TORONTO DESIGN OFFSITE: Vivien Leung’s energy infuses the Toronto design community

Another year of Pecha Kucha and TO DO with Vivien Leung.

My first memory of Vivien Leung was of this beautifully dressed woman pitching Pecha Kucha at a Design with Dialogue meetup co-hosted with TO DO. After that we kept randomly intersecting each other at street corners as we were running off to some event because we are both the kind of people who believe that community building is vital and participating online is not the same as showing up in person.

You can sense that Vivien is the type of individual to insert herself gracefully into any context, quickly identify a need and then without missing a beat start to nurture growth. She has played an important part in the emergence of a strong design community in Toronto.

Left to right: Vivien Leung, Libs Elliott, and Jay Wall.

Vivien’s work with Pecha Kucha has made the Toronto chapter the go-to event for the creative class who want to network while being inspired. Tickets always go quickly and today’s TO DO Pecha Kucha is a SOLD OUT event.

Libs Elliott, pictured above beside Vivien, is a past Pecha Kucha presenter and you can get an idea of how Pecha Kucha’s 20 (images) x 20 (seconds each) presentation style works by listening to her talk about the inspiration and process behind her unique quilts. You can also view more Toronto PK presentations on the website.

For the shoot, I asked each person to bring with them something that they felt represented Toronto design. Vivien choose to showcase a 3D printed earrings and necklace set by Hot Pop Factory Toronto’s “3D printing creatives” who specialize in “creative applications of digital fabrication.”

“Vivien stands out as one of our most valuable community-builders in Toronto. She tirelessly coordinates events and connects people across disciplines. The result is a mesh of relationships that activate Toronto’s design community.” ~ Jay Wall

Find out more about Vivien on www.vivienleung.co and follow her on Twitter.

Keep up-to-date on the latest Pecha Kucha news via Facebook and Twitter.

For all of the Toronto Design Offsite programming information click here

#TODO15

Above images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

TORONTO DESIGN OFFSITE: Quilter & Textile Designer Libs Elliott opens at Cutler and Gross

Growing up with Mennonite family around meant quilts were ever present. Because of this I can appreciate the work and the communal effort that go into these blankets that can fetch thousands of dollars at relief sales, but heir aesthetic, often full of feminine florals and wallflower palettes – not my thing. Then I saw Libs’ work – my kind of quilt! Using computer generated code and bold colour combinations Libs’ quilts are not about having a soft presence. They are loud and assertive.

Breaking with tradition while bending the boundaries of craft, technology and design, her creations are like a post-structural take on textiles. You could succinctly wrap up Jacques Derrida in one of these deconstructed babies.

Libs’ work is gorgeous and if you want to see more head over to Cutler and Gross (758 Queen St. W) to view her display “Wrap Yourself in Code” as part of Toronto Design Offsite.

Follow Libs on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

(Above image of Leah Snyder photographing Libs Elliott by Jay Wall)

Libs rocks some local designers below.

Ring by Vitaly
Brooch by Julie Moon
Glasses by Cutler and Gross

Libs’ quilt patterns were in collaboration with designer and technologist Joshua Davis. Read more about the process here.

Libs is seen here with Vivien Leung  (Pecha Kucha) and Jay Wall (“Reading/Writing the Junction” at Cut the Cheese)

Posts on Vivien and Jay to follow…!

#TODO15


Above images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

 

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.

WARMING UP AT THE INTERIOR DESIGN SHOW: Nothing Neutral about Patrizia Moroso at IDS ’14

succulents and cacti in the foreground with furniture and paintings in the background

A fresh colour mix from Moroso at The Interior Design Show Toronto.

Toronto design events are notorious for a certain palette – black, beige, bone and a about 50 plus shades of (not-so-sexy) gray. And truth be told I find something oddly soothing about the natural tones, it suits the Canadian disposition of neutrality and our desire to diplomatically blend into the background.

But when you turn the corner and are washed over with waves of colour you realize just how thirsty you are for juicy! And leave it to an Italian to quench that thirst by rocking hues of blood orange and citron.


For the Interior Design Show lounge area Patrizia Moroso, IDS ’14’s International Guest of Honour, explained to me that she didn’t want it to feel like a showroom but a comfortable artist studio where life is informal, creative and intimate as you get to see what is close to the artist’s heart.

Patrizia was able to translate this perfectly because she embodies all of this in the way that she fluidly moves through her world. She acknowledges that for her, there isn’t a clear separation between work and her personal life. Her way of living seems to be an improvisational dance, her steps guided by a strong sense of intuition and a desire to truly love what enters into her mix. For the lounge area she pairs her most adored pieces from the Moroso Collection with tiny arrangements of succulents and cacti just because she finds them beautiful. These small clusters of sweet but unassuming plants are balanced in the extreme by grand abstract canvases. These stunning paintings are eproductions of her husband’s pulsating art. The love-of-her-life has come along for the ride even if only in spirit.

And she also brings along the spirit of her mother and father. A second generation family owned and operated business, Patrizia’s parents started the furniture company after their town in Italy was devastated by The Second World War. While many left for greener pastures, like Canada, her parents stayed. From almost nothing they pieced back together their broken community by working hard and playing passionately in order to restore the vibrancy of the Dolce Vita.

With siblings and cousins brought into the business where those who worked together also played together, Patrizia grew up with an ethos of blurred lines and soften boundaries that allowed her free spirit the encouragement to explore life fully.

After attending art school and believing she was moving in the direction of an art critic or gallery owner her path shifted when her family called her back to work her magic on Moroso. What she did was infuse the furniture company with an artist’s touch and the invigoration of an avant-garde approach to design. Immediately she gravitated towards collaborations with artists (her first collaboration being with one of her closest friend’s from her art school days) and it has become a regular endeavour for Moroso to curate exciting exhibits (like M’afrique in 2009) around a multi-discplinary meeting of minds – artists, furniture designers and architects. The process that results from these collaborations has not only lead to Moroso being a leader in their industry but to Patrizia growing her intimate circle and extended ‘family’. In her Q & A with Azure Magazine’s Executive Editor Nelda Rodger as she took us through the company timeline she narrated a story of Moroso that sounded more like the history of a family tree. She spoke fondly of each Moroso collaborator and when speaking about Moroso‘s work with designer Patricia Urquiola you could tell she was not only speaking of a strong professional relationship but of a person who has become for her a close creative sister.


Perhaps that is why, when photographing Moroso‘s furniture, they feel more like people who were invited to the table, with their own personalities and something to say and contribute. The joy of the marriage between Moroso and the creative geniuses they have worked (played) with busts through the seams!

As I watched the crowds mingle in and around the lounge on the coldest of winter days it was clear that the informal invitation to hang out in Patrizia’s space for awhile was accepted.

Thanks to IDS and Azure Magazine for another round of great Trade Talks!







All above images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

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.

 

RETROACTIVE: A Look Back at Christopher Solar at the Interior Design Show, Toronto

Dark wood, square framed rocker with green cushioning

Sourcing out the newest work by Canadian Designers at IDS’s Studio North.

My introduction to Christopher Solar was at IDS 2012. Not surprisingly his Plantation Redux chair was tagged by a DESIGN LINE’s Love Tag because how could you not want to lie back and snuggle up close to this one!

Each year it seems the Christopher doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to stunning us with what is just good old craftsmanship and quality!

2013 it was his Tilde chairs, one with the edgy twist (or weave) of seatbelt-like webbing, the other with classic Danish cord.

“This low-back dining chair features crisp lines and subtle curves in the back and the hand-woven seat. The chair has been meticulously designed for comfort and solidly-constructed from carefully selected hardwoods. Many different combinations of frame materials and webbing colours are available.”

This year Christopher is unveiling the Number 7 Lounge and Rocker for #IDS14.

Come see them in the “flesh” Thursday night, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at this year’s Interior Design Show in the Studio North sectionThe Best in Canadian Design!

Square framed seat with light wood and gray cushioning
Light wood dining room chairs
Dark wood lounge chair and foot stool with light coloured cording
Above images provided by Christopher Solar.

SAVE THE DATE: Dance & Design on the Schedule this January in Toronto

Left image neck piece by Bin Dixon Ward provided by TO DO. See the necklace at TO DO’s Digital Promises Show. Right image Ritmo Flamenco provided by Dance Ontario.

JANUARY 9 – 19: JACK YOUR BODY (PART OF NEXT STAGE FESTIVAL 2014)

“Jack Your Body is a high-energy dance performance that pays homage to American street dance culture. The cast poses, struts, waacks and jacks their way through soul train, paradise garage and other iconic street dance scenarios. Issues of race, gender and social status come into focus during this dynamic dance piece that explores the evolution of underground social dances from the 70s-90s.” More info…

WHERE: Factory Mainspace on 125 Bathurst St, Toronto
HOW MUCH: $15, purchase tickets here
Follow on Facebook and twitter @Mixmixdance and join Facebook Event Page

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JANUARY 17 – 19: DANCEWEEKEND BY DANCE ONTARIO

“Dance Ontario’s Dance Weekend takes place annually at the Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront, and features an incredible line-up of dance artists over three days.” More info…

WHERE: Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queens Quay W, Toronto. View map here.
HOW MUCH: All the dance you can handle for $10 a day or $25 for weekend pass!
Click here for Full Schedule

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JANUARY 20 – 26: TORONTO DESIGN OFFSITE FESTIVAL (aka TO DO)

“The Toronto Design Offsite Festival (TO DO) is a not-for-profit, independent design festival happening annually at the end of January. TO DO’s aim is to provide exposure for local and national designers; to foster public understanding and knowledge of the practice of design; and to create an ongoing presence that promotes Canada’s creativity, drawing on great thinkers, practitioners, and educators to a deliver an innovative celebration of art and design.” More info…

WHERE: All over the Downtown core & beyond, view the full map here!
HOW MUCH: Unless specified most events are FREE!
Click here for Full Schedule

 

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JANUARY 23 – 26: COME UP TO MY ROOM (aka CUTMR as part of TO DO)

“Come up to My Room is the Gladstone Hotel’s annual alternative design event. CUTMR invites artists and designers to show us what goes on inside their heads. Coming together in dialogue and collaboration, participants are limited only by their imaginations, making CUTMR one of the most exciting shows in Toronto.” More info…

WHERE: The Gladstone Hotel,1214 Queen St. W, Toronto
HOW MUCH: $10 ($5 for students on January 24th)
Click here for Full Archive of Past CUTMR Events

 

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JANUARY 23 – 24: THE INTERIOR DESIGN SHOW

“The Interior Design Show is Canada’s premier showcase of new products, innovative designers and avant-garde concepts from North America and beyond. For one weekend each January, the city of Toronto is filled with industry superstars, cutting-edge emerging names, design-savvy consumers and top media outlets. And for 3.5 action-packed days, the Interior Design Show shapes the design world for the year to come.” Read more...

WHERE: Metro Toronto Convention Centre (North Building)
HOW MUCH: $19 per day advanced or $22 per day at the door
Click here for Full Schedule

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JANUARY THROUGH TO FEBRUARY: 100% TOBEUS – 100 DESIGNERS FOR 100 NEW TOY CARS

“TobeUs was born as a vent of a designer who became a father and could not stand the sight of his own children using toys for just a few hours and then destroying them or stopping looking at them.This is how the idea of TobeUs was born: toy cars made of wood, strong and sweet-scented, beautiful and clever because they are planned by skillful and passionate designers.” Read more…

WHERE: Design Exchange at 234 Bay St. View map here.
HOW MUCH: Adults $10, Students & Seniors $8

TO DO 2014 Promo Video from Toronto Design Offsite Festival on Vimeo.

ONE DAY GET AWAY FROM THE GTA: Edward Burtynsky @ The McMichael & Land|Slide @ The Museum of Markham

A mirror set in grass that reflects the country like scene around it and has the words WONDER.
Land|Slide Possible Futures exhibit at the Museum of Markham. Work by IAIN BAXTER&.

Tomorrow’s forecast in Toronto? Perfect Weather with possibility of plenty of art!

Lots of trees with clearing where there is a sculpture, a path and a group of children walking byMIXED BAG MAG recommends heading North of the city this weekend for 2 important shows that speak to our expanding urban centres / suburbs and promote dialogue around how to be more intentional around our future growth.

Due to popular demand Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky’s The Landscape that We Change is held over until Thanksgiving Monday at The McMichael in picturesque Kleinburg, Ontario.

“Burtynsky does not seek to position his images into the realm of political polemic. The artist has stated that they “are what they are.” His photographs engage the observer through what the artist refers to as a “duality” in the viewing process. In Burtynsky’s aesthetic interpretation, his images render the subject most often in rich colour, detail, and textural qualities. Simultaneously, the observer is made aware of the devastation and altered state of nature that is portrayed. The tension generated by mediating the dual nature of the individual’s response to the image is intended to provoke a thoughtful dialogue about the environment and societal attitudes.” Read more…

For more information on planning your visit to The McMichael click here.

Stone carving on large boulder with wood cabin and trees in the background
The grounds at The McMichael Museum in Kleinburg, Ontario.
Image of mirror in grass with words REFLECT on it and barn and trees in the background
IAIN BAXTER&’s “Markhamaze” at the Land|Slide Possible Futures exhibit.

Over in Markham is the much talked about Land|Slide Possible Futures exhibit that includes a large group of national and international artists covering the 25 acre grounds of the Markham Museum. Taking art of out the gallery space and plunking it into the perfect autumn setting of changing leaves, grass and blue skies was a pretty brilliant idea! Tomorrow will be my 4th visit. Green space + public art = My Idea of a Day Well Spent!

“Land|Slide Possible Futures is a groundbreaking large-scale public art exhibition which responds to a world in transition where the past, present and future collide. The landscape of Markham will be transformed by the work of over 30 national and international artists to explore themes of multiculturalism, sustainability, and community.” Read more…

 

FYI – FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE on Saturday from MOCCA & CSI Bathurst. Below info from Land|Slide’s Facebook page.

The Performance Bus ( Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) – Varley Art Gallery – Markham Museum):

MOCCA to Varley Art Gallery: 2PM
Varley Art Gallery to Markham Museum: 5PM

Regular Bus:
MOCCA to Markham Museum: 4PM, 6:30PM & 8:30PM
Markham Museum return to MOCCA: 7:30PM & 10PM

And NEWLY ADDED: An Urban Planning bus coming up from the Centre for Social Innovation at Bathurst and Bloor (720 Bathurst St) at 1PM.

This will take you up just in time for a talk by urban planners/artists Department of Unusual Certainties at 2:30PM, and a planning tour led by Land|Slide planning experts Lisa Hosale, Sara Udow and Katherine Perrott.



All above images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

Art work from top to bottom:
Inside the wigwam of Julie Nagam’s “singing our bones home” install
Close up at video for Camille Turner’s AfroFuturist performance “Time Warp”
Architect Frank Haverman’s install “Untitled” (I call it “Brilliant”)
IAIN BAXTER&’s “Markhamaze” at the Land|Slide Possible Futures exhibit.

Don’t miss these two really important exhibits!

Follow The McMichael on Facebook & twitter @LandSlide2013
Follow Land|Slide Possible Futures on Facebook & twitter @mcacgallery