After eight years in business, Sunshine Coast-based Barter Design is venturing into the city. The company was born out of founder Kenneth Torrance's desire for a stronger, closer connection to local materials and craftspeople€“what he describes as a journey to to seek out local people, materials and processes that he felt were important, as a designer, to work with. €œClay, wood, wool, steel, beeswax… that's how it was formed; the idea around place, material, and people,” he says.

The process of crafting a candlestick base.

Now this community of artists and makers will have a brick and mortar location in Vancouver, opening in June. But It's more than a storefront. €œA piece of it is education and awareness about different craftspeople, sort of a strong educational space beyond the products,€ explains Torrance. His vision for the space includes teaching, and he aims to provide an opportunity for Vancouverites to learn about local crafts, materials, and the environment. The space serves as a converging point for product and market, with showcased product capabilities, stories and speaker-type events.

The 4-piece Dinnerware Set ($110)

But what will truly set apart Barter's storefront is the genuine open-door policy. €œI really want Vancouver to look at Barter as an open door company, we're willing to sit with anybody who has ideas and who wants to talk to us, and we'll flex our brains to see if we can support what they think they need to accomplish,€ says Torrance. It's a matter of bringing the craftspeople to the city, and taking it just a step further than a typical store.