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Jennifer Cutbill, left, and Jane Cox, right, pose for a picture at the restaurant Chambar on Sept. 4. The ‘design is/can’ cards are part of a campaign to get the public involved in design.

Sergio Vera

From the moment we roll out of bed, it's all around us.

Whether it's the clothes we wear or the routes we choose, the technology we rely on or the homes where we live, we are surrounded by design, from architecture to fashion to urban planning – and Vancouver is home to some of the design world's most influential players.

But when it comes to recognizing the innovative designers who call the seaside metropolis home, or getting different disciplines together to swap ideas, Vancouver has been notoriously lacking.

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That's why DIALOG intern architect Jennifer Cutbill and Cause+Affect managing director Jane Cox launched Vancouver Design Week, a new, city-wide, two-week stretch of design-minded events that includes talks, tours, workshops, exhibits, pop-ups, parties and more – all of them celebrating design in its myriad forms.

Especially now that more than half the world's population lives in cities, Ms. Cutbill says, those discussions are more important than ever.

"Buildings and cities are responsible for over 60 per cent of our energy and water use worldwide, and 50 per cent of people on the planet are living in cities, so the impact that the design of our cities and everything in them [have] is only going to grow," Ms. Cutbill says. "And really, all of these issues are design challenges."

Among the events on offer are a tailor-made PechaKucha Night at the Vogue, design-themed Creative Mornings at SFU Woodward's, a Vancouver Modern Home Tour, a "Why I Design" evening at MOV that features designers talking about what they do and why they do it here, and open houses at many of the city's top design and architecture firms.

The week also features a Hawkers Market Block Party, a MOV talk between a Lululemon material engineer and renowned architect Christopher Sharples of New York's SHoP, tablescapes and cocktails courtesy of Dinner by Design, an Interior Design Show West launch party and more.

"We make design decisions every day, and design weeks are incredibly important for broadening and making more accessible the conversations around design," Ms. Cutbill says. "And until we're all talking about it, we're not really understanding its potential. So really, that conversation is the first step."

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