Office

OAO (Omer Arbel Office) is active within the traditionally defined fields of building and industrial design, craft and materials research; we are most comfortable in the ambiguous zones of overlap between them. We operate within constantly oscillating parameters of scale, site, socioeconomics, phenomenological experiment, power relationships, environmental imperative and allegorical relevance. Our goal is to create extraordinary projects.

OAO was established in 2005 in Vancouver by Omer Arbel, and has since grown to include a small team of both generalists and specialists from very different backgrounds, organized as a collaborative studio. Our clients include private individuals, manufacturing companies, fine craft focused ateliers, property developers and institutions of various sorts.

Projects

Series Title Subject Status Materials Year
  • 65.0 Ceramic containers Object Concept porcelain In-progress
  • 64.0 Ceramic containers Object Concept dyed porcelain In-progress
  • 63.0 Glass object Object Concept glass In-progress
  • 62.0 Power bar Object Concept electrical components, crochet In-progress
  • 61.0 Aluminum kerf chair Object Prototype aluminum In-progress
  • 60.4 Warming huts New Building Concept snow, wood, fire In-progress
  • 59.0 Farm New Building Concept In-progress
  • 58.0 Table Object Concept wood, steel, electrical components In-progress
  • 57.0 Chandelier Object Prototype foam glass, electrical components In-progress
  • 56.0 Structurally insulated panel Object Concept dimensional lumber, fabric, insulating foam In-progress
  • 55.0 Glass and ceramic Object Concept glass, ceramic In-progress
  • 52.0 Household storage containers Object Prototype EVA, glass, porcelain In-progress
  • 51.0 Cafe Renovation Construction Wood, ceramics In-progress
  • 49.0 House New Building Concept In-progress
  • 48.0 Ceramic pixels Object Prototype Porcelain, electrical components In-progress
  • 47.0 House New Building Concept Walnut, tarnished silver leaf cedar, silver leaf cedar, zinc, sand cast glass, fabric cast foam with Venetian plaster, glass, steel, concrete In-progress

    The project began with a classic 1950 modernist house on a granite quarry site on Long Island Sound, in the heart of New England.  Eighty years have passed since it was a working quarry, and nature has softened the otherwise architectural outlines and edges left over from primary industry.  The existing house is on a small promontory with a 180 degree sea view, a little beach, and a gorgeous granite ledge graced with a colony of rare wet weather flowering native cacti.  

    The entire quarry was originally developed in 1950 as a modernist subdivision project by architect Carleton Granberry, who was also commissioned by a noteworthy architectural historian to design and build a charming but now dilapidated house on this specific site. In 2011, OAO was commissioned to repair and renovate the house such that a new intervention might enter into dialogue with the classic modernist paradigm of 1950's New England, creating a hybrid whole.  The aspiration is that our architecture, focused on rich material exploration and a profound relationship with the site, (… and embracing of decorative elements), might activate the crisp, pure, and spare modernist vision of the original.  The point of departure for our project is twofold.  

    On the one hand, we needed to resolve an awkward relationship between a dead, so called sun-room, an uncomfortable kitchen, a cramped dining room and an ambiguous living room.   In addition, we had to accommodate the needs of the current owners, who are both academics, and who need dedicated, inspired, private workspace for study and writing.

    When analyzing the existing house, we found that its architecture responds very well to the far vista of its site, but virtually ignores the wonderful foreground and detail scale of its surroundings.  Our second intent became to give particular spaces in the house an intense relationship with the close foreground.  If we can be successful at this, then the 1950's focus on the far vista becomes balanced, grounded, and humane.

    Various synergies with our manufacturing company are proposed on the detail scale including a sculptural fabric formed foam and wood hybrid roof and sand cast glass clerestory.

  • 41.2 Studio Interior Construction Hay bales, foam, wood, paint, electrical components In-progress
  • 23.2 Tennis court New Building Concept Wood, copper, concrete, asphalt In-progress
  • 43.0 Bold bluff custodianship New Building Concept In-progress
  • 46.0 Ceramic containers Object Prototype Porcelain In-progress
  • 45.0 Salt experiments Object Concept Salt, electrical components In-progress
  • 44.0 Beeswax experiments Object Concept Beeswax, electrical components In-progress
  • 42.0 Device cases Object Concept Silicone, EVA In-progress
  • 37.0 Cabin New Building Concept Douglas fir, copper, blown glass, gessoed plywood In-progress
  • 35.0 House New Building Concept Concrete, glass, cast iron, steel, oak In-progress
  • 34.0 Offices and Factory Renovation Construction Glass, plywood, steel, terrazzo, tile, earth In-progress

    This project is a conversion of the 5th floor of an old factory building into an office and assembly space for Bocci. The scheme consists of cutting out a large opening in the roof of the building to create a courtyard, complete with a transplanted mature tree, around which the office spaces are arranged.

    With Chercover Massie and Associates Ltd.

     

  • 33.0 Design Store Interior Construction Concrete, drywall In-progress

    33 is a new addition for a robust, roughly built industrial building dating from 1950, with very course detailing and textures.  It is an attempt at exploring process within the context of the existing building's construction. The original structure was built to accomplish pragmatic tasks: house heavy manufacturing equipment and the people operating the equipment.  Very little care was given to aesthetic or cultural considerations when the original structure was conceived and constructed.   Our idea, in response to a limited budget, was to apply the same coarse construction systems that were used in the original structure to build the addition (rough poured in place concrete, steel windows).   We attempted to introduce a sculptural form into this conventional and coarse construction process – without being precious about it – and see how the form survived through the procedures of building.   The form was considered relative to the dimensions of the human body in motion, at times accentuating the experience of verticality, at other times the experience of horizontality.  In the end, using Kurt Schwitter's Merzbau as a precedent, we chose to paint the entire assembly exactly the same shade of white as the rest of the building; thus, the reading of the piece becomes somewhat confusing – is it somehow part of the original structure?  Can we add further accretions of this built fabric in an organic manner?

    Programatically, the intent was to build an exterior stair connecting two floors of a new high end contemporary design shop.  The stair wraps around an exterior void space, into which we inserted a vertical element (bamboo).  The stair is designed such that there are two generous landings along the path of descent or ascent, where special objects may be exhibited.  The inside face of the stair and its roof are glazed to fold energy and sight lines back into the store interior.

    With Chercover Massie and Associates Ltd.

    • Photo by David Christian
    • Photo by David Christian
  • 20.0 Industrial Building Renovation Construction Concrete, douglas fir, glass, cedar, steel In-progress

    20.0 is a printing press building in Vancouver with an aggregate construction history that includes two brick and timber structures dating from the 1910’s and 1930’s respectively, and a concrete structure dating from the 1950’s. The project is to renovate the building into a cultural hub that includes design studios and shops, fabrication ateliers, and a satellite campus for an art school. Along with the obvious restoration, waterproofing and stabilization required, we employ a strategy of subtraction—introducing courtyard spaces into the building fabric—and addition—adding stairs as accretions to the building exterior.

    With Chercover Massie and Associates Ltd.

    • Photo by Gwenael Lewis
    • Photo by Gwenael Lewis
  • 39.0 Desk Lamp Object Prototype Blown glass, borosilicate glass, electrical components, cast iron In-progress
  • 0.0 2014 Venice Biennale Competition Concept Crawler excavator with grapple In-progress

    A submission for consideration by the Canada Council for the Arts

            Designing for memory
            Designing for failure
            Designing for collapse
            Designing for absence

            Projects for Anarchitecture, letters to the group
            December 1973
            Gordon Matta-Clark

    Beginning on the opening day, and ending on the final day of the event, the Canadian pavilion will be demolished and disposed of by a Venetian demolition contractor, taking care to express the full violence, noise and visceral destruction of the process.

     

  • 40.0 Chair Object Prototype Wood In-progress
  • 50.0 Grand Prix Medals Object Complete Pewter, silver, gold, bronze, PVC 2013
  • 54.2 Restaurant Interior Complete Salvaged wood beams, steel, burlap, blown glass, copper wire, earth, cacti, electrical components 2012

    54.2 is an interior for a small restaurant ancillary to a commissary, serving two street taco trucks.  The room was conceived of as a series of stratified horizontal layers: a haphazard bent copper tube suspension system; lit, blown glass pendants designed to have cavities in which succulents and cacti are planted; Reclaimed wood slabs serving as tables, benches and a bar top;  a forest of steel tubes making up the table and bench legs; a concrete floor.  The visitor pierces through these layers as they make their path through the room.

  • 38.0 Chandelier Object In Production Blown glass, copper wire, earth, cacti, electrical components 2010-2012

    38 is a surrealistically motivated re-exploration of a technique of making originally developed for a previous project called 28, whereby air is pushed in and out of glass that is intermittently heated and cooled.  In the case of this project, the technique is stretched to the limits of possibility.  Large glass spheres are blown, and then a multitude of white cavities are introduced into them haphazardly, intentionally intersecting and colliding with each other.  Several of these are deep enough to contain earth and succulent and cacti plantings.  Others are used as housings for lighting elements.  There are two or three lighting elements per large sphere, and one or two planters.  Electricity and suspension are achieved using stiff copper tubing, which is allowed to tangle and crinkle, seemingly without regard for gravity. Once in a while, these copper tubes loop around satellite white planters, appearing to have escaped from the confines of the lit clear glass spheres.

    • Photo by Gwenael Lewis
    • Photo by Gwenael Lewis
  • 53.3 Urban plan Competition Concept 2011

    We propose to flood the study area to take false creek back to its 1898 boundary, burying Pacific and Expo Boulevards, a portion of Main and Quebec Streets, and Terminal Avenue in CO2 harvesting vehicular traffic tunnels.  The resulting 9 meter tall, 6 km long extension to the existing seawall is thickened so that in addition to retaining earth and water, it is also occupied by a monolithic wall of 3 story tall waterfront row housing, fronting directly onto false creek.  We propose that the city act as the developer for this new market housing typology, and that profits are used to fund the flooding and other elements of this design submission.  The seawall foundation is furnished with a massive geoplate heat exchange system, providing heating and cooling to not only the study area, but to all of downtown Vancouver.

    Flooded developable land area is replaced by an archipelago of 800 islands of various sizes.  Larger islands are fixed, and become new homes for the Vancouver Art Gallery, the currently planned Great Northern Way Campus, and other large cultural and institutional programs.  Smaller islands float, and are occupied by a variety of green industry and commercial programs.   Bike and pedestrian traffic occurs along a flexible network of 1500 retractable, detachable bridges, which span across the archipelago, linking the islands to each other, to the seawall, and to the existing urban fabric. Islands and bridges have the ability to organize and re-assemble in various ways in response to solar orientation, market demands, symbiotic relationships with other islands, the weather, and any number of other internal or external stimulus.   Material and cargo are ferried by boat.

    Each of the smaller islands is furnished with a micro-living machine. Sewage is naturally processed over time through anaerobic process in the basement of each island (in tanks, by microorganisms), and then, after it loses odor, through aerobic process by the introduction of increasingly complex bio matter ecosystems (within pool gardens that surround each island). Floating islands make a slow yearly itinerary through false creek, picking up waste and gathering additional plant and animal life at seven bio-depots (which are also conceived of as residential point towers); at the conclusion of the yearly itinerary, the sewage collected is completely degraded and safely discharged into false creek, and the islands return to the sewage depot for another load.   Micro-living machines on the 800 islands proposed can metabolize the sewage output of roughly half of the inhabitants of the City of Vancouver.

  • 18.0 Design Store Interior Construction Concrete, glass, drywall, gessoed plywood 2008-2011

    Kiosk is a high end contemporary furniture and design showroom located in Toronto, Canada. Various kinds of exhibition space are woven together using a complex system of circulation. The intent is to create a ‘display landscape’ which has complexity and variation, but which may be experienced in a clear sequence. Various voyeuristic techniques are employed to provide unexpected and enticing views and peeks throughout the space.

    With Giancarlo Garofalo Architect Inc. and Mark Zwicker.

     

    • Photo by Nic Lehoux
    • Photo by Nic Lehoux
  • 19.0 Bowl Object Prototype Sand cast copper, sand cast iron 2007-2010

    19.0 is an exploration of sand casting technique with various metals. The “overspill” is usually a by product of this process, which is cleaned up after production and re-finished. Instead, in this project we explored the potential formal possibilities of the “overspill” in giving the piece a phenomenological/formal identity unique from any other piece produced in the same manner.

    • Photo by Robert Keziere
    • Photo by Robert Keziere
  • 23.2 House New Building Complete Concrete, douglas fir, cedar, walnut, steel, glass 2006-2010

    23.2 is a house for a family, built on a large rural acreage. There is a gentle slope from east to west and two masses of old growth forest defining two “outdoor rooms” each with a its own distinct ecology and conditions of light; the house is situated at the point of maximum tension in between these two environments, and as such acts at once to define the two as distinct, and also to offer a focused transition between them.

    The design of the house itself began, as a point of departure, with a depository of one hundred year old Douglas Fir beams reclaimed from a series of demolished warehouses. The beams were of different lengths and cross sectional dimensions, and had astonishing proportions—some as long as 20 meters, some as deep as 90 cm. It was agreed that the beams were sacred artefacts in their current state and that we would not manipulate them or finish them in any way. Because the beams were of different lengths and sizes, we needed to commit to a geometry that would be able to accommodate the tremendous variety in dimension, while still allowing the possibility of narrating legible spaces. We settled on a triangular geometry.

    Reclaimed beams were used to assemble triangular frames; these were folded to create a roof which would act as a secondary artificial landscape, which we draped over the gentle slope of the site. We manipulated the creases to create implicit and explicit relationships between indoor and outdoor space, such that every interior room had a corresponding exterior room.

    In order to maximize ambiguity between interior and exterior space, we removed definition of one significant corner of each room by pulling the structure back from the corner itself (using bent steel columns in some cases), and introducing an accordion door system, such that the entire façade on both sides could retract and completely disappear.

    We developed a detail that would allow the beams to define not only the ceilingscape of each interior room, but also to read strongly as elements of the building façade.

    • Photo by Nic Lehoux
    • Photo by Nic Lehoux
  • 12.0 Flatware Object Prototype Stainless steel, sterling silver 2005-2010
  • 36.0 Cabin New Building Concept Shotcrete 2010
  • 1.3 Shelf Object Complete Plywood, stainless steel 2010

    We addressed the principle of the shelf once again, five years after it was first proposed. We improved the connection details both on the micro scale (between horizontal and vertical members) and on the macro scale (how the two layers of shelving connect to one another), added articulation to the edge of shelf, and produced it from laminated solid wood stock, rather than plywood. The balance between complexity and simplicity is maintained from the original design, but it has now assumed a layer of maturity that the original did not have.

    • Photo by Janis Nicolay
    • Photo by Janis Nicolay
  • 32.0 Café Interior Concept Carerra marble, porcelain, blown glass, stainless steel, tarnished silver mirror, upholstery 2010
  • 41.0 Exhibition Armature Device Prototype Hay bales, foam, wood, paint 2010

    This is a prototype for a system of exhibiting surrealist artwork commissioned by the Vancouver Art Gallery, and never put into production. We proposed the creation of a giant, haphazard ‘mass’ – a three dimensional automatic sketch inspired by the surrealist artists whose works the armature would contain. This prototype was our first opportunity to explore a casting technique where we haphazardly arrange a modular material (in this case hay bales) and then shoot foam onto the outside surface. We then remove the casting positive (hay bales) to reveal the negative shape formed by the foam. Wood boxes were placed within the hay bales to create crisp rectangular voids to contrast the irregular form of the surrounding foam. Each of these boxes is uniquely sized to hold a particular surrealist artwork and in dialogue with the curatorial sequence would contribute to the shape of the armature as it moved throughout the exhibition space.

    • Photo by Janis Nicolay
    • Photo by Janis Nicolay
  • 28.0 Light Object In Production Blown glass, electrical components 2009

    28 is an exploration of fabrication process which is part of OAO's quest for specificity in manufacturing. Instead of designing form itself, here the intent was to design a system that produces form. We developed a method that has loose parameters built into it which produce a different shape in every iteration of the fabrication procedure. Thus, every 28 made is formally different from any other 28 in existence.

    Individual 28 pendants result from a complex glass blowing technique whereby air pressure is intermittently introduced into and then removed from a glass matrix which is intermittently heated and then rapidly cooled. The result is a distorted spherical shape with a composed collection of inner shapes, one of which is made of opaque milk glass and houses a low voltage (12V, 20W halogen/xenon) or our proprietary and replaceable LED.

    28 pendants are designed to cluster in hexagonal shapes which nestle into each other to create patterns as dictated by the needs of the interior. They may also be clustered or composed in an ambient manner similar to their distant cousins the 14’s.

    • Photo by Spencer Hung
    • Photo by Spencer Hung
  • 11.0 Chandelier Object Concept Fiber optic cable, blown glass 2005-2009
  • 29.0 Bowl Object Prototype Slumped glass 2009

    This project is our first exploration of slumped glass technique. We were intrigued by delaminating and deconstructing colour patterns traditionally understood in two dimensions into three dimensional constructs. We define two layers of glass, each with a striped surface composed of different colours, separated in section by a 16mm layer of clear glass. The clear glass in between the layers creates a different reading for the object when it is viewed obliquely and when it is viewed directly. When looked at directly, it is a fairly conventional application of patternmaking loosely related to plaid. If looked at obliquely, the intermediate layer of clear glass between the two colourful striped layers creates great spatial complexity.

    • Photo by Robert Keziere
    • Photo by Robert Keziere
  • 30.0 Bowl Object Prototype Fused glass 2009

    This project is our first exploration of fused glass technique. Through experimentation, we discovered a way of manipulating an astonishing physical quality of glass. Glass at room temperature, as we are accustomed to understand it, appears solid. It is in fact an extremely viscous liquid—flowing very slowly downwards due to gravity (this is the reason the bottoms of old windows appear rippled). When heated and compressed, glass conforms to loosely crystalline geometrical configurations similar to the way multiple soap bubbles behave when pushed together. If a field of glass rods of different colours are fused together within the correct temperature/pressure environment, the rods (over time) take on a varied and fascinating faceted configuration. By introducing different diameters of rods into the matrix, and by choosing colours carefully, we are able to create an organic self regulating geometrical system with great aesthetic potential. This matrix, once fused, is slumped (in the case of this project) into a bowl shape (other potentially fascinating applications are pending…building cladding systems, etc).

    • Photo by Robert Keziere
    • Photo by Robert Keziere
  • 31.0 Chandelier Object Concept Copper, blown glass 2009
  • 27.3 Olympic and Paralympic Medals Object Limited Edition Gold, silver, bronze 2008-2009

    With Corrine Hunt.

    27.1: OAO's winning design proposal for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Medals began, as a conceptual point of departure, with the application of the iconographic jewelry archetype, the locket. The first iteration of the design comprised of two sheets of material, held together by hidden magnets, which housed an internal cavity into which the winning athlete could insert a sentimental object such as a photograph or lucky charm. A manufacturing technique was developed to ensure that each medal produced had a cavity of differing shape and proportion, so that every single medal produced was completely unique from every other medal made. This unique shape (hinting at the existence of an inner cavity) registers on the surface of each medal and became its formal raison d'etre. Inside the cavity, athletes would find a conventional pendant necklace, to be worn in day to day life (unlike the medal, which is typically placed in storage), which, once removed and worn, could be replaced with the sentimental object.

    Our intent was to find a way to capture the emotive and historical impact of the events unfolding. We suggest that in the 10 minutes before each event, VANOC operatives would shadow and record each finalist as they make their final preparations; the recording would end with the event beginning. These sounds would be engraved onto the inner surface of the medal right after the event. The intent is to make a medal which can be placed on an analog record player to play the final sounds before the competition.

    27.2: Due to various factors, the design was addressed and proposed a second time. The second iteration of the design made use of a two layer undulating surface, representing in abstraction the landscape of the host city Vancouver. Hidden within this surface, and held together, still by hidden magnets, was an internal cavity of differing shape and size, similar to that in the first iteration, with an inner pendant, etc. The undulating surface was conceived of as a much larger canvas than the medal itself, onto which a large piece of artwork by the aboriginal artist Corrine Hunt was applied. Individual medals were 'cropped' from this larger canvas, in a different location in each iteration of the fabrication process, making each completely unique from the others both in terms of the specific undulating form, and in terms of the portion of the artwork visible on each medals surface. This fabrication methodology was simpler and more realistic in that only one set of molds was required (with different, individual crops punched out of the larger whole), and yet the idea of every piece being unique from all the others was maintained.

    27.3: Further considerations resulted in a third and final re proposition of the design, which went into production. This re-proposition maintained an undulating form for the medal surface (unfortunately identical for each individual medal), with a laser etched, unique 'crop' of Corrine Hunt's master artwork (still reproduced as a 'larger canvas') on each individual piece.

    • Photo by Robert Keziere
    • Photo by Robert Keziere
  • 25.0 Bench Object Prototype Plywood, felt, stainless steel 2008

    Conventional upholstery is based on a simple principle: foam is encased in fabric to provide comfort. The 25.0 bench eliminates the foam from the equation and compensates by providing a vast excess of fabric, which is allowed to fold and pleat haphazardly to create a comfortable seat and back. The randomly folded pleats are allowed to shift as they conform to the human body to create interesting organic patterns over time.

    • Cory Dawson
    • Photo by Robert Keziere
  • 26.0 Restaurant Interior Complete Porcelain, drywall, zinc, plywood, tin
    2008

    Ping’s café is a small restaurant in Vancouver that serves French inspired yoshoku cuisine. We tried to consider light as a liquid medium, which we used to fill the volume of the room.

    With Joshua Yuji Olson.

  • 15.2 Penthouse Interior Complete Onyx, drywall, steel, walnut 2005-2008

    Four backlit translucent white onyx clad rooms (or ‘pods’) are distributed compositionally in 3 dimensions within the 2 storey interior of the penthouse. The backlit onyx pods, which act as giant lanterns for the spaces around them, delineate domestic activities within the penthouse, organizing public and private space. The pods are visible as light sculptures from the entire downtown core of Vancouver and of course, serve to illuminate the spaces around them. A strong contrast is established between the experience of being inside and outside of the pods. While outside the pods, the vast floor plate of the penthouse is treated minimally, in an effort to focus the spaces on the onyx pod as an object; these spaces draw strength and definition from the pods that occupy them. In contrast, the experience inside the pods is private, sensually rich, baroque with detail, and introverted in focus.

    • Photo by Josh Dunford
    • Photo by Joshua Dunford
  • 22.0 Electrical Device In Production Injection moulded plastic, electrical components 2006-2007

    The 22 is a complete suite of electrical wall accessories which challenge the traditional, tired and ubiquitous cover plate concept. Power receptacles, lighting control dimmer switches, on/off switches, telephone and data connections, cable and speaker outlets, etc. may now be mounted flush into drywall or millwork with a new, CSA and UL approved, utility patent pending system which eliminates the need for a cover plate. Switches and power receptacles can now, finally, be flush with the surface of the wall and significantly more visually subtle then ever before.

    • Photo by Cory Dawson
    • Photo by Cory Dawson
  • 24.2 Lamp Device In Production Electrical components, glass 2007

    The 24.2 LED lamp is a longer-life, energy efficient alternative to typical halogen or xenon lamps. This proprietary design utilizes Bocci’s standard G4 lamp holder which is designed to accept either the 24.1 long life xenon lamp or the 24.2 LED. The possibility of dual usage allows the opportunity for existing fixtures with xenon lamping to be retrofitted on site by simply switching out the lamp head and transformers. Rated for minimum 50,000 hours.

  • 21.0 Chandelier Object In Production Porcelain, borosilicate glass, electrical components 2007

    A random amount of raw porcelain is flattened and rolled into a pancake shape, which is then wrapped around a frosted borosilicate glass inverted trumpet diffuser. The thin porcelain skin is allowed to flop over the borosilicate core to create whatever form is most natural to it, thus making a unique form, of varying size, in each iteration of the fabrication process.

    21’s are meant to be mounted in groupings, such that the pieces touch each other to form clumps. The relatively simple shapes of the individual pendants, when placed in a group, make a complex sculptural form.

    Each diffuser houses a low voltage (12V, 10W halogen/xenon) lamp. A strong contrast is established between the organically distributed soft light passing through the translucent white porcelain skin and the sharp, crisp light passing through the borosilicate glass diffuser.

    • Photo by Michael Boland
  • 16.0 Chandelier Object Prototype Cast glass, electrical components 2006
  • 17.1 Table Object Complete Walnut, carerra marble, porcelain 2006

    The 17.1 tables collapse the distinction between plate and table in an aestheticized manner that begins to question ideas of formal dining etiquette. On the other hand, the tables are a celebration of contrast between the heavy solid walnut (or marble) tabletop and the light paper fine porcelain dishware set into it.

    • Photo by Robert Keziere
  • 14.0 Chandelier Object In Production Cast glass, electrical components 2005

    Traditionally, chandeliers have been understood as central, sculptural installations, which become the visual focus of a room. The 14 series, designed in 2005, is the original chandelier to challenge this concept. Instead of a central sculptural object, the 14 is an ambient chandelier, achieving its power through a strategy of composition and clustering. The 14 fills the volume of a room, making the height and shape of its dimensions understood to the inhabitants in a direct physical manner. 

    The 14 is an articulated, seamed cast glass sphere with a frosted cylindrical void that houses either a low voltage (12V, 10Watt halogen/xenon) or proprietary and replaceable LED. Individual pendants are visually quite subtle, but gain tremendous strength when multiplied and clustered in large groups. Light interacts with the bubbles and imperfections of the cast glass to produce a glow reminiscent of small candles floating within spheres of water. Cast glass is an organic process, imperfect by nature, and each 14 is handmade; thus, every piece produced is unique.

    • Photo by Michael Boland
  • 8.0 Chair Object Prototype Ductal concrete 2005

    The 8.0 is the first in a collection of outdoor furniture developed in collaboration with the concrete manufacturer Lafarge. This chair is fabricated using the new ultra strong concrete product Ductal, which has only been used previously in infrastructural applications. The emphasis is on using the tremendous strength of the material to achieve an extremely thin profile for the piece and a shocking cantilever for the seat of the chair.

    • Photo by Shannon Loewen
    • Photo by Shannon Loewen
  • 3.0 Design Store Renovation Complete Cast in place concrete, drywall, glass 2002-2005

    The project is a renovation of an old brick building constructed in the late 1800’s into Vancouver’s highest profile furniture store, Inform Interiors. The scheme is organized around a deep cut in the centre of the building, in which a generous concrete stair floats. Omer acted as project and administrator for this project while at Peter Busby’s office, starting with preliminary meetings with the municipality, design, leading a team through the production of working drawings, and field review of the construction on site.

    Omer Arbel for Busby + Associates Architects with Niels Bendtsen.

  • 10.0 Bridge Object Concept Concrete, glass 2005
  • 9.0 Wine Rack Object Concept Ductal concrete 2005
  • 7.0 Bar Stool Object Concept Ductal concrete 2005
  • 5.2 Loft Interior Complete Glass, concrete, mosaic tile, steel, walnut 2002-2005

    The project consisted of a seismic upgrade and restoration of a heritage building in Vancouver's historic gastown district, and a loft interior design project.  The loft is organized around a new courtyard open to above, inserted into the heritage fabric of the building, allowing light into the centre of the very deep plan.  All other interior elements are rendered crisply using precisely machined elements, conceived to stand in strong contrast to the rough heritage fabric of the existing shell.

    • Photo by Martin Tessler
    • Photo by Martin Tessler
  • 6.0 Wine Rack Object Concept Sheet metal, magnets 2004
  • 4.0 Screen Object Prototype Laminated white oak 2004

    The 4.0 is a proposal for a screen composed of three repeated and alternating laminated oak veneer components which are held in tension by four stainless steel rods.

    • Photo by Shannon Loewen
    • Photo by Shannon Loewen
  • 2.4 Chair Object Complete Polyester resin, stainless steel 2003

    The 2.4 is a cast resin lounge chair with a stainless steel skeleton. Structurally speaking, it is a hybrid system: tension forces are transferred through the stainless steel skeleton; compression forces are transferred through the cast resin shape. 2.4 chairs are cast sequentially in layers on their side. An endless variety of opaque and transparent color combinations is possible. Layer compositions are inspired by color samples selected by each patron; thus, each 2.4 chair commissioned is unique. A limited edition of twenty 2.4 chairs were produced in 2003-2004 which have since appreciated in value significantly, forming part of important private and public collections.

    • image by Shannon Loewen
    • image by Shannon Loewen
  • 1.1 Shelf Object Complete Plywood, stainless steel 2002

    The 1.1 Shelf is a dismountable system of storage composed of two layers of shelving offset by 12 cm. The system may be wall mounted, in which case the offset allows book titles in the back row to be visible behind those in the front row. It may also be assembled as a partition between spaces, with book spines visible on both sides.