The Proof – Nathan Lee


Nathan Lee is a talented award-winning designer who is allergic to bees. This is not so strange, except that when Nathan isn’t creating something genius out of someone’s unrecognized opportunity, he’s poking around in a box of 50,000 stinging insects. Crazy? This is the kind of dedication, curiosity and recklessness that Nathan brings to his design work on a daily basis. As one half of Contexture Design he fills his non-beekeeping hours by telling rich layered stories through designed objects. He has a way of finding the juicy nugget that makes each bit of reclaimed material special, highlighting the history that it brings with it, and rebuilding it into a beautiful narrative. And that’s just at his day job; you should see what he can do after hours with some boiled hops, barley, malt and a handful of spruce tips. Talk about a beautiful narrative. Throw in his genuine personality, his enthusiasm for his local community, and his mad breakdancing skills, and what you have is an awesome individual. We are lucky to know you, Chachi.

-Trevor Coghill


Nathan Lee Proof


The Proof

01 This is my family, and probably the best picture I will take in my lifetime.

02 These are my folks just before they were married in 1967 riding a BC Ferry with my aunt, uncle, and grandmother. Timeless

03 These are my pals (and me too)

04 These are my bees.  I try not to play favorites, but the ladies pictured here are the most photogenic.

05 These are my teammates.  Hurry Hard!

06 This is my favorite new Vancouver discovery, a life-sized cutaway through the public infrastructure of a typical street.

07 This is my inspiration, materials that tell a story.

08 This is our latest project and newest studio ornament, a canoe made from the old sails from Canada Place.


The Questions

What neighborhood do you live in?
Between Commercial Drive and Hastings Sunrise.

What do you do and where?
I am a designer and co-founder of Contexture Design, a firm whose work is often inspired by reclaimed materials with historical, cultural or environmental significance.  Out headquarters are in East Vancouver.

What are you working on?
We just finished CANOE: A Canadian Convention, an all-consuming build for IDSWest and are now catching up on production.  We produce a line of products using reclaimed materials like maps and scrap veneer.  All of our work is produced locally, and most of them are hand made.

Where can we find your work?
You can see our products and special projects at You’ll also find our work at local retailers like Vancouver Special, Paper Ya, and Giovane Café at the Fairmont.

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