Darcy Lundgren - designer, artist and co-owner of DaDe ART & DESIGN LAB - has certainly made good use of his junk mail. He created a custom piece a few years ago out of shredded postal refuse glued and layered onto a canvas, which he then drizzled with paint. The result was a textural painting that gave rise to a whole show of works in a similar style.
The exhibit’s title, “Environment,” has a couple of meanings. The first, and most immediately apparent as you tour the 20 or so canvasses by Lundgren, is environmental awareness — turning something wasteful into a work of art.
“The epitome of what I see as a negative for the planet are things like empty water bottles and junk mail,” explains Lundgren. Referring to that first catalyzing painting, he says, “It’s all junk mail minus newsprint and recycled paper, and it just started developing with layers of paint and layers of paper all combining.”
“Environment” also refers to our surroundings. “I starting thinking about not just being environmental, but what’s going in our little bubble right now,” says Lundgren. This train of thought underpinned another artistic choice you’ll see in many canvasses — stencilled symbols, such as “&” and “#,” layered on top of the multicoloured swoops of paint. “Symbols for words are becoming so much the way we communicate back and forth on our cellphones,” explains Lundgren.
Amid the paintings, which were all executed in a similar style but with varied results, the standout piece is one that Lundgren created several years ago called “H2O.” The tall, chandelier-like sculpture is premised on the reuse of another disposable item — glass Evian water bottles. The striking piece is a good fit for both uses of the term “Environment,” not only because of the number of bottles ending up in landfills, but also because of their ubiquity in contemporary consumer culture.
Some of the inspiration for the show came from a recent trip to the Wynwood Arts District in Miami, Florida. While Lundgren had already developed his junk mail technique, he saw kindred approaches to art at the Wynwood galleries. “I found a lot of artists down there are very much in this kind of vocabulary movement as well, where they’re taking found objects, recycling objects, salvaging objects, taking old floppy disks — you name it,” he explains. “It’s fresh and unique. There are so many different things nowadays that have become irrelevant that were very relevant 10 or 20 years ago that are still floating around, like VHS tapes and things like that.”
He adds, “It’s kind of like seeing our world in a different way, seeing things that we used before so readily, completely reinterpreted in a different way. For me, there’s beauty in everything if you try to look for it.”
Located in Calgary's trendy Inglewood, DaDe ART & DESIGN LAB, bring forth their unique design concepts. Co-owned by Darcy Lundgren, who has been designing high-end residential since 1992, and interior and commercial design since 2009, Lundgren is now DaDe's creative director. Teamed with Greg Fraser as DaDe's General Manager and Danielle Bartlette, artist and Artistic Advisor, they provide innovative creations to enhance any living space. Offering a complete range of products, such as furniture and art by both local and international artists ranging from $200 - $20,000.
The gallery is set up exhibition style and can stage as many as 15 artists at any given time. The artwork found here use mediums such as metal sculpture, silverworks, and blown glass, just name a few. Opening in only 2009, DaDe has moved locations two times in two years. Their current location, a 3000 square foot space, is set with 3 garage doors that really add to this one-of-a kind building.
DaDe's clientele are just as unique as the products they offer. There does not seem to be a common thread amongst DaDe's users, other than a love for aesthetically pleasing decor.
Happy customers are the best form of promotion, and word of mouth advertising really boosts this gallery. Fortunately for shoppers, DaDe opened their doors to the public just as many local furniture stores were closing theirs. This was a big risk, but thus far seemingly a worthwhile one, considering their continuing success'.
DaDe's services include: art, design and decor consultations, research and concept development for residential floor planning, and exterior elevations, along with design development and space planning, graphic presentations, and art rendering, which use color and material palates to produce specifications, sketches and / or technical drawings for clients. They can also design or remodel kitchens, bathrooms and office space, and they offer custom furniture and mill works. In addition to their extensive list of services they also offer home staging and styling and special events. Their past work includes trade shows, media events, fashion shows, weddings and dinner parties, decorating for model suites, private residences and working with realtors, magazines and individual home owners.
Just when you thought it could not get any better, DaDe brings another avenue of art; that being the art of fashion.
Beginning September 10th the gallery will also host the apparel of Fashion Institute of Technology NY graduate, Lauren Bagliore. She has worked with the House of Vivienne Westwood, Zac Posen, LIBERTINE, and Canada's own Paul Hardy. Best described by the designer herself, Lauren states:
"I love creating edgy, fashion forward designs and clothes that are beautifully draped and wonderfully cut" she says. "I want women to feel sexy and unique, but also comfortable in my cloths."
DaDe currently carries her collection "La Risurrezione: dalla Scura alla Luce", which translates into Italian to "the resurrection from dark to light". The line can be viewed in DaDe's gallery as well as on their website, www.dadegallery.com They also carry custom one-of-a-kind, made-to-measure leather, outerwear, vests, and other fashion pieces created right here in Calgary by DaDe's own Darcy Lundgren, and William Lewis, who was featured earlier this year in FASHION Magazine.
Not only are they available as space for rent for events and event planners, but also as home decorators, fashion and art retailers and interior designers. DaDe's got it covered..It seems that the sky is the limit here with DaDe's so waht can they do for you? Or maybe a better question is what can't these guys do?!
Small businesses often thrive through word of mouth about their unique products and great service, but the really good ones also succeed because they work at curb appeal.
DaDe Art and Design Lab is one such store. Located in the Inglewood BRZ, DaDe is that set-back place on the south side of 9th Avenue S.E. that for years had those see-through horse sculptures in front on their little plaza area and a broad front window expanse brimming with interestinglooking art.
These days there is a metal sort of filigree seethrough outdoor sculpture called The Cube by Michael Perks that can be rotated and a large piece by Matthew Mark Bourree that looks like two giant ever so pretty pickup sticks wooden bouquets. DaDe's frontage grabs your eye and draws you in.
After meeting charismatic co-owners Darcy Lundgren and Greg Fraser, I was determined to make the time to go take a proper look. DaDe opened in a small space in 2008 in Art Central, but success prompted a move to their current 3,000 beautiful, airy square feet in Inglewood.
Lundgren describes the gallery as an exhibition space for unique local art and unusual furniture from all over the world.
One artist, known only as Sam, creates pieces using old elm wood salvaged from warehouses in Beijing that are just astounding.
DaDe carries antique, repurposed and new items. They have an amazing pair of antique red Chinese wedding wardrobes.
The groom's piece is decorated with a bamboo design and the bride's with cherry blossoms.
I should be so lucky to have a bedroom in which these exceptional pieces could be displayed. At the other end of the spectrum are stainless steel handcrafted wardrobes, media cabinets and sideboards.
DaDe's modern couches and chairs, by Bullfrog, are so chic, so comfortable, I can only dream of such sophisticated furniture instead of the tatty Velveteen rabbit couch currently in my living room and habitually occupied by a gritty, hairy dog and two snacking teenagers. The cool thing about these couches is you can reconfigure the backs and arms to create new shapes.
There are also some pretty amazing art pieces here, including abstract pictures, lots of cool glass sculptures from Bee Kingdom that are made from flowing coloured glass, a guy who does bike sculptures for those of you who are passionate about your bikes, some one-of-a-kind jewelry and leather pieces, and interesting room dividers that are made of smaller shapes and incorporate light and movement in their design.
DaDe will work with clients to help them design, to decorate or to rework their living space using the clients' own pieces as well as new items from the gallery.
If you have an old wardrobe, sideboard, bureau or other piece of antique furniture in need of loving care, check out their antiques that have been redone in beautiful coloured lacquer finishes that play up all the wonderful features of these old pieces while making them look fresh and modern.
Reupholstered, repainted armchairs and reclaimed wood cabinets with graffiti-inspired designs created by David Brunning (KidBelo) as well as paintings and a mural outside the store are part of the current exhibit.
DaDe's lovely space is also available to rent for private functions, fundraisers and exhibitions in case you are on the lookout for an amazing location to host your next event.
Next time you are in the Inglewood BRZ, be sure to check out DaDe Art and Design Lab located at 1327 9th Ave. S.E.
Prepare to be wowed and probably a bit covetous and inspired.
SHOP DADE ART & DESIGN LAB