Name: Fredrik Orling & Julie Wu
Title: Owners and Curators
Orling & Wu
What do you do and how did you get here?
Julie: We run a retail store that specializes in home décor and lifestyle products. About 8 years ago, we were both living and working in London; I was doing publishing and Fredrik was in high-end retail.
Fredrik: The economy hit the fan and so we moved to Vancouver. Two days after arriving, we went to visit Gastown. We loved the architecture, the stores and the feeling of the neighbourhood. We saw a unit that was available for lease here on Water Street and immediately became interested. We spent 9 months doing market research and then decided to set up shop here.
What influences you and inspires you?
Julie: The diversity of the clientele. They are the influencers of what aesthetic is trending and of the lifestyle of the West Coast. It’s what people want and what they are connected to that inspires me. As there is a lot of nature here, people desire things that are vibrant, simple and functional as well as items of high quality. Things that are unique that cannot be found in the big, mainstream stores. It’s the market itself that influences us.
Fredrik: I agree with that.
If you had 15 minutes only, in Gastown, how would you spend it?
Fredrik: That’s short. I love coffee in the mornings. I would most likely go to my favourite coffee place in the neighbourhood (I’m not going to name any names!). I love pure black coffee that is well roasted and nicely done. It’s that sip of pure black liquid that gives me that essential boost at the start of the day. Gastown is the place to experience such a special moment. And to people watch!
Julie: 15 minutes is too short a time in Gastown; there is so much to do! I love to shop here at places like One of A Few, Litchfield and to say hello to my friends at Inform. I love connecting to people and to my neighbours.
What do you love about the neighbourhood?
Julie: It’s the mood, the ambience. It’s the diversity of our clientele. It changes throughout the day. You never know what’s going to come next here. It’s always changing and I love that constant element of surprise here in Gastown.
Fredrik: When I came here 8 years ago, after coming from the UK and experiencing many other parts of Europe, I was used to being around culture and centuries old architecture. Vancouver is a very young city; a baby almost compared to a lot of European cities but visiting Gastown for the first time sort of brought me back to that European architectural heritage. Seeing the storefront of our location here, reminded me of London and Paris storefronts. We stood back and said: “Hey…..this is it!“.