This article was originally published in Montecristo Magazine, Winter 2013 Issue.
Slender, elegant Nancy Bendtsen is ever-attentive to any client’s presence in her Inform Interiors retail space. There are two such spaces, actually, virtually across from each other on Water Street in Vancouver’s Gastown. What she doesn’t know about the items in the store, from furniture to lighting, tableware to carpets, is not worth the knowing. And she is always happy to discuss things with a curious couple or clients who are virtually certain they know what they need, but have a few little questions before purchase. Today, Bendtsen is upstairs, among some individual pieces of furniture, mainly chairs, that form the backbone of what has, over the years, come to be her personal, and amazing, collection.
It did not start out as a conscious effort to build a collection of this aesthetic and historical scope. “Oh, no, I didn’t think of it that way at all,” she says. “We were offered a piece, called the Henna Stool, by Marcel Wanders for Cappellini. I loved it so much, but we did not take that opportunity, and to this day we still don’t have one. After that eye-opener, I looked at a couple of pieces that had not sold, and decided to keep them.” She pauses, looks around the retail space, all clean lines with a lovely open feel, even though it is full of beautiful things. “As we saw the ad hoc collection grow, we realized early on the importance to Vancouver to have such pieces of design available for people to see. When we had the opportunity of acquiring special pieces which were offered to us, we understood the importance of keeping them in Vancouver. Vancouver has been our home, and we hope that this collection will grow into a museum of design in the future. But for now, we are happy to show some of the pieces at the Inform Interiors store.” She pauses again, and quietly adds, with a smile, “We are running a store, a business, after all. That has to be part of the program.”