Lemay Michaud leads design of Simons retail expansion across Canada

Simons, the 175-year-old family-owned fashion retailer from Quebec City, will open its first Vancouver store in October 2015, following an opening in Les Promenades Gatineau next month. The Park Royal location will be Simons 11th store, the second outside of its home province of Quebec. The two-storey 100,000-square-foot location sits at the corner of Main Street and Park Royal South in the redeveloped area of Park Royal South.

“We strive to create compelling, original shopping environments that speak to the local community. Nowhere have we achieved this more than at Park Royal,” said CEO Peter Simons. “We hope to inspire the Vancouver market through Simons’ unique shopping experience which integrates fashion, art and architecture.”

Leading the exciting design elements at the new Park Royal location are three impressive art installations:

Kayachtun, meaning welcome, is a sandblasted granite relief on the exterior south entrance of the store. Created by Jody Broomfield, the design pays homage to the Spakwus – meaning eagle – which symbolizes great power, spiritual protection and carries prayers to ancestors in the spirit world. The wings represent the traditional Salish hand gesture of greeting and the perfectly symmetrical design demonstrates the connection between the spiritual and living worlds. Broomfield is a Coast Salish artist of the Squamish Nation.

At the core of women’s shopping is Bobbie Burger’s ceramic wall sculpture, Innocence Disobedience, representing feminine rebellion. More than 50 flowers in brilliantly hued blues, greys, whites and black in various stages of decay float precariously off the wall showing their beautiful strength and resilience. Burgers is a West Vancouver painter and sculpture known for her exquisite floral interpretations.

Douglas Coupland’s Bow Tie sculpture fills the store’s two-storey central atrium. Two brightly coloured striped cones meet at a nearly imperceptible point, providing a stunning reference to fashion as well as culture and engineering. Douglas Coupland is a novelist, visual artist and designer based in West Vancouver.

The exterior of the building is created by architecture and design firm Lemay Michaud, the same firm responsible for the Le Germain hotel chain’s chic interiors. Inspired by the heritage of the Squamish nation, specifically Salish weaving, a traditional repeating chevron pattern appears on off-white concrete panels that are stacked – some vertical, some horizontal – like blankets to create the façade. Adding to the visual appeal of the exterior is the offset second floor whose northwest corner juts out at the main glass atrium entrance.

For the interior retail spaces, Designstead, the retail design firm behind the Park Royal shopping centre, artfully knit together a series of intimate Simons boutiques to create one holistic shopping experience that is approachable, accessible, style-savvy and filled with clever design details.

Besides Les Promenades Gatineau and Park Royal in Vancouver, other locations slated for opening in the next several years include: Square One in Mississauga, Rideau Centre in Ottawa, The CORE in Calgary, Londonderry in Edmonton, Scarborough Town Centre in Scarborough, and Yorkdale Mall in Toronto.

For more information, please visit www.simons.ca.