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Credit: Sera Akdogan

Lison Art Furniture makes everything custom-made to the buyer's tastes

Specializing in custom furniture and upholstery, Lison Art Furniture brings art to the fore of its new store

Lison Art Furniture's signature chairs are the first thing that will catch your eye when you walk into its new storefront on West Broadway in Vancouver.

Dozens of custom built high-end chairs hung up on the walls showcase unique design, upholstery and sculptural references.

Eponymously named after Lison Ouellette, who has been an interior designer for over 25 years, Lison Art Furniture showcases both Ouellette's unique chairs, as well as creative pieces by a handful of carefully selected local artists.

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Clockwise from left: Lison Ouellette giving a speech at her new store's opening; a table designed by Mike Lam; custom fabrics on display; Ouellette and the author at the launch party (Images: Sera Akdogan)

While most retail stores offer pre-made furniture for purchase, Lison Art Furniture makes everything custom-made to the buyer's tastes. "If someone says, 'We cannot do that,' I will be the first one in line to say, 'We will make it,'" Ouellette says. "Don’t try to find the problem, just find the solution."

With her state of the art designs, Ouellette has made quite a contribution to the art and furniture world – starting with her chairs. "There is no other place out there where you can find these chairs; people don’t necessarily know how to integrate fur and leather," she says.

Big Dream, Bold Designs

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Brightly coloured fur ignites tactile senses at Lison Art Furniture (Image: Sera Akdogan)

Ouellette's interest in showcasing other artists emerged four years ago at a meeting of the French Association for Artists. "It was like I was going to resurface myself inside their energy," she says. "That’s why I promote artists. So I can talk with them, share moments with them and learn from them. It's a give and take at the same time."

She began recruiting artists that inspire her, like Sylvie Rochette, who works with wood and bronze. "I love metal and she just grabbed my heart,” Ouellette says. “Her uniqueness – the type of art she makes – you will not see anything else like it.”

She added a second artist, Mike Lam, who she met at IDSwest last year when his wooden project’s organic shape caught her eye. "The fact that he just worked the wood in the natural way, it’s elegant and unique," Ouellette says. "I called him when I opened the showroom and he was still interested. Everything happened as I dreamed it would."

While driving downtown last spring, Ouellette saw a beautiful chair in a shop window and had to go inside. She spoke to Jonas Delonge, the designer behind the chair, and added a third artist to her showroom.

Ouellette's also hoping to foster more of her own artisitic endeavours. "Being an interior designer, I create furniture, but it's all custom furniture. Most of my projects are commercial,” she says, adding, "it’s not my own, which I would like to start creating more of."

For Ouellette, Lison Art Furniture is a big dream that’s finally coming true. "I never wanted to be big before, I like to be close to my clients and cherish them – this is my first opening of a retail store."