A massive, full-building mural by celebrated Canadian artist Douglas Coupland will soon liven up the walls of The Berkeley tower at Vancouver’s English Bay, with painting scheduled to begin in about a month.
The building’s owner, Reliance Properties, commissioned the world-renowned artist to paint the rental apartment tower’s exterior, which is currently undergoing extensive renovations.
The conceptual design is quintessential Douglas Coupland, with an array of colourful geometric patterns inspired by his own world travels, particularly the bright colours of Spain’s coastal cities.
“This would be the first time that an entire building serves as my canvas,” says Coupland. “The Berkeley is located on one of Canada’s most significant corners with its stunning waterfront, palm trees, and street energy. It is where most travellers think to themselves, ‘Wow, I’m really in Vancouver.’ Being a significant place, The Berkeley demands something extra.”
The 16-storey tower was built in 1958 and is well-known for its distinctive — yet gaudy by modern tastes — green-and-yellow exterior.
Video: The Berkeley mural by Douglas Coupland
Renderings: Mural to grace downtown high-rise
“Vancouver is a young city and there are many future opportunities to define what it becomes,” says Coupland. “The overall effect of this public artwork will be as an anchor point of where the city meets the ocean, and it will make a person feel like they are at the heart of something. The building will redefine English Bay’s skyline and become a mandatory tourist stop for photos. I want people to daydream about living at The Berkeley.”
Reliance expects to begin pre-leasing the fully-renovated suites at The Berkeley in January 2022.
“The Berkeley will attract strong interest because of its beachfront location, and countless social and recreational amenities and green transportation immediately outside,” says Jon Stovell, president and CEO of Reliance Properties.
Reliance has a history of supporting public art and the arts in Vancouver. The developer made a $7 million donation to the Emily Carr University of Art & Design, which is the institute’s largest-ever single donation to date.
The Douglas Coupland mural is a voluntary public art project — it was not required by the city. Reliance purchased The Berkeley for $43 million in 2016.
Douglas Coupland was born in Germany in 1961 and is a recipient of the Order of Canada and a member of the Order of British Columbia.