46. Omer Arbel

Creative Director, Bocci

46-OMER-Arbel-`GrantHarder_MG_4938Age: 39 | First AppearanceVancouver may love Omer Arbel, but that doesn’t mean the feeling is entirely mutual. He’s the city’s best-known designer—equally at home in interior design, industrial design, and architecture—and widely celebrated on the international stage (Gwyneth Paltrow just named his Bocci light installation one of her favourite picks from London Design Week)—but the design scene here, he says, is not ideal. “I’m not saying Vancouver designers are weak, but the culture is just too undeveloped to sustain a career. I’ve been splitting my time between here and Berlin. Vancouver designers often have to move and fight for their ground in other markets where they might not be connected.”His message reverberates through the local art and design communities: housing costs are high, the city is more intent on the tech and green industries, support systems are simply not in place. There’s speculation that he himself may move to Germany. Let’s hope he chooses instead to stay and help build the vibrant community he’d like to be part of.

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