November 20, 2015

A jewel on Jervis

Design takes centre stage at The Jervis, the first collaboration between developer Intracorp and retailer Inform Interiors


When longtime developer Intracorp decided to team up with iconic Vancouver furniture retailer Inform Interiors on The Jervis in Vancouver’s West End, they no doubt realized the design of the project would be heavily scrutinized. Niels Bendtsen, co-owner of Inform, decided early on to explore the idea of running the structural components along the building’s exterior rather than in the central core of the 19-storey high rise.

It allowed the design team to have remarkable flexibility in deciding how to shape the interiors, and to create large outdoor decks that function year-round as additional living space. They are framed by a window-wall system that allows truly seamless flow between the interior and exterior; it is set flush to the floor so that there are no impediments to walking between one area and the other.

The sheer size of the deck is demonstrated through the use of the furnishings in the show suite. The vignette on one side illustrates the potential for intimate dining for two. In the centre, two oversize wooden armchairs, an indigo ceramic planter and a low-slung circular coffee table rest on a huge outdoor rug. LED “candles” — which play a six-minute video recording of a real candle flame — flicker over the scene for a fun and sophisticated touch.

“The buyers here are very design-conscious. They want luxury that is functional and approachable.”
Scott Trepp,
principal of Trepp Design Inc.

Inside, there is more humour. A massive floor lamp in white acrylic casts gentle illumination over the room, while a purse made of reeds and a dog statue take pride of place near the entry. Two dove-gray sofas provide plenty of seating space without feeling bulky or too big for the room. Interior designer Scott Trepp, principal of Trepp Design Inc., says members of the design team were very conscious of editing what was included in the show suite because they knew they were dealing with sophisticated consumers.

“We wanted the spaces to feel gracious and grand, so there’s room for everything to breathe. If, for instance, you jammed a chair in a corner, you wouldn’t appreciate it,” he explains. “The buyers here are very design-conscious. They want luxury that is functional and approachable.”

Other thoughtful design tweaks abound. Electrical outlets have been placed horizontally and low to the floor to maximize the options when it comes to placing artwork on walls. The kitchen backsplash is made from one three-metre-long marble slab; backlighting and switches have been moved to avoid compromising its integrity.

Light switches are positioned lower than normal to place them where people will naturally reach for them. Pot lights inside closet millwork automatically turn on when doors are opened and turn off by themselves. Little ledges in the bathroom provide storage without requiring any floor space. Trepp says texturally, the team avoided high-gloss or high-shine materials; the cabinetry is matte white, the marble is honed and the hardwood floors are wire-brushed. “We’re getting away from that ‘look at me’ flashy effect,” he says. “These surfaces also contribute to ease of living because they involve less maintenance.”

Tom Staniszkis, principal of NSDA Architects, says timeless elegance was also a goal for the building’s exterior.

“The scale and simple form blends with some of the surrounding apartment buildings, as does the height of the podium level. It mimics that three- or four-storey height of the neighbouring structures before pulling back into the tower. The strong geometry gives form and order to the building.” The geometric factor is enhanced by the contrast of the exterior structural supports being picked out in a soft black against the cream of the building; panels meant to evoke rusted metal add splashes of colour.

The Jervis is expected to be ready for occupancy in spring 2018. Staniszkis says the retail component on the ground floor will anchor the corner of Jervis and Davie, and function as a neighbourhood divider; the retail area essentially ends at that intersection, with Davie becomes entirely residential after that. Since there was such a strong focus on making the homes livable and timeless, Staniszkis says he’s confident The Jervis will help shape the direction of architecture in Vancouver.


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