Construction crews are currently in the process of installing a tree driftwood-inspired sculpture within the public plaza of the Grosvenor Ambleside complex on West Vancouver’s waterfront.
This public art piece by local artist Douglas Coupland, named Tree Snag, measuring 30 ft in height and about 30 feet in width, is located mid-block on Bellevue Avenue next to Ancora restaurant at the south end of the plaza.
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According to a project backgrounder, Coupland’s inspiration for the concept comes from a piece of fir tree driftwood he came across in the 1960s at the residence of his late friend, Gordon Smith.
Tree Snag is one of a number of public art pieces commissioned by developer Grosvenor Americas for the recently built, mixed-use complex.
The public art concept was approved by the municipal government in 2014, with a “constellation effect” of installations surrounding Grosvenor Ambleside, “so people could discover public art from the beach, the surrounding bike and walking paths, or from the restaurant patio.”
“The concept of strolling and encountering these ‘drifted forms as if found on a beach’ is to recreate a favourite pastime for many West Vancouverites – beachcombing along Ambleside’s shores.”
A total of four installations by Coupland are found at the location, including the 2018-installed Float Stack and Whale Vertebra, and 2020-installed Deer Vertebra.
Tree Snag is made up of four layers of resin and fiberglass, which makes this a water-tight installation. After the artwork is secured into position this week, the finishing work will continue for several weeks, when smaller sections will be added to create the final driftwood form.
In 2016, Coupland also completed a tree-inspired installation at the intersection of Marine Drive and Cambie Street in South Vancouver, next to SkyTrain’s Marine Drive Station. The Golden Tree, a replica of the famous Hollow Tree in Stanley Park, was commissioned by the site’s tower developer.
Grosvenor Ambleside’s two buildings, separated by the covered outdoor public plaza, include 99 homes in the upper levels and 37,000 sq ft of retail and restaurant space on the ground level. Other than Ancora, other commercial tenants include the flagship Earls restaurant and Heirloom Vegetarian Restaurant.
The Meinhardt Fine Foods grocery store opened in Summer 2018, but it closed about a year later.
This redevelopment was pursued by the municipal government for the purpose of catalyzing the revitalization of the Ambleside retail village.