March, 2015

  1. Studio Robazzo

    March 25, 2015 by Nevin Thompson

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    When Victoria’s newest design studio opens its doors at the corner of Pembroke and Douglas Streets on Monday you’re invited.

    Calling itself a “material investigation laboratory,” Studio Robazzo specializes in designing, prototyping and producing everything from backdrops and installations to handcrafted wooden goods, designer jewelry and housewares.

    “We believe a thoughtfully designed object carries much more value than something mass produced,” says co-founder and Waterloo student Christina Robev.

    Studio Robazzo on the B-Side by Tectoria on Grooveshark

    The studio startup is best known so far for Drifted Jewellery. Drifted’s collection is a made-in-Victoria line of pendants and earrings produced from all-natural materials.

    What makes this jewelry unique?

    The Drifted collection uses locally-salvaged Arbutus, driftwood and pine beetle wood from BC’s Interior.

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    Studio Robazzo: located in the heart of Victoria’s growing creative district

    Christina and partners Andrew Azzopardi and Sarah McFadzen less than a year ago and planted the seeds for Studio Robazzo.

    Located in the heart of the growing design cluster on the north edge of downtown, their new studio is a collaborative effort that brings together a whole constellation of Victoria’s most creative stars.

    “We’re bridging as many disciplines as possible to help create innovative, sustainably-minded products and services,” says Christina.

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    Studio Robazzo’s new space on Douglas at Pembroke.

    The studio is located near Discovery Coffee and Vic42, just north of Victoria’s historic Chinatown on Fisgard Street. Phillip’s Brewery and Autonomous Furniture Collective are just around the corner from Studio Robazzo.

    Talented newcomers add to Victoria’s creative critical mass

    Three partners, Andrew Azzopardi, Christina Robev and Sarah McFadzen launched Studio Robazzo.

    “While the three of us are the original visionaries behind the project,” says Christina, “we also owe a lot to a dedicated team of collaborators and volunteers who have mobilized to help us realize our vision so far.”

    Studio Robazzo got its start when Andrew and Christina, both trained as architectural designers at the University of Waterloo, moved from Toronto to Victoria in 2014.

    Inspired by the city’s creative pulse, the duo had a vision to create an alternative multi-disciplinary design studio that could tackle any problem in a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable way.

    It wasn’t long until Andrew and Christina met New Brunswick transplant Sarah McFadzen in another another up-and-coming creative nexus in Victoria, Fernwood Square.

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    The trio discovered they all shared a similar vision and, soon enough, launched their first studio out of a furniture shop.

    The Drifted jewelry line came next, as well as an invitation to design backdrops for Fashion Splash at Ship Point.

    A few months later they decided to expand to a beautiful 2600 sq.ft studio on Douglas Street.

    Who inspires Christina, Andrew and Sarah?

    Christina says Studio Robazzo team gets a lot of its inspiration from the energy that powers Victoria’s creative and design scene.

    Victoria’s community of designers and makers also tends to share similar values and goals, such as trying to incorporate sustainability with design and creativity.

    “Our biggest inspiration in Victoria is Melodie Reynolds,” says Christina. Reynolds is the founder of Elate Clean Cosmetics, another hidden Victoria company that creates and sells vegan, non-toxic and all-natural line of beauty products.

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    “From the moment we met her during our time as the design team behind Victoria’s Fashion Splash in August 2014, Melodie has been a huge supporter,” says Christina. “She’s a brave client ready for serious innovation and experimentation and is someone who we believe is paving the way for eco-conscious culture.”

    What’s next for Studio Robazzo?

    “Based on the enthusiasm we have received so far we hope to be able to expand our vision and philosophy nation-wide, by opening collaborative design studios in several cities across the country,” Christina says.

    How to find Studio Robazzo

    The studio and wholesale showroom is located at 2001-F Douglas St, at the intersection with Pembroke. The studio launches on Monday, March 30 and is open between 10AM and 6PM on weekdays.

    You can take a look at Studio Robazzo’s design projects on FacebookInstagram and Tumblr.


  2. The rebirth of Victoria’s analogue

    March 19, 2015 by Nevin Thompson

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    If you haven’t heard of analogue magazine, get ready for the handcrafted Victoria culture magazine’s relaunch on April 1st, 2015.

    analogue represents, documents and promotes the vibrant, energetic music, literature, and arts scene that makes Victoria such an interesting place to live.

    analogue has featured many local artists so far in its short life. Highlights include exclusive publication of local Governer General Award nominated poet Garth Martens, the road diaries of Queen of Vancouver Island Carolyn Mark, and William Farrant’s humorous accounts of his trips to Fort McMurray.

    Launched just over a year ago in December 2013, in just six months analogue would quickly become a much beloved arts and culture sensation.

    The magazine developed a cult following by keeping an on eye up-and-coming local writers, performers and others pouring their heart and soul into Victoria’s vibrant cultural scene.

    While analogue now has a strong online presence, the magazine was launched, as its name suggests, to be something tangible.

    analogue venerates the tangible and is hyper-local in its focus.”

    According to Nick Lyons’ vision, analogue is a print magazine that combines stylish and interesting design with high-quality paper that feels good on your fingertips.

    Besides a quiz section by Benji Duke, analogue‘s first issue featured writing by local authors Isobel Maher and Scott Lansdowne, and local historian John Adams, best known for documenting Victoria’s haunted walks.

    “Poetry stands in the place of advertising,” says Nick Lyons in analogue‘s manifesto, while boasting “analogue contains the most extensive events listing of any Victorian publication.”

    The images provided by analogue photo editor Ilijc Albanese.

    Ilijc’s photographs, says Nick, provide a cornerstones for the magazine.

    Graphic designer Janice Hidlybrant took analogue‘s aesthetic to another level. Website designer Kristen Bingham brought Nick’s vision to life online.

    After going on hiatus for a few months in 2014, analogue will relaunch on April 1st, 2015 with a beefed-up roster including more editors and a new, high-powered publisher, Mary Ellen Green.

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    “Until now analogue has focused on print,” says Mary Ellen Green. “However, we launched a website last year along with an extensive social media campaign. The irony of having a website called analogue, of course, is not lost on us. But an online presence is a necessary part of media now.”

    Capturing the very essence of Victoria

    The passion of local writer Nick Lyons, analogue captured the very essence of Victoria from the day it launched in 2013.

    The magazine was launched at the Copper Owl, the cool vintage venue and gathering place located above the historic Paul’s Motor Inn, itself a Victoria landmark.

    Nick is a frequent presence at the Copper Owl, where he spins records (and cassettes!) posing as his alter ego DJ Bimbo.

    Cassette tapes are one of Lyons’ calling cards.

    For the first launch party in December, 2013, Nick handed out 50 mix tapes that were devoted to showcasing local bands – if you can get your hands on one of these limited-edition tapes, count yourself lucky.

    Why the focus on cassette tapes? Nick says he thrives on nostalgia, and loves the mid-spectrum sounds provided by magnetic tape.

    Performing as DJ Bimbo at the Copper Owl, Cenote and other venues, Nick Lyons makes mix tapes for every one of his shows. By the way: if you have a CD player or cassette tape player (or both) he can use, let Nick Lyons know. He may reward you with a beer.

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    The Righteous Rainbows of Togetherness will be profiled in the April 2015 issue of analogue. Photo credit: Ilijc Albanese.

    analogue‘s 2015 relaunch

    After spending a one-year hiatus preparing to take analogue magazine from a project to a business, Nick Lyons and his team are ready to relaunch in a big way.

    A key to the relaunch is publisher Mary Ellen Green.

    “Getting Mary Ellen on board is is a major step toward the success of the business,” says Nick Lyon who now works as editor-in-chief.

    Nick and publisher Mary Ellen are themselves part of Victoria’s cultural DNA. Both are alumni of Victoria institution Monday Magazine, where Mary was arts editor, and Nick her most reliable freelancer. Nick and Mary Ellen became fast friends and found they worked well together.

    Another important addition to the analogue team is associate editor Scott Lansdowne.

    “Scott has been a regular contributor to the magazine since its inception,” says Nick. “With his thorough, deliberate eye Scott polishes every piece to a fine lustre.”

    With Mary Ellen taking on much of the business end of the publication, Nick says he’ll able to concentrate more on the creativity that gives analogue its soul.

    Besides the usual focus on poetry and literature, the April issue of analogue will feature a ton of stories exploring Victoria’s blazing hot indie music scene, plus an insider’s look at Victoria’s improv theatre culture.

    As well, this being Victoria, wine, beer and gin reviews will take a centre stage in analogue.

    “It’s a complete mixed bag,” says Nick Lyons. “The strength of analogue lies in its diversity.”

    Analogy: tangible interaction, locally-sourced content

    “In April we will be launching another publication called ‘analogy’,” says publisher Mary Ellen. “This single-page, double-sided free monthly will have a wider distribution than analogue, and will feature crossword puzzles, trivia, comics and other highly engaging content.”

    The purpose of analogy, says Mary Ellen, is to offer a tangible form of interaction with locally sourced content.

    How to find analogue after April 1st

    Look for the analogy one-sheet and analogue magazine around downtown Victoria beginning April 1st. In the meantime, check out www.analoguemag.ca.

     B-Side extra: Nick Lyons’ local cassette tape mix

    Can’t get your hands on one of Nick’s hard-to-find cassette tape mixes? Track down these local bands at your friendly neighbourhood record store:

    • Hank Pine
    • Lily Fawn
    • David P. Smith
    • Chet
    • Frog Eyes
    • Bucan Bucan
    • Black Valley Gospel
    • Bankrobber
    • Hearse
    • Dylan Stone

     

     

     


  3. The B-Side: Tectoria Takes on SXSW

    March 12, 2015 by Nevin Thompson

    there is something about victoria

    Led by Dan Gunn, a team of Tectorians headed down to Austin, Texas for SXSW for a week to represent everything we love about Victoria – the lifestyle, the weather, the live music, the beer, the coffee culture and much more.

    SXSW is one of the biggest cultural events of the year. Organized in Austin (“the Blue City in the Red State”), SXSW attracts hundreds of thousands of people for a massive gathering that is equal parts tech conference and live music festival.

    Everyone from tech startups to investors to potential tech employees to creative geniuses will be attending SXSW.

    In short, everyone we want to tell about Victoria is there, and that is why we made such big plans this year.

    How We’re Showing Off Victoria at SXSW

    We have a booth at the the SXSW Job Fair where we will be inviting job seekers and investors to the “Taste of Victoria” event we’re hosting in Austin, all while promoting individual elements that make Victoria such a great place to live and to work:

    Somethingaboutvictoria.ca

    The coolest thing we are taking with us? An amazing collection of promo goodies that are all tied together by an amazing new website called somethingaboutvictoria.ca.

    Some of the other promotion tools we’re using down there are:

    • Posters in a film noir style with the above-named individual elements
    • A bound book of postcards with the individual elements
    • “Restricted” panther T-shirts, pointing to the above website
    • An inspirational video with local spoken-word artist (and City of Victoria Councillor) Jeremy Loveday, shining a light on what makes Victoria different
    • Printed invitations to the “Taste of Victoria” event we’re hosting at Holy Mountain in Austin onMarch 17th
    • Printed earphone promotional giveaways
    • 8 different coasters with attention-getting modern movie quotes, withwww.SomethingAboutVictoria.ca on the flip side
    • T-shirts with the attention-getting modern movie quotes, also pointing to the uber-URL
    • Mirror clings with the movie quotes for bathroom guerrilla marketing

    Something About Victoria – the video

    We provided a sneak peak of this incredible marketing campaign earlier this week. We posted this amazing, soul-stirring video by Dave Wallace  about everything we love about Victoria (but almost no one outside of our city even knows about):

    Visit www.SomethingAboutVictoria.ca and share the incredibly motivational video on your social feeds, in your job postings and in your recruitment packages.

    We want people to know about all of the opportunities there are in Victoria, from the short commutes, the lack of snow, the multitude of jobs to the all the things you can enjoy when you’re not working.

    The goal is to provide awareness of Victoria in a fun, eye-catching way so it will resonate with Job Seekers and Investors. We want to stand out in a big way and get some of the Investors and top Executives flying over here in September for Experience Tectoria!


  4. CASCADIA BOARD CO: A PIECE OF THE WEST COAST LIFE, LITERALLY

    March 6, 2015 by Tessa Bousfield

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    IF AT FIRST YOU SUCCEED, KEEP GOING

    Jeff Zamluk is becoming a “regular” on the B-Side. We may just put his name on one of Fort Tectoria’s orange bar stools and call it a day…

    You may have heard of Jeff when we raved about Lochside Bikes last summer. Well, Jeff Zamluk has been proving the title “entrepreneur” true with his emerging brand, Cascadia Board Co.

    SURFS UP

    Cascadia Boards are Island-designed, hand-made and showcase a slice of West Coast life. They come in the form of skim boards, wakeboards, surf boards and stand up paddleboards (SUPs). The cedar SUPs (available this Spring), are extremely unique as they’re made entirely of reclaimed and foraged cedar and are 98% free of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), which Zamluk believes is the first for any paddleboard company. They even have a crab trap tie-down on them!

    The wood comes from anywhere on Vancouver Island. The first run of boards was built with reclaimed lumber from a disassembled bridge in Port Renfrew, BC, as well as fallen cedars found at beaches and forests. As a result, no two boards are exactly the same, making them an even hotter commodity.

    The SUP is handmade by local master craftsman Chet Frost in conjunction with a well known Maui shaper. The board starts with an original hollow-core, cedar strip and is then cloth-laminated. “We’re super excited to be introducing a high performing, environmentally-sensitive board,” commented Zamluk. “Truly a lifetime-use board that respects the land and shores it comes from.”

    A LONG TIME COMING

    This isn’t Zamluk’s first swell. “Swell Source” is the designing and manufacturing parent company behind Cascadia and also behind his first brands, Zed Skimboards and Forbidden Snowboards.

    As a way to bring the watersport community together and get his brands off the ground and into the water, “Island Skim Sessions” was created over 15 years ago. “In the beginning, skimboarding was sort of a cult, everyone knew everyone and it was super close knit,” reminisced Zamluk. “If you saw another skimmer on the beach, you’d go up, say hello and skim for a few hours. The Island Skim Sessions was a coming together of these people and their friends to celebrate skimboarding. Once it grew, we used it as a platform to expand to the mainstream having media and community members attend, as well as incorporating demos to get those who’ve never skimmed, on a board. Almost 15 years later and some of my best friends are people that I met through these events.”.

    PARADIGM THINKING

    The formation of Cascadia Board Co. is a result of a full-blooded entrepreneur, his knowledge of past watersport brands and his strong passion for the water itself. He built his first skimboard at the age of 13 when he saw a group using them on the beach and he wanted in. When he couldn’t find a shop that sold them, he learned how to build his own. The first time he brought one to the beach, he received two offers to buy his custom board, right there on the beach. So he sold it, built another one, and the cycle repeated.

    With Zamluk’s father starting one of the first craft breweries in BC in the 80s called “TUG,” he saw first-hand the rewards that came with self-led success and the issues with self-led failure.

    “Starting in junior high, I realized that the traditional educational system is not where I learned best, so I took different routes to educate myself through co-ops, friends, family and mentors,” explained Zamluk. “This experience led me to believe at a young age that I didn’t want to live a traditional life laid out by career counselors, media and teachers.”

    His mother, on the other hand, was more of a traditionalist so she encouraged her son to attend college for a few years. Zamluk says “mothers know best” and although he didn’t get much out of his years attending classes, he thinks it assisted him into becoming a more critical and observant thinker.

    A BRIGHT FUTURE

    Cascadia Board Co. now uses upwards of 30 very talented subcontractors; Everything from shaping and design, to materials engineering, sales and shipping. Having such specialized professionals work on Cascadia products makes for a lot of experience and education in one board. “Working in the factory is great because you get to work one-on-one with the other board designers and use the world’s most cutting-edge materials and tools that change so quickly!”

    With Swell Source, Zamluk also works on many contract manufacturing projects for lifestyle oriented brands such as action sports and liquor companies. This is about 50% of their overall business. Unfortunately Zamluk has his lips sealed on these project details as they’re currently being built. But we’re sure we’ll see him on here again very soon.

    With Cascadia products available for sale on Cascadiaboardco.com and at Ocean River Sports, HTO and Pacifica Paddle Sports… the future looks promising. Cascadia is constantly innovating and looking where they can go next. This summer they’re developing a touring shaped inflatable paddle board and expanding their skimboard line.

    “Myself and the people that are involved with Cascadia are #addictedtowater,” commented Zamluk. “Catch a wave on the West Coast, spend a day at the beach, crack a beer wakesurfing, catch grabs on a SUP and go free-diving to spear a lingcod, and I’d bet you’d be addicted to the water too.”

     

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