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.
“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.”
“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.
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…
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.
made the spaces in-between smash / process dictates form / make art everyday / design create innovate think experiment play / shiny pretty things loop / embrace this space
After 6 days and 20+ events my mind is busy synthesizing all that I saw, everything I experienced and each person I interacted with.
Celebrating 15 yrs in partnership with IDS, Azure Magazine’s Trade Talks left me with more than enough food for thought and a satiated mind. Both Oki Sato and Philippe Malouin took the audience inside the head of a designer with regards to the important of process. True to Jerzsy Seymour’s reputation, his talk was full of surprises. Jurgen Mayer H., the German who has now become a sort of Starchitect for the Georgian Government spoke of the forward thinking with regards to institutional buildings in a country eager to emerge on the international scene as a destination of interest. The philosophy behind Jurgen’s design for the customs checkpoint at the border of Georgia and Turkey was to build a structure that would represent the meeting point of two countries rather than the dividing line between an “us” and a “them”. Watch for more of his work popping up on the landscape there!
And I have to agree with Jurgen’s comment to the ladies from ArtsCom on his way out the media lounge on Saturday. The show was well organized (and running on German Standard Time)!
Design Week wouldn’t be as successful as it is without the vision and dedication of people like Gelareh Saadatpajouh, Programs Coordinator of Toronto Design Offsite. Gelareh facilitated an engaging Design With Dialogue session that got each of us to show the group how our design practice looks. With all the different approaches that we shared and our individual ways of finding a solution, one thing was made clear – the community is stronger when we uplift and collaborate.
Everyone contributed to making Design Week such an incredible time!
Toronto Design Offsite (TO DO) Festival entering its 3rd year with over 40 exhibits around town
It’s going to be cold so why not warm your heart with inspiration by taking in some of the many exhibits that will be part of Toronto Design Offsite 2013. From “unexpected prototypes to immersive installations”, this festival that showcases emerging Canadian Design is growing in leaps and bounds every year. It’s taking over the city and supporting a growing design community both locally and nationally.
If you are looking for some online content to supplement your experience along with TO DO’s blog of festival Sneak Peeks Toronto design team MASON STUDIO has a great 12 part series featuring the designers, artists and organizers of TO DO.
“Everything we do as MADE is about engagement and working for more and more people to understand the kind of work we represent as well as produce ourselves- as an independent design company, this contributes to our making a living. TO DO works towards engagement within the design community and simultaneously reaches out to a wider audience in Toronto and beyond, so it’s like riding a bigger wave.” Read more on the MASON STUDIO Journal