are enticed to expand their horizons beyond the confines of their suites – to build community and friendships through organic encounters with neighbours in these gorgeous spaces. For LIV, this is the new Vancouverism – design that encourages community.
For the common areas in The Arc, the client wanted to capture the feeling of a luxury hotel. For them, this would be a key differentiator setting this development apart from other multi-residential buildings in Downtown Vancouver. The LIV Design team began by looking at various high-end, luxury hotels in Europe for inspiration, making careful note of how guests used the lobby and amenity spaces, what kind of finishes were used, and what kind of features were memorable.
The team spent a lot of time refining the wallpaper and carpet designs for the long corridors to ensure they conveyed a luxury resort experience. Furniture for these areas needed to be durable and timeless as well as beautiful to accommodate many residents and appeal to many tastes.
Lighting, too, was very important for creating a hotel feel. Wall sconces were custom designed by our team to enhance every carefully selected design element and finish – from the wallpaper to the carpets – to encourage ‘flow’ and a seamless transition to the condos. In addition, ceiling height was maximized in all common areas to expand the space and convey a luxurious, relaxing ambience.
In order to overcome the architectural challenges of the building, LIV worked closely with numerous experts in order to achieve the vision for the ARC. Francl Architecture, the building architects and the mastermind behind the 200ft high glass bottom pool, worked closely with the team to fine-tune the flow of the interior space, from one amenity area to the next. Barrisol and Nemetz Lighting provided key insights and custom solutions in order to bring the illuminated ceiling vision to life.
Inspired by lantern festivals, hot air balloons and various art installations, the “Ode to Canada” ceiling is a colourful, captivating and consistent feature above all the ARC’s amenity spaces. The graphic of the illuminated ceiling changed numerous times from initial concept to what it is now – beginning with flow & water, to geometric shapes, to the abstract maple leaf collage we see today. The team collaborated with graphic Designer Candelaria De La Losa to conceive and realize this vision. One of the biggest challenges was bringing the finalized design to life. Barrisol, a French company specializing in stretched fabric ceilings, designed a custom system that could make all of the angles and bends required.
Next was figuring out how to provide consistent lighting throughout the entire ceiling. To properly illuminate this artwork, Nemetz Lighting consultants created a carefully planned grid of lighting found behind the fabric ceiling to ensure the vitality of the space and beauty of the ceiling looks true to vision when it is illuminated. It was important that the lighting was even so all the lighting strips started at the lowest point of the mechanical installations (plumbing and pipes), dropping the ceiling height further.
The ARC proved to be one of the most rewarding projects for the LIV Design team. The lengthy design and construction process required our design team to be nimble and open-minded in order to innovate quickly to address challenges and changes as they arose.
Some other lessons we learned throughout the course of this project:
Keep lines of communication open with all stakeholders
Architects, engineers and construction crew to ensure design vision is executed or revised as necessary. We held bi-weekly meetings to ensure we were all on the same page.
Be mindful that prospective buyers’ tastes vary wildly.
Choose for Durability
When selecting furniture for common areas, durability must be a key consideration when choosing upholstery and finishes.
Think outside the box
The building’s curves required unique and challenging customizations to carpets and illuminated ceilings including the custom ceiling installation. LIV gleaned alot about the distance needed between the ceiling membrane and the light fixture(s) for even illumination.
When creating the maple leaf ceiling for the amenity floor, LIV learned we had to mix a lot of colors in order to achieve a white light and not cast a specific pool of color from the ceiling (i.e. large patches of blue or red etc.) over the floor, pool or pool deck.
Natural Light is the Best Light
Well, we knew this all along but it was emphasized at The ARC. The over-sized windows in all the common areas ensure residents are energized and inspired whether they are working out, socializing or simply relaxing in these spaces.
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IDS Vancouver 2019 VIP Lounge (designed by LIV)