Edited by Michelle Heslop. Photos by Ema Peter and Martin Knowles.
While employed at one of Vancouver’s most accomplished design firms, Aaron MacKenzie-Moore, founder of Aaron MacKenzie-Moore Design (AMMD), received his first solo commission: an award-winning, ultra-luxury condominium for a prominent Vancouver businessman. Located in English Bay, the home enjoys sweeping views of the sea and the historic Sylvia hotel to the south.
MacKenzie-Moore’s design-savvy client expected nothing less than excellence. In order to achieve the extraordinary, AMMD collaborated with Flexa Lighting (lighting suppliers + consultants), Modern Concept Contracting, and their respective sub-trades to solve several design-build challenges. One of the most challenging requests was to connect two floors via a feature staircase, which was initially declared structurally impossible by the engineers due to a dated post-tensioned concrete structure.
AMMD worked closely with engineers and MCC to analyze every square inch of the project to ensure the design was feasible and eliminate the possibility of further surprises. An eventual solution was found in the form of a ring beam cast around the opening in the floor.
With a fixed floor to ceiling height, installing a modern heating and cooling system in a condo with a dated system and no airconditioning proved to be another challenge. Thanks to AMMD’s clever use of varying ceiling heights, Flexa Lighting’s ultra-compact, high-quality LED downlighting, and MCC’s flawless execution, the home has the highest ceilings possible while fulfilling all the HVAC and lighting requirements. The carefully curated light fixtures blend in seamlessly with the architecture of every room while providing just the right mood.
The curvature of the staircase is offset by a feature wall of vertical bronze tubes of varying diameters, reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest’s ubiquitous Redwood forests and serve as a focal point and unifying element across the two floors. Aligned with the elevator lobby, the grand staircase is lit with glowing linear LEDs and boasts leather treads that feel smooth underfoot and appear to be floating.
Unifying the space is the home’s impressive lighting. AMMD worked collaboratively with Flexa, their small aperture and compact LED fixtures a perfect match for the project, as they fit within the limited ceiling plenum space. Beyond merely supplying the fixtures, Flexa acted as a lighting consultant, taking an active role in working with AMMD to achieve their goals. The result is a design that is beautifully enhanced by its lighting design.
High-profile visitors routinely describe it as “one of the best-designed apartments in Vancouver,” according to the homeowner, a testament to how much of a unique home it is.