Why Branch?

Branch means two things to Gamla: 

  1. It's the name of our new retail shop. As in, a "branch" of our existing design studio and business.
  2. It's also the name of Gamla's co-founder and lead designer, Branch (Brent) Freedman. 
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  • But to really understand Why Branch? we should start at the start:

    When He Was a "Model" in Korea.

    Branch (the man) was born with the name Brent, a fine given name that has never particularly suited him or his personality. Branch had long ago resigned himself to the name Brent, until one winter day while visiting Brian Hunter, a friend who was then living in Gwangju, near Seoul, Korea. 

    Many hours and copious amounts of soju into Brent and Brian's visit, a man approached them and exclaimed, "I've been looking all over for a man with a beard! I'm a fashion designer — will you model for my catalogue?" Brent being Brent, he thought it might be a fun adventure, and agreed to go to a secluded area on a mountaintop in the middle of winter to model clothing that was at least three sizes too small.

    When the designer asked for Brent's name, Brent answered:

    "It's Brent." 

    "Branch?"

    "Sure. Yeah, Branch."

    "And your last name?"

    "I don't use a last name. It's just Branch."

    Long story short, it turns out the man really is a fashion designer and Branch really was a "model" for a day in Korea. Ever since then, he's been known by friends and family as Branch. And now our store is, too. 

    Introducing Branch 01!

    After a fun winter spent creating a magical space on the marina pier of Bowen Island, we're so excited to finally announce the launch of our new concept retail store, Branch 01.

    Branch01_Exterior.jpg

    It's a tiny space designed by Gamla and filled with a selection of one-of-a-kind batch-made goods showcasing our new ideas while honouring likeminded independent designers and makers in Canada (and a few American studios, too!).

    Our first branch is a simple celebration of small objects that have a big impact housed in a small space that does the same — we can't wait for you to come visit!

    Earth Day + Gamla

    All of Gamla's small deliveries and supply runs are made in this 100% electric Nissan Leaf. We know this one car isn't saving the world, but every small step in the right direction counts.

    All of Gamla's small deliveries and supply runs are made in this 100% electric Nissan Leaf. We know this one car isn't saving the world, but every small step in the right direction counts.

    We started our business because we believe in the power of objects. But Gamla is about more than design, and more than just the making of objects, and today, on Earth Day, we figure it's a perfect time to re-share our original vision for our business and practice with you. 

    We are about experience, about building in the community, about finding joy in the everyday.
    We believe in collaboration, in conversation, in building relationships over a common project and goal.
    We believe in small production resulting in objects that are made and handled with care.
    We believe in relentless perfection.
    We believe in simplicity; in making beautiful things for nice people.
    We believe in craftsmanship, in discipline.
    We believe in long lasting objects that won’t need replacing.
    We disagree with unnecessary consumerism, and believe in owning fewer things of the highest quality.
    We won’t make only to satisfy an artificially created need.
    We believe that our environment should be in harmony with our objects.
    We believe in quality, and finding a delicate balance between form and function.
    We expect nothing short of greatness, and pour pride into our business, into our community, into our projects.
    We are restless, and expect to always explore, make and create.
    We aim to inspire and have fun.
    We believe in change, and that we will gradually, continuously grow.
    We don’t know where we’re going to end up—we’re not even close to knowing—but the journey is the process: We’re not going to know until we get there.
    We know this is only the beginning.
    We believe in these things. Let’s see where we go together.

    We are Gamla.

     

    Also you?

    We’re knee deep in curating a special selection of goods for our tiny shop on the Bowen Island Pier (launching at the end of April!) We’re now accepting submissions for small one-of-a-kind goods made by independent designers and makers. We're particularly interested in Canadian made products that are hand crafted in limited batches and have a personal signature. Sound like you, or someone you know? Get in touch below or send an email to info@gamla.ca. We look forward to hearing from you!

    Name *
    Name
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    Tight Club Project

    A few years ago we met Keighty, one of Vancouver's most energetic people and founder of Tight Club, an "active lifestyle brand with a personal training and group fitness component." We've been following along as her business has grown over the last three years and were so excited to have the opportunity to make a few custom pieces for Tight Club's new space in Vancouver, BC.

    Gamla_TightClub-8.jpg

    Keighty's and Tight Club's aesthetic is bold, taking visual cues from classic sports lines, and we wanted to echo that by creating a lounge area in the entrance of the new space. The result is one of our favourite designs to date: super fun stools handmade from a combination of silver leather and a vegetable-tanned saddle with a powder coated steel base. It took some convincing on our part, but when we found a stunning marble slab, we knew it would make the perfect accompanying tabletops to the stools. In Keighty's words: "Thanks for making one of my favourite features of the studio!"

    Check them out yourself and take one of Keighty's insane classes while you're at it: 261 Union Street, Vancouver, BC.

    Kuma Sake Flight Trays

    Our clients at Kuma, a Japanese comfort food restaurant located in Tofino, BC approached us to design a collection of custom trays for their soon-to-be launched sake flight program.

    With absolute creative freedom, we decided to keep the form pure and minimal in design so as to draw attention to the glass itself. Each sip becomes a revealed experience, as we carved in the inner portion of each holder a simple white bear, Kuma's logo and Tofino's most iconic animal. Finished in a mix of eastern maple and ebonized oak, the end result is a collection both our clients and their staff are proud to be serving on. 

    Kampai! 

    IDS West + BAM The New Frontier

    It's been a crazy year. Between moving and getting married and setting up an entirely new studio and getting used to not having (semi)permanent staff in place and every other life thing, it's been a crazy, bonkers year.

    Even though we wanted to pretend that we'd be able to create a show for this year's IDS West program, deep down we knew it to be a physical impossibility. So, when the Bellevue Arts Museum asked us if we'd be interested in showing our pieces from The New Frontier exhibition in this year's IDS West, we jumped at the chance.  

    The New Frontier at IDS West truly was a full circle for us, showcasing how far we've come in the past few years. This is the kind of fuel that keeps us going. We're humbled, grateful, and so excited about what's to come.

    Let's Cooking!

    Having a space where we are able to facilitate new ways of thinking for our friends, clients, peers, and strangers is essential to us and the way we operate our own business and studio. So when our very talented and dear friend Hana, Japanese chef and author/creator of Let's Cooking, asked to come out to Bowen to use our kitchen (and entire home) as an ideation lab for her next book, we (very hungrily) jumped at the chance. 

    The weekend has been full of food, photos of food, brainstorming, and fine-tuning Hana's newest project, which thanks to this weekend is now almost fully formed.

     It's been a really, really fun weekend. 

    Say Hi

    Say Hi to the next evolution of our practice.

    We said it would be something small, and it is, but it’s also something big and exciting for us. In addition to our studio and existing product line, we will be opening a tiny seasonal shop on the Pier of Bowen Island, right next to our good friends at Shika.

    This is the first of many small changes for us, and we’ll be telling you much more over the coming months. These are exciting times — so much more soon!

    Gimli Travels the World

    Our Gimli line has always been popular, and the orders seem to come in waves. It's always, without fail, such an honour to have any of our objects be chosen for a home, but it's sometimes even more fun to find out where in the world that home is.

    We had a chance to snap this little and big combination before they were off to a luxury dog life on Maddison Avenue and in The Hamptons, respectively.

    From Hong Kong to Hollywood, Gimli really does travel the world.

    Zucchinis Poppin' Off

    After a few weeks away, we returned from the Moon of Honey to our tiny Bowen farm to find gargantuan zucchinis, mounds of beans, and to see that our ladies have become funny little women. 

    But what does one do with all of those gaddamned gigantic zucchinis?

    With too many zukes to handle, I decided to try my hand at gluten-free zucchini cake (gluten-free, on account of my celiac disease). My first attempt ever and the reviews are in: it is rich, chocolatey, and delicious in all of the right ways — everything a person might want in a cake to be.

    And now I'm sharing it with you.

    So, here it is, Gamla's Gluten-free Chocolate Zucchini Cake:

    1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
    1/4 cup canola oil
    1 3/4 cup sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 tsp. vanilla
    2 1/4 cups all purpose or baking mix gluten-free flour (I use Cloud 9, which is by far the best baking mix I've found)
    3/4 cup cocoa
    1 tsp. baking powder (skip if your flour mix contains this already)
    1 tsp. baking soda (skip if your flour mix contains this already)
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
    2 cups or so grated unpeeled zucchini
    3/4 cup chocolate chips (highly recommended. This is what will give it that extra richness)

    Preheat oven to 325°F and spray a Bundt pan with nonstick spray, or if you're like me and don't have a nonstick spray, butter the pan and sprinkle cocoa powder all over. In a large bowl or mixer, beat the butter, oil and sugar on high for 2-3 minutes, until it's thick and pale yellow. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

    In a smaller bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add a third to the butter mixture and beat just until blended; add half the sour cream and do the same. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture, the rest of the sour cream, and the rest of the flour. Stir in the zucchini and the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the pan, smoothing out the top.

    Bake for an hour or so, until the top is cracked and springy to the touch. Try to wiggle it out onto a plate (or cake stand, if that's how you do) while it's still warm. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and voila! Deliciouness. 


    Married!

    We've been partners in life for over a decade — 11 years, in fact — and it was never our plan to get married, but when we bought the property on Bowen marriage seemed like the most practical thing to do. So, we set a date and invited 50 of the most amazing people we've been lucky enough to meet to come to Bowen and help us celebrate our new life, business, and home. 

    Over the course of the five months leading to the day, we prepared as much as we could: found dozens of old bentwood school chairs on Craigslist for practically nothing, bought some magically lovely garden lights that will most likely stay up forever, and our good friends on the island gifted us with a cedar tree that had fallen on their property (which B milled for the tables), — things were coming together. 

    Gamla Wedding.jpg

    It hasn't so much as drizzled in the last three months, but on July 11 we woke up knowing that it was going to rain. The chefs arrived, the tables were set, and we took off in our hippie wagon to a secret location where our guests would be bussed to meet us. 

    IMG_0870.JPG

    During the ceremony on a cliff of our favourite point on the island, the sky, and everyone under it, began to cry.

    As devastating as it could have been, the rain seemed to bring everyone together. Once the rain started to pour, all of our most athletic and adventurous friends climbed trees and ladders to tie a comically large tarp that Branch bought "just in case" over our long tables. 

    The light was magical. 

    We were lucky enough to have Chef Brian Fowke, who just sold his award-winning restaurant Kitsilano Daily Kitchen, and his team come to Bowen to cook us course after course of delicious local food. We chose Muse, a B.C. winery that grows its grapes on Vancouver Island, Longtable Distillery, which distills its vodka and gin from only local botanicals, and Parallel 49, a local brewery for our drinks. Dessert was a delicious combination of Earnest Ice Cream and Cartems donuts, and our good friends at The Juice Truck made us a cold-pressed organic lemonade.

    It was simple, chaotic, and so full of love: a celebration of everything good in our world.

    Drought, With Zero Chance of Rain

    Bowen Island has been eerie lately. To be fair, the entire Pacific Northwest has been eerie the last while. A water shortage in a rain forest feels like some kind of bizarre joke, but it's been unusually hot and dry every single day for the past few months. 

    With forest fire smoke filling our discoloured yards and parks, there's a sort of post-apocalyptic, almost dreamy mood taking over. 

    Our deck, without a photo filter. The forest fire orange hue glows under the morning sun.

    Our deck, without a photo filter. The forest fire orange hue glows under the morning sun.

    Our once greenest of green grass is now brown, and the wasps are rampant and restless, but our garden and Gimli, on the other hand, have both been thriving in the heat and sun.

    The firetrucks sprayed all of the kids on Canada Day. Branch was especially excited.

    The firetrucks sprayed all of the kids on Canada Day. Branch was especially excited.

    Gimli has taken to lying next to dishes of water as a means to cool off. It's both functional and adorable.

    Gimli has taken to lying next to dishes of water as a means to cool off. It's both functional and adorable.

    The beach last night. The smoke is thick and strangely beautiful.

    The beach last night. The smoke is thick and strangely beautiful.

    The forecast calls for an end to the drought on July 11, our wedding day.