Posts Tagged ‘Martin Tessler’

Douglas Coupland’s magical white house

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler

This is by far one of my favourite houses in Vancouver. It’s in the municipality of West Vancouver, home to many of the best modern houses in the city, and it belongs to the novelist Douglas Coupland. He grew up in West Vancouver, not far from this house. Just as beautiful as this place is the house below it, a beautiful midcentury modern post and beam house designed by the architect Ron Thom. That’s the house Coupland actually lives in with his architect partner David Weir. Coupland is an artist and designer as well as a writer, and the house shown here serves as his gallery, guest house, and many other things. One of the reasons Coupland bought a second house is that the rate of demolition of midcentury modern houses in Vancouver is accelerating, and he wanted to preserve what was in his own back yard. Everything in the house is original – the flagstone floor, the carport, the railings. Lastly I’m sure it’s partly my visual OCD or some pyschedelic tendency, as well as of course their beauty, but his collections of shapes and objects are completely mesmerizing to me. Spools of thread, lego, polyhedra, modernist vases: I’m fixated. There are informative captions on the NYT blog – click on photos to go there (or link at bottom), and see my previous post on Coupland here. The fantastic photos are by Vancouver photographer Martin Tessler for the New York Times.

Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler

Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler

Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler

Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler

Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler

Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler

Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler

Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler

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Douglas Coupland's white house, West Vancouver, by photographer Martin Tessler

For NYT captions, click below:

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Douglas Coupland’s Canada House

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Douglas Coupland, Canada House, photo by Martin Tessler

Douglas Coupland's Canada House, photos by Martin Tessler

The writer Douglas Coupland (“Generation X”), who has been interested in Canadiana for a long time, recently went about finding a classic 70s “builder’s special” house slated for demolition, filled it with objects constructed from the Canadian paraphernalia of his childhood, and then staged a party in it. He called the sprawling art installation “Canada House” and its eccentrically decorated rooms contained numerous sculptures assembled from items that only Canadians would really fully understand. Coupland’s Canadiana is not really the hunting lodge/maple syrup Canadiana of the East, but a specifically West Coast version referencing the ocean and all other things British Columbian. It’s a lesser known fact that Coupland had a career as an artist before he became a writer, graduating from the Emily Carr College of Art and Design in Vancouver where he grew up. Coupland’s interest in Canadiana, a lot of it quite odd, first appeared in his two books “Souvenir  of Canada.” The book and his “Canada House” installation spawned a recent film called Souvenir of Canada in which the entire process described above is documented. It’s a strange combination of dispassionate irony and deeply personal nostalgia. An interesting CBC review is here. These fantastic photos were shot by well-known Vancouver photographer Martin Tessler who has also shot covers for Metropolitan Home and many other shelter magazines. Photos, in order: fishing float lamps; whale vertebrae made from styrofoam jetsam; mussel shell midden; Haida button blanket.

Douglas Coupland Canada House/Souvenir of Canada, photo by Martin Tessler

Douglas Coupland Canada House/Souvenir of Canada, photo by Martin Tessler