DESIGN IN CANADA: Fitting it all together

Design in Canada is alive and well.

I make it no secret that my favourite part of IDS is and always will be Studio North and Prototype. This is where you get to experience design that is less about trends and more about design thinking and process.


Prototyping a chair from Tony Round on Vimeo.

The other reason I love Studio North and Prototype is because it showcases Canadian design talent. Walking into boutique hotels, urban restos and condo model suites in this country one might think that the only options out there for interior designers are the unchallenged classics. The result – a predictable bore often referencing designers who are cold in the grave. Le Corbusier is long gone but his furniture and overpriced knockoffs are as ubiquitous as ghosts on Halloween. In a world still dominated by Mies and Eames it’s always refreshing to see interior designers and architects take a chance on artists and designers who are still alive and kicking.

When we get the opportunity to see interior designers incorporate more locally sourced art and design the results are far more interesting. One recent example of designers who did just that is the stunning Skwachàys Lodge in Vancouver.“Skwachàys (pronounced skwatch-eyes) Lodge and Residence at 31 West Pender Street in Vancouver houses a fair trade gallery, boutique hotel and an urban Aboriginal artist residence. 

Owned and operated by the Vancouver Native Housing Society (VNHS), the facility provides 24 shelter rate apartments for Aboriginal people at risk of homelessness, and two social enterprises that support the Society’s mission and financial sustainability.

The top three floors contain 18 boutique hotel units for socially responsible travelers and Aboriginal patients travelling to Vancouver from remote areas to receive medical treatment. The hotel units have recently been transformed with the assistance of a team of artists, designers, and suppliers.

Find out more…

In Toronto we have the Gladstone Hotel. Along with rooms designed by artists the Gladstone is also regular venue for local art and design with events like Come Up To My Room, part of Toronto Design Offsite.

“Internationally recognized as Canada’s favourite Boutique Art Hotel, the Gladstone uniquely blends historical Victorian architecture with contemporary luxury, downtown culture and whole lot of art, making it an iconic Toronto hub for locals and international travelers alike.

Supporting 37 artist designed hotel rooms,  over 70 art exhibitions a year, 4 diverse event venue spaces and 2 restaurants, all on a strong values-based mandate, the Gladstone strives to foster an authentic experience for its guests and the local community.”

Find out more…

My discoveries at Toronto’s Interior Design Show.

Each designer featured below was someone I encountered at IDS 2015 who approached their design thoughtfully, thinking about how to take good design and snap it into place – simply and beautifully.

TAT CHAO

I have featured Tat Chao a couple of times on Mixed Bag Mag and have been a fan since falling in love with his up-cycled candle holders at the One of Kind Show a few years back. This year he arrived at IDS ’15 with products that flat pack well and assemble in seconds – “no glue, no screws.”

DIÈSE or “hashtag” in English “is a flower vase made from four pieces of 3mm clear acrylic and a test tube. The way the pieces are assembled will result in different shapes. No glue, no screws are necessary. Just slide the slots into each other.”

(view opening image to see how DIÈSE is configured into a hashtag)

“Part of the “NO GLUE NO SCREWS” series, TRIÈDRE is made from three pieces of laser cut acrylic and simply assembled together by sliding the slots into each other. The result is an ultra-modern and scuptural object where the content (fruits, vegetables, bread, etc) are beautifully displayed.”

Follow Tat and see more of his work:
Website – www.tatchao.com
Twitter – @tatchao
Instagram – @tatchao

black stroke

CUT AND FOLD

Another brilliant flat packer project is the Origami Chair by Cut and Fold (Andrea Kordos & Tony Round). One of the DesignLines loves selections this chair moves like the wings of a butterfly to flap lightly into place.

“The Origami Chair is inspired by papercraft – the idea that folding simple shapes can create amazing forms. We’ve designed the chair to be simple and beautiful. The origami chair’s nest-like shape is generous and ergonomic, while the thin baltic birch shell keeps it efficient and minimal. The facets of the shell are connected with piano hinges – this give the chair some flex for added comfort. The thin shell sits on top of an elegantly folded steel frame. It’s available in different finishes including natural wood veneer, solid-colour laminates, and leather or cowhide.”


The Origami Chair from Tony Round on Vimeo.

Follow Cut and Fold and see more of their work:
Website – www.cut-fold.com
Twitter – @CutFold

black stroke

EUGENE PAUNIL
Eugene has been on Mixed Bag Mag before but as a visual artist which is how I first encountered his work at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibit many moons ago as well as more recently at Manifesto’s 2012 art show (see the eagle sculpture).

But Eugene’s first love is design and he attended OCAD U’s Industrial Design program. This year he brought “Light W8” to Prototype. An elegant idea, the light uses river rocks to displace the weight to adjust the height of the lamp. Designed for easy shipping the lamp comes apart and can be put back together will minimal effort.

Follow Eugene and see more of his work:
Website – www.eugenepaunil.com
Twitter – @eugenepaunil
Instagram – @paunilstudio

black stroke

GEOF RAMSAY
Geof, like Eugene and Tat, has also been on Mixed Bag Mag for a feature on IDS ’12. This year’s contribution to Prototype won him the award as well as DesignLines Magazine’s DesignLines loves badge. It’s when you are up close and personal with this chair, from the Euclid Collection, that you can see the stunning joinery and the hex motif reiterated.

“Inspired by the purity of geometric form, is a three part collection of products that fit together perfectly to create unique groupings and combinations. The forms of the hexagon, triangle and rhombus are repeated throughout the entirety of each piece, shaping the legs, profiles and joinery. The Euclid Collection is crafted from solid oak and is available in a natural or black satin finish.”

Follow Geof and see more of his work:

Website – www.geoframsay.com

Facebook – /geoframsaydesign
Twitter – @geoframsay

 

It’s a great time to consider Canadian and Indigenous designers and artists. There is more than enough talent here and it can feel good to invest your dollars in the business of someone you can actually speak with – whose blood is still warm in their veins. Knoll won’t shut down if a few Urbanites forego purchasing Saarinen’s design cliche of a table for their condo but as a buyer making that kind of decision may be enough to keep the next Ray Eames in business.


Cut and Fold at IDS15 from Tony Tound on Vimeo.

Above images of the Interior Design Show by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag. All other images provided by each designer.

CROSSING THE LINE: Also Collective & Mason Studio Team Up To Explore Hybridity in Design Practice

Ad for Perimeter Series talk on hybridity in design practice

Two (or more) interdisciplinary heads are better then one!

A0 (ALSO Collective + Mason Studio) invites you to The Perimeter Series, the first of a series of panel discussions on issues related to contemporary design practices.

Hybrid Design: Collaboration in Practice is the topic of the first discussion and investigates the value of working in cross-disciplinary formats. The panelists will explain how collaborative efforts in their professional practices have informed their current work, their forecasts for the development of these processes, and the risks and issues in collaboration. The ideas expressed by the panelists will begin to explore if and how adaptive modifications are required in a Canadian context to facilitate collaboration in practice.”

The first event is hosted by the School of Interior Design at Ryerson University, and moderated by the Interior Design program ChairLois Weinthal. The panelist are:

Mark Argo (Aesthetec Studio)
Mike Lovas (PUSH Strength)
Marc De Pape (OCAD University)
Laura Fyles (Academy of Design)
Zaiba Mian (Humber College)

“The Perimeter Series was developed by AZero, the joint efforts of ALSO Collective and Mason Studio. The studios share philosophies of design, but originate from two distinct practices. ALSO occupies a space in digital media and graphic design, while Mason inhabits the domain of physical interior space. The Perimeter Series was developed as an opportunity to share in the conversation between the studios to explore a shift in the boundaries of design. Come take part in our discussions!”

This event is free, but registration is required. Please register by clicking here.

RETROACTIVE: A Look Back at Derek McLeod at the Toronto Design Offsite Festival

Iconographic design right here at home. 

As beautiful as an Eames or van der Rohe chair is right now in Toronto we have what could easily be the next new wave of iconic designers working amongst us. Derek McLeod is one such designer. His work is flawless but without that precious and inaccessible feeling that design can sometimes leave you with.

Not only a furniture designer, Derek also creates beautiful objects – tables and lighting –  which all blend in seamlessly with his furniture.

With such great designers milling around the city it’s necessary to continue to build a community of support to foster what is a growing design movement, not just in Toronto, but across Canada.

In Mason Studio’s interview last year with Derek they ask him “how can Canada develop a design identity on an international stage?” Derek replies:

“There is a funding model in place for various arts and craft based practices in Ontario and Canada, though they are specific about the works not being commercial, i.e. design. It would be fantastic to have the municipal government try to push local manufacturing and design or have the provincial or federal government aim to create more value out of some of the resources available here, i.e. wood that can be turned into furniture instead of being shipped away as planks.”

Close up of a dark wood chair, people standing behing it talking“Sum Chair” by Derek McLeod, Prototype Section of IDS ’12. Image by Leah Snyder.

Ditch Home Sense. Shop on Dundas!

Another way to support Toronto designers is to shop local for all the things you require for your home. Queen West and King East are the more established design hubs but you can also find amazing design in Parkdale, along Queen East or Dundas West, Ossington (between Dundas / Queen) and in The Junction.

This weekend at the Interior Design Show (IDS) you can head to the Studio North / Prototype and the DesignBoom Mart sections to not only see the latest designs by this city’s creative geniuses but also talk to the makers! To know the person you purchase your piece from is an extra bonus that the Big Box stores will never be able to offer. Also check out the Creative Class section to see what student designers are dreaming up and prototyping.

In the background “Frill Table” by Derek McLeod at Shiny Pretty Things show, Cooper Cole Gallery, TO DO ’13. Image by Leah Snyder.

The Toronto Design Offsite Festival plays a huge role in promoting local talent. Derek’s work has been featured each year in shows like 2013’s Shiny Pretty Things, 2012’s The Associates, 2011’s Tools and 2010’s Heavy Metal. These shows have been beautifully organized by architect / designer Joy Charbonneau another amazing contributor to the design scene here in Toronto as well as one of the co-founders of TO DO.



Sometimes Joy and Derek team up always resulting in something stunning, like their Tufted Bench which can be seen during TO DO at the Ontario Crafts Council.

“This wooden bench makes use of the shaping capabilities of a CNC machining centre to create a surface that emulates tufted upholstery. The top started as a simple slab laminated together with planks cut to match the width of the tufts. The shallow concave ‘pillows’ would present a significant challenge to fabricate with typical woodworking techniques, thus the CNC was employed to sculpt the wood surface. The legs were also fabricated in the same machine by cutting half of the profile, flipping it over into a custom fixture and cutting the other half.  Hand sanding and an oil finish complete the bench.”  See more about the chair here…

Tufted Wood
Dark wood bench with the top part resembling tufted cushion

If you haven’t already checked out TO DO in past years then this is the year to get out and find out how truly talented Toronto is.

Derek will be showing as part of the Light It Up Show at Cooper Cole Gallery. Opening reception is tonight from 6 – 10 pm and will continue through to Sunday.

Be prepared to see something brilliant!

See more work at www.derekmcleod.com


All images of Derek McLeod’s work, unless otherwise noted, provided by Joy Charbonneau.

 

TORONTO DESIGN OFFSITE FESTIVAL: Kicks Off Starting Now!

Two women standing in front of wall, sunglasses and dresses onTO DO’s Gelareh Saadatpajouh & Sanam Samanian with Canvas Bag by Jay Wall for Toronto Design Offsite Festival.

The Best of Independent Design in Toronto!

Fresh off the #MashUPStyle shoot with the women of Jack Your Body and inspired after weekend of the best from the Toronto Dance community at DanceWeekend’14 I was ready first thing this morning to capture some of the creative team behind Toronto Design Offsite Festival despite another cold snap.

The chill was chased away though by the warm personalities of TO DO’s Executive Director Sanam Samanian, R & D Director Gelareh Saadatpajouh and Communications Coordinator Michael R. Madjus all rocking their own personal style.

Each year I look forward to this event so I can discover little gems of design located around the festival route in Toronto’s core. This year I am excited to see the Wishbone Table by Alan Hindle of Stacklab and OCAD U’s 3rd edition of  Tables, Chairs and Other Unrelated Objects. Also over OCAD U at their Onsite Gallery is Terreform ONE (Open Network Ecology) and the show Biological Urbanism: An Opera of Disciplines from Architecture, Landscape, Urban Design, Biology, Engineering and Art. Running until February 22 Terreform ONE is a

“New York-based design group that promotes environmentally conscious urban planning. Its projects are an exciting mixture of architecture, landscape, urban design, biology, engineering and art and it is dedicated to finding innovative solutions for sustainability in energy, transportation, city infrastructure and waste management. The works featured in this exhibition at Onsite [at] OCAD U highlight Terreform ONE’s interest in incorporating living organisms in design, and advancing the notion of sustainability beyond a popularized mainstream rhetoric.”

And of course there is the Gladstone Hotel’s Come Up To My Room show  (#CUTMR) – one of the most celebrated mashup design-craft-art shows of the year in this city!

The official #TODO14 kick off party is Wednesday at SMASH – join the Facebook event page here but every day, starting today, there is something to see.

Get the:

FULL SCHEDULE

MAP

APP

For this MIXED BAG MAG edition of #MashUPStyle for #TODO14 Sanam, Michael and Gelareh showcased second hand finds from mothers’ closets, far-away and nearby vintage stores as well as some local designers like North Standard, jewellery designer Yasaman Pishvai (Void Jeweler) glasses by festival Sponsor iconic eye-wear designers Cutler and Gross.

Woman with cape on swinging around with back to viewer
Woman with skirt, cape and hat on standing against wall
Upclose shot of woman wearing sunglasses and hat
Woman holding hat in hand
Man standing in front of a wall laughing





All above images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

DESIGN MATTERS: Toronto Design Offsite Festival 2014

FINAL COUNTDOWN! For just $10 you can help support this amazing independent design festival!

Designers are the magic makers, the interfacers.
Designers allow the stuff of dreams to come to life.

Designers have the capability to make our day with well played functionality.

And that is why design matters! Because we live in a world where we engage with design round the clock.

Supporting a community that nurtures designers so they can give birth to great design just makes sense.

This festival is near and dear to my heart because as a designer it brings together some of the best independent talent we have in Toronto and each year I walk away inspired. Plus this warm bunch of creative geniuses do a fine job of thawing out Toronto in the coldest month of the year.

ONLY A FEW HOURS LEFT! Check out Toronto Design Offsite’s Indiegogo Campaign to see how you can help for as little as $10 and upwards for some great perks.

Limited Edition Silk Screen Tote by Studio Jay Wall – Get this Perk by Donating $50

 

 

 

Salvaged Wood Candle Holder by Ian Devenney – Get this Perk by Donating $75

 






From top to bottom, left to right. 1. Work by at TODO ’13 Launch Party. 2. Plate for Imm-Living Not Forkchops Show, Photo by Krystle Merrow
www.krystlemerrow.com @ Studio Huddle 3. Cob Holders by Lana Filippone for Imm Living’s Not Forkchops show 4. Bruno Billio’s install for Come Up to Room Event at The Gladstone 5. Zahra Ebrahim of archiTEXT at the TODO ’13 Launch Party 6. Michael Revil Madjus of Imm Living & Gelareh Saadatpajouh, R & D Director of TODO 7. Vivien Leung, Organizer for Pecha Kucha Toronto 8. Ashley Rumsey and Stanley Sun of Mason Studio at TODO ’13 Launch Party. Unless otherwise noted all images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

Festival Talks: Zahra Ebrahim from Toronto Design Offsite Festival on Vimeo.

Festival Talks: Vivien Leung from Toronto Design Offsite Festival on Vimeo.

PECHA KUCHA TORONTO: Celebrating World Creativity & Innovation Week

Colourful Poster for Pecha Kucha Night at the Gladstone HotelAfterModern.Lab’s newest poster design for Toronto’s April 2013 Pecha Kucha Night.

Getting to the point (in 6 mins & 40 secs) about Creativity, Design & Inspiration.  

For anyone who has yet to discover the phenomenon that is Pecha Kucha if you are in Toronto next Tuesday why not head to the Gladstone Hotel to find out what it is all about!

Pecha Kucha – named after the colloquial Japanese phrase for chit chat – began around 10 years ago in Tokyo and has since rippled around the world offering tidbits of inspiration to global audiences. Based on a simple format each presenter has 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide to talk about their passion, their obsession, their raison d’être!

Woman smiling with beer in her handMirella Amato of Beerology™. Image from www.beerology.ca.

One such passionate Pecha Kucha talk that got my attention was Mirella Amato’s talk on her business Beerology™. A former opera singer, Mirella spoke on how she blended together her two great passions – Opera and Beer – with a great mashup event called HOPERA.

Mirella Amato speaking at Pecha Kucha September 2013 at the Gladstone Hotel

Mirella has recently become the first Master Cicerone in Canada – the beer equivalent of a Sommelier – and gives guided beer-tasting sessions and workshops.

“My goal with Beerology™ is not to make beer recommendations based on my taste, but rather to share the tools necessary for each participant to zero in on their own personal favourites. I aim to get people excited about beer and point them in the right direction so that they can confidently continue exploring on their own. I also like to provide the context for each beer, including historical tidbits as well as anecdotes on brands, breweries and styles.” (read more on www.beerology.ca

Mirella’s Pecha Kucha presentation changed the way I thought about beer and definitely piqued my interest as well as my appetite. Follow Mirella on twitter @beerologyboffin & Beerology’s Facebook Page.

Group of people sitting on a stage in front of screen that says Yay Beer Break
Some of the Pecha Kucha presenters from the September 2013 event at the Gladstone Hotel. Photo by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

As a designer I have also enjoyed listening to other kindred spirits speak regarding their own design process. This was the original reason that Pecha Kucha was created, to give designers a unique forum to exchange ideas. If one looks at how rapidly Pecha Kucha has caught on it suggests it was the perfect creative dose that designers needed.

April’s Pecha Kucha Night is in collaboration with World Creativity & Innovation Week. This initiative started on this end of the globe in Toronto with much of the same impetus as Pecha Kucha with the shared idea of bringing creative minds together.

“WCIW was started just over a decade ago by creativity professional Marci Segal in Toronto, who sought to answer the questions “How do we get everyone to realize they have the ability and can use creativity to shape a better future?”

Since then, around the world, many have celebrated WCIW in their own unique ways. In the Netherlands, “creativity walks” with civil servants promote out-of-the-box thinking in public policy-making. In Argentina, schools get creative with collaborative art projects, while an international creativity conference takes place in Italy. In England, a group of friends experiments with creative cooking and in Ontario, schoolchildren take part in creative science exploration activities.” (read more on www.wciw.org)

Logo for World Creativity and Innovation Week

Follow World Creativity & Innovation Week on twitter @WCIW and Facebook.

RSVP here to Tuesday, April 16’s Pecha Kucha.

 

AND I QUOTE! Words of Wisdom from Toronto Design Week

Mark Surman speaking on stage with brick wall behind him

Azure Trade Talks, Creative Mornings Toronto and discussing 10 yrs of Come Up to My Room


“Be less ego driven and more people driven [with regards to the design community].”

Pamila Matharu, Artist & Arts Educator, Co-Curator for Gladstone Hotel’s Come Up To My Room Show

“Mainstream culture is remixed, not Hollywood, and it is remixed by design”
Mark Surman
, Executive Director of Mozilla Foundation

“The day I discovered Photoshop it was like AHHHHH!! Layers, colour, hue and saturation…Pop artists were just like Photoshop 30 years ahead of time. Warhol was cloning, Rauschenberg layering and Rosenquist dissolve.”
Douglas Coupland, Canadian Cultural Provocateur & MashUP Master

“I describe my design as a continual workshop.”
Jerszy Seymour,  Designer

“With the idea of modeling [ a neighbourhood’s look and feel in the battle against big developers] you can have impact but you have to declare it!”
Christina Zeidler
, Artist / Designer, Pres of Gladstone Hotel &  Co-Curator for Gladstone’s Come Up to My Room Show


“I am not designing a product but a piece of research”
Philippe Malouin, Designer

“I have a personal collection of patterns. Data protection patterns [the inside lining of envelopes] strategically divide private and public and buildings are like envelopes. I look at how the patterns negotiate issues of how we deal with data, how we deal with issues of privacy and issues of information control.”
Jurgen Mayer H
., Architect

“We need to stay an inclusive, nimble and  open [design] community.”
Zahra Ebrahim, Community Engager & Educator

“This city is changing dramatically. Condos are going up and [those people] are coming, participating and collaborating. That’s about to break [Toronto] open big time!”
Andrea Carson Barker, Curator, Writer & Ambassador for Canadian Art, Design and Architecture

Architect Jurgen Mayer H. speaking at podium with image of his architecture behind him. Images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

TORONTO DESIGN OFFSITE: Junction Kick-Off Weekend

images from the Junction Design Crawl(left to right) Images from The Junction Design Crawl 2012  at Smash, ARTiculations and installation by Mason Studio

If you are feeling like you want an early start on Design Week in Toronto then head on up to The Junction, the newest hub of d’lish design in the city. The Junction Kick-Off Weekend (part of Toronto Design Offsite) is taking place tonight and tomorrow afternoon

“The Warm-Up: Fire-Building in the Junction project to construct a fire pit at the train platform of the junction was set in motion by Marcin Kedzior and Noah Scheinman and involves students from Interior Design, Industrial Design, and Architectural Technology from Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning.” Read more on Toronto Design Offsite

Saturday, January 19,  6-9 pm | Sunday, January 20, noon-3pm
Location: The Junction Train Platform at 2960 Dundas Street West (1/2 block east of Pacific Ave)

Logo Toronto Design Offsite

And while you are up there MIXED BAG MAG recommends checking out great stores like Mjölk for the most yummiest collection of exquisitely design objects from spinning tops to tools as well as furniture and photography; longing for Toronto designer Hoi Bo’s toiletry cases and The Hunting Chair by Danish designer Borge Mogensen.

Wander in to ARTicluations to see their current exhibit of Brothers Dressler designs and Smash for a nostalgic and well curated assortment of large and small odds and ends.

store front of Mjolk design shop
Spinning tops and other objects at Mjolk
The crowd at Mjolk amongst their furniture and designs
Photography by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.