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Sixty7 Architecture Road: Firm Profile


Studio Presber Architecture + Design is a Calgary-based architecture and interior design firm that offers a selection of services that go beyond merely creating space.

This versatility comes from the fact that the principal, Lara Presber, is both an architect and a fashion designer. Such a duality of expertise helps give the firm an understanding of style and design right down to the smallest of details – from a concrete panel to a buttonhole, and everything in between.  The design of corporate attire gives clients the ability to have custom robes for their spa or uniforms for their restaurant staff, which can provide another element of a client’s identity that can seamlessly fit into the look of a project. Services related to fashion design are available along with Studio Presber’s other services such as strategic branding and positioning;  graphic design, signage and wayfinding;  space planning and lease assistance;  project management; and furniture, fixtures and equipment planning. These additional services present numerous ways in which clients can receive a holistic composition that blends right in with their brand.

One of the firm’s most well known projects to date is a specialty jewelry store in a high-profile downtown Calgary mall, which occupies a compact leasable space of only 80 square feet. The landlord removed two ATMs, recuperated the remaining space, putting the gross floor area barely 1% larger than the minimum required by code for more than 1 person at a time. The firm was tasked with consolidating the merchandising capability from the retailer’s previous 400 square foot location into the smaller space, while allowing the store to sell the same amount of product and with increased sales volumes. The solution was to create a usable storefront window that functions as a store during the day and continues to display merchandise after hours.


The firm is also very involved in local charities in the Calgary area, and were recently invited to design a mirror in support of a charity auction. They were inspired by the idea of adaptive reuse of a beautiful antique door salvaged from the Biscuit Block in the warehouse district of Calgary. The door, originally intended for another purpose, was enhanced with a new component to give it a new life as a mirror. Not only did this project provide an opportunity to bring awareness to and raise money for one of the firm’s favorite local charities, it also demonstrated how sustainable design can be simple and accessible to all.


Studio Presber views architecture as a platform that supports their diverse creative team to make space a unique experience for as many senses as possible. When clients choose to undertake a project with the firm, they have the comfort of knowing that the principal is directly involved in their project. This not only allows for a higher quality of service, but also design decisions that are considered from the perspective of another business owner for maximum return on design investment. Young Professional Profile: Designer Lara Presber


By: Karla Carol-Ann Posted in: Young Professionals – Nationwide || May 2, 2013, 1:30 pm

I was recently fortunate enough to pop by my friend Lara Presber’s new studio in Calgary to check out this fabulous new space being used both for architectural work as well as housing and creating the designer’s latest collections.

Lucky to have enough time for a glass of Prosecco and to see Lara off before embarking on a solo six-week El Camino de Santiago adventure through Spain, I was also able to sneak in a few questions about her latest work and inspiration.

KC: As a young professional working in an artistic field, why choose to live and work in Calgary? 

LP: The choice to live and work in Calgary happened quite coincidentally. I had never intended to stay after moving back from Europe, but I met so many inspiring people and realized that the city has so much potential for design. We have a completely untapped and unsaturated design market partnered with a robust economy. The designers that are here now (in all disciplines) are laying the foundation for and shaping the future of our city. That’s pretty rare for an urban centre that’s already reached a critical mass of 1 million people.    

KC: What about Calgary inspires you the most as a fashion designer and architect? 

LP: I’m inspired by the openness in both fields of clients who are willing to try something different. People are starting to recognize the value of having something that has been designed by a professional where detail is paramount. That makes me really excited and is so different from where we were when I first came back.

KC: You feature one piece from your collection each month on, stating ‘Building your wardrobe one piece at time’. How did this concept formulate? 

LP: ‘Building your wardrobe one piece at a time’ of course is a play on architecture, but also the tendency that I saw in my retail store of women who really coveted one beautiful and unique piece every few months combined with the service of being fitted personally by the designer. It creates a nice memory around the piece and an anticipation that we don’t experience much any more in our instant world. The price break component was inspired by the premise behind Kickstarter; it’s a great way to encourage buyers to share the piece with a friend, which in turn benefits everyone.   

KC: Your architectural background tends to inspire your collections. Can you give us a hint of what might be inspiring the next season’s collection? 

LP: My Spain trip is going to play a huge part in the inspiration behind the next collection. I have no idea what it will be yet, but feel optimistic that after spending six weeks on an open road wandering from town to town, I’ll discover something spectacular!

KC: Where can people check out your collection?

The current collection can be found (one piece at a time) on, as well as some pieces from previous seasons at fabulous savings.

Photo by Curtis Dez Photography

National Post “Deal With It”


The recent rash of group buying sites has inspired Calgary fashion designer Lara Presber to try the same crowd-pricing strategy with her collection. In addition to her storefront atelier, Presber now offers a limited-edition garment online every month. For March, it’s this colourful halter dress regularly priced at $380, but with her crowd-pricing strategy, if more than 20 are sold the price drops to $225. But hurry, the clock is ticking…

National Post Digital - National Post - (Latest Edition) - 23 Mar 2013 - Page #65 low

Fashion Magazine March 2013

Alberta Notes by Caroline Gault

2013 02 05 Fashion Magazine

ARTwear marks milestone with top designers, talented students

By Christina Kuntz, Calgary Herald November 6, 2012

2012 11 06 CH Artwear

It began as a fun way to raise money for programs at The Art Gallery of Calgary.

Ten years later, Elizabeta Liguric says ARTwear has become one of the gallery’s biggest events.

“It really has grown,” says the manager of development at the gallery.

“We’ve had such great support from the community, and every year we try to do something different and stretch our limits by doing something creative that we haven’t done before.”

This year, Liguric says they plan to mark the 10-year-anniversary of their annual fashion fundraiser with a special celebration on Thursday night.

As with previous years, they’ll be showcasing the work of students from the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD), who have created wearable art designs around this year’s ARTwear theme – vintage Hollywood.

But Liguric says this is the first time those designs will be featured on the main runway at Hotel Arts.

“We’ve been collaborating with ACAD for six years,” says Liguric, “and we wanted to switch things up a bit and try to showcase the students more this year.

“Fashion is a form of expression and it’s definitely an art form, and these students use a lot of different materials and come up with some really innovative forms of art.”

As well as featuring those designs on the runway, the gallery also decided to bring in some top Calgary designers for this year’s ARTwear.

Paul Hardy and Lara Presber will be presenting their latest collections, along with styles from local boutiques including Mealan Women’s Finery, Leo Boutique, Coco + Violet and Henry Singer.

Presber, whose studio combines fashion, architecture and interior design, is a big supporter of the arts and says she was happy to take part in this year’s special show.

“I really believe in what the art gallery is doing, especially now,” says Presber.

“This year, there’s so much more awareness of the arts (with Calgary) being the cultural capital of Canada, and Calgary is really on the international radar, so I think it’s important to find ways to be on the map for cultural, educational, and art-based programs, as opposed to just our international notoriety for oil and gas.”

In addition to a sneak peek of her upcoming summer collection, Presber will be showing designs from her fall collection, which was inspired by The Bow building.

Featuring structured and asymmetrical styles and an emphasis on the colour navy, the collection has a classic, “1940s Paris” feel that Presber says fits in well with ARTwear’s vintage Hollywood theme.

“Classic is always in style,” she says. “It transcends different fashion movements or trends.”

Though the focus of the fundraiser is to celebrate the art of fashion, Liguric says there is more to ARTwear than beautiful designs and a fun night out.

The purpose of the event is to raise money for the gallery’s art education programs, and the night will also include a silent auction featuring prizes that range from sports items to an astronaut-training experience.

“This event allows us to expand our art education programs,” says Liguric.

“We have an in-house school where we can host children, and we have educators and teachers that come in for workshops. We also have an outreach program, which means that our teachers go to the schools and they do their art workshops there.

“Currently, we’re looking to find ways to provide transportation for schools that can’t afford to come to the gallery. So we’re hoping that with the money we raise from this year’s fundraiser, we can somehow sponsor those schools and get more kids into the gallery.”

ARTwear will be held on Thursday, Nov. 8, at Hotel Arts (119 12th Ave. S.W.).

Doors open at 7: 30 p.m. and tickets are available at For more information on the event, go to


Read more:

Calgary Herald: The Heart Truth Fashion Show

Calgary Herald, September 4, 2012

2012 09 04 CH Red Heart Truth

Open File: Indie fashion designers reject recession

Ian Doig, December 19, 2011

2011 12 19 Openfile

Making it as an independent clothing designer has always been tough says architect and fashion designer Lara Presber, whose namesake professional women’s wear boutique is located in downtown Calgary’s Fashion Central.

Though soggy economic times have taken the pinking shears to the city’s small fashion community, she’s elegantly defiant. “This is my passion,” she says.

Presber, who has studied in Boston and Milan, launched her first clothing collection in 2007 just prior to the global economic downturn. She says her clientele were initially insulated against the recession by Calgary’s relatively good economic situation. She only began to feel the pinch over the last year, as did the boutiques that sell her clothing.

“You’re competing with big, big stores that can discount so much more than something that’s designed and produced in Canada,” she says. On the flip side, she says independent designers can be more nimble and adaptable than big retailers.

Presber says she and fellow designers have been forced to reevaluate their business strategies and become more efficient. “It has pushed everyone to be a whole lot more clever about how you’re approaching your clients and your market, what kind of messaging you’re using.”

For example, she offers designer-direct service, tailoring clients’ off-the-rack purchases in-store. “That’s what’s set me apart from my competition,” she says. Having clients walk out of the store Vogue-ready is great advertising.

The recession, she says, has also made fashion buyers more conscientious, another plus for independent designers. Not only are they looking for a high level of service, they want sustainably produced garments that are built to last.

There are very few established designers in the city, and most are emerging talents. “They’re struggling, but that’s not really indicative of the economy,” says Presber. “It’s always a struggle in the beginning.”

“We just went in head first, and that’s the only thing you can do,” says Jacile Hébert, co-owner of Jalu, a small independent fashion house that produces contemporary casual men’s and women’s clothing.

With business partner Luanne Ronquillo, the two launched their first fashion collection this fall, trusting their instincts and ignoring the odds against making it. If there’s glamour in hard work, the duo is très chic.

Hébert concentrates on marketing and sales and Ronquillo is the principal designer, while both maintain day jobs. While holding trunk sales and selling clothes online, they’re working to get their togs in stores.

The work can drain the gig’s inherent glamour, but Hébert claims the thrill of the challenge motivates like Tim Gunn. “The challenge makes the product more rewarding. It’s just keeping an eye on the prize and the small victories knowing they’ll amount to big victories in the end. That keeps it glamorous.”

Hébert says beating the recession is all about being staying relevant and being intimately acquainted with the fashion desires of her clients. “We need to stay true to our identity and to create a brand and a culture more than anything,” she says.

“It’s a really competitive industry regardless of what the economic times are looking like. But people will always buy based on feeling more than anything.”

Swerve Magazine October 2011

The New Pin Ups

Swerve 2011 10 21

Hers Magazine, Calgary Herald Fall 2011

HERS Fall 2011

National Post – Exotic Canada: Alberta souvenir news you can use

Nathalie Atkinson | Jun 30, 2011 2:59 PM ET

2011 06 30 NP AlbertaPut a Ring On It  The unusually hued Ammolite is Alberta’s official gemstone, mined in communities such as Canmore, and its colorations can vary from red to violet thanks to light refraction. The cheerful rainbow stone can be found in many gift shops, but for more contemporary, understated baubles, check out Coup (as in coup de foudre, or love at first sight) garment boutique in Edmonton, set among the independent shops and cafés in the historical Warehouse District on the downtown 4th Street Promenade. The new shop carries such westerly designers as Obakki, from Vancouver, and local jewellery such as Cara Cotter’s So Pretty line (

Do-Si-Do It  Howdy, pardner! Three generations of the Gerwing family have crafted custom and ready-to-wear traditional Western boots for both everyday folk and visiting dignitaries (like Prince Charles back in 1977 and now newlyweds Wills and Kate, this weekend). At their Alberta Boot Company shop and showroom, they also make the famous red Strathcona dress police boots for the Mounties, (at 50 50th Ave. S. in Calgary, Cowgirls in the know opt for pairs featuring the Edmonton stitch, a curvy butterfly pattern. Handmade boots only get better with age, but the best place to start breaking them in is a two-step at Cowboys, the local country bar.

Wear It  Architect by day and fashion designer by night, Lara Presber opened her namesake style boutique last year. Her modernist, intellectual womenswear designs are inspired by interesting structures and sculpture and just one of the handful of local designers who are part of the Fashion Central hub in downtown Calgary (8th Avenue Southwest and Stephen, The community includes a collaborative vintage shop and local label Motek Clothing’s more casual funky attire.

Eat It  Since 1983, cacao fanatics across the country have flocked to the confections of master chocolatier Bernard Callebaut, the great-grandson of Belgian chocolatier Eugenius Callebaut. You can bring a sweet souvenir boîte home thanks to the several locations of Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut peppered across the province (there are 10 in Calgary alone). Callebaut’s flavour pairings are inventive (the Canadienne truffle mixes maple syrup with white chocolate ganache) and you can stock up on baking bars, jars of his signature Karamel sauce or select assorted truffles like moccachino and cinnamon ginger in a custom ballotin.