Elana Safronsky, Managing Editor
Sunday, February 21, 2010 12:54 PM EDT
Soon Vancouver's virtually 'ex-' urban slum, Gastown, will have more glitz than Robson street! Parliament, a home emporium of modern glam, joins the ranks of trendy design shops and restaurants that have been nesting in this architecturally pretty but traditionally troubled nabe, in recent years.
Prior to CJ's and my visit, I've not been to Vancouver in a long time. I must say, I was a bit surprised by how much nicer it looked and felt all around, than what I remembered.
Mostly, I was drawn to Gastown, however. Despite being shrouded in fog 99% of the time, its oldworld street lamps and cobblestone streets are the perfect backdrop for a walkable shopping district. It is in fact, dare I say, SoHo-esque, which is Parliament's sentiment exactly. Their white-washed, gallery-like space channels small(ish)-space urban living, mixing in-house clean-lined furniture with lots of affordable, shiny accessories. Mostly, I was intrigued by how many things can be the source of bling in your home; from side tables, floor lamps and flower pots to candle holders, throws, napkin rings and cetrepiece arrangements.
The furniture pieces are accordingly priced, but for each large piece there are at least five small ones that are a steal. Some things that caught my eye (see gallery below) were these great pebble doormats ($50), diamond napkin rings ($9, left) and a very tempting spread of necklaces, such as "Lace", ($27).
A collaborative effort by three veteran home decor retailers, Parliament opened in late 2009 in full confidence that they've got what you're looking for. There's a clear style direction, namely shades of white, gray and shine, which they underline with cherry-picked art and design books; Graphic Design for Non Designers, Creature photography by Andrew Zuckerman, Lacombe photography by Brigitte Lacombe, etc. -- nothing wrong with a store making a statement!
Parliament Design Inc.
115 Water Street,
(604) 689 0800
View Larger Map
Have you been yet?