IDS TRADE TALKS: FYI on Tomorrow’s Speakers

Headshots of Jerszy Seymour and Jurgen Mayer H.
Designer Jerszy Seymour and architect Jurgen Mayer H. Images courtesy IDS.

IDS is celebrating the 14th Anniversary of the Azure Trade Talks!

These industry talks gather together designers, architects, decorators and urban planners. Always informative, treat yourself to a day of expanding your knowledge while surrounded by the best in Canadian design.


“A designer’s designer, Jerszy Seymour has created an eccentric and edgy body of work. Uninterested in definitions, he crosses boundaries, producing interiors, architecture, fashion, and products with ease and abandon. Read more…


 “[Jurgen] focuses on the intersections of architecture: the grey zones where architecture blurs into art, embraces technology and new materials, and excites visitors to be inspired by the built environment around them.” Read more….

Also, on the schedule, Canadian born UK based Philippe Malouin & Canadian born Tokyo based Oki Sato  IDS’s International Guest of Honour for this year’s show.

MIXED BAG MAG is looking forward to an informative day of cross-cultural exchanges regarding contemporary architecture and design.

For more information on IDS visit or follow on Facebook & twitter @IDSToronto & #IDS13.

Headshots of Oki Sato and Philippe MalouinDesigner & architect Oki Sato and designer Philippe Malouin. Images courtesy IDS.

Postmodern structure by Jurgen Mayer H. and table made of cement and metal by Philippe MalouinArchitecture by Jurgen Mayer H (top) & table by Philippe Malouin (bottom). Images courtesy IDS.

FLASHBACK: IDS Trade Talks 2012 French & Italian Were on the Menu

Italian designer Fabio Novembre speaking at IDS in front of a double image of himself on the screenItalian designer Fabio Novembre at Azure Trade Talks, IDS 2012. 

French Designer Matali Crasset & Italian Designer Fabio Novembre. 

The AZURE Trade Day Talks that day were passionate. Cerebral French & Emotional Italian. Elemental to each of their designs – wit and whimsy.

As different as they were what Matali and Fabio demonstrated that day was that they are both dynamic and thoughtful human beings who create with a concern for those who will interact with their designs.

Click here IDS 2013 Trade Talks. See you there!

For more information on IDS visit or follow on Facebook & twitter @IDSToronto & #IDS13.

Italian designer Fabio Novembre speaking at IDS in front of a double image of himself on the screenItalian designer Fabio Novembre at Azure Trade Talks, IDS 2012 showing his re-vision of the Panton Chair

Designer Matali Crasset speaking at IDS on stage in front of screenFrench designer Matali Crasset speaking at Azure Trade Talks, IDS 2012.
Above images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag. 

image of Matali Crasset beside a sample of a room she has designedColourful room designed for childrenobjects for a cooking in a kitchen designed by Matalie CrassetFabio Novembre seated naked in a black and gold chair he has designedWoman standing beside white chair in shape of a face mask. Model is nude wearing only a white face mask. Black metal shelving unit with red section Black metal book shelf in the shape of a robot

CAN-CON: Studio North & Prototype at IDS

designers standing at the Prototype section of the Interior Design Show Prototype at IDS 2012 with Derek McLeod Sum Chair Lounge in foreground. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

Proudly Canadian at the Interior Design Show!

My favourite part of IDS? Seeing what the home-grown talent has to offer. Last year I was romanced by Christopher Solar’s Plantation Chair Redux (see below) among other equally beautiful suitors from the Brothers Dressler, Mani Mani, and Derek McLeod. View my post on my love affair with the chair here!

Plantation Chair Redux by Christopher SolarPlantation Chair Redux by Christopher Solar. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.Chair by Brothers Dressler for the Interior Design Show Re-imagined Stam/Breuer Chairs by Brothers Dressler. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.Wood and metal chair by designer Mani Mani
Cortical Chair by Mani Mani of fishtnk. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag. 

This year I am excited to see Christopher Solar’s newest design, the Tilde Chair, in the “flesh”, as well as this sexy design, the Nadine Chair by Composite Angle.

Chair made of metal and wood combination
Nadine Chair (top) by Composite Angle and Tilde Chair by Christopher Solar (bottom). Images courtesy IDS.

Table tops the list.

But I think this year is going to be less about the chair and more about the table.

Wooden coffee table and writing desk One Two Three Table by Eho Eho (top) and writing desk by Studio Garneau (bottom). Images courtesy IDS.

Table with glass top and curved wood frameKo Table by In Elements. Image courtesy IDS.

Moving away from neutral territory.

As much as we Canadian’s love our neutrals Geof Ramsay and Projector Design inject some colour into the mix.

Little blue and larger red table with cut-out sides resembling the layout of streets on a mapYou Are Here Table by Geof Ramsay. Images courtesy IDS.

“You Are Here is a formal exploration of physical place met with the application o f mass customization to furniture design.  Any geographic footprint, abstracted into its essential positive and negative space, can be laser cut to create a one-of-a-kind piece for each individual.” Read more on

Brilliant blue topped metal desk
001 Desk by Projector Design. Image courtesy IDS.

For more information on IDS visit or follow on Facebook & twitter @IDSToronto & #IDS13.

Logo for IDS the Interior Design Show

WHAT “TO DO”? Toronto Design Offsite This Week!

Part of DO Design, Toronto Design Offsite, window of Saving Grace

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.

Click here for the full festival schedule online as well as downloadable PDF to plan your week into the weekend.

Get the map & the app!

Map of locations in Toronto for Toronto Design Offsite

Here are some visual highlights from last year – eye candy along Dundas Street West  for DO Design, one of the many events for Toronto Design Offsite.

Storefronts along Dundas West for DO DesignFlyer for DO Design in window of abandoned shop.Store front along Dundas West for DO Design along with graffiti on an alley wall. Detail of design in the shops on Dundas West Storefront of Cooper Cole Gallery along Dundas West

Another event from Toronto Design Offsite 2012 – the opening of Forty Oaks Community Centre, Regent Park showcasing the furniture and design provided by Public Displays of Affection.

Stained Glass for Public Displays of Affection at Forty Oaks Community Centre

“Led by Design Director Parimal Gosai, Public Displays of Affection (PDA)  is a Toronto-based organization that is furnishing the low income housing development 40 Oaks with sustainable custom designed furniture…The custom designed furnishings were created by local design gurus such as Brothers DresslerStudio JunctionRob SouthcottParimal GosaiMADEKathryn Walter and over 28 more professional designers and students…PDA produced furniture and design elements in three ways: by engaging with local community stakeholders in workshops, by recruiting custom designed donations by designers, craftspeople, artists, furniture makers and architects, and by recruiting donations and workshop facilitation by post secondary students and their institutions.” (cited from

Read more about the 40 Oaks Project for Toronto Design Offsite here.

Table showcased at Public Displays of Affection with crowd of guestsTable and textile art on display Chair design with guests for Forty Oaks opening

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.

Yesterday’s post featured Shaun Moore and Julie Nicholson of MADE.

“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

Follow along with TO DO on Facebook & twitter @TODesignOffsite.

Storefront of MADE with Canadian designsSome of the beautiful furniture and design objects in MADESome of the beautiful furniture and design objects in MADE
Some of the beautiful furniture and design objects in MADE
Photography by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

NOUVELLE VAGUE: Finding the Humour in the New Wave of French Design

Retroviseur Domestique by Onna Vautrin
Retroviseur Domestique by Ionna VautrinImage courtesy Nouvelle Vague

Humour, like most of our tastes and predilections, may be influenced by our culture but that doesn’t mean that if we are the outsiders we can’t be let in on the joke.

After coming to Toronto in the fall of 2011 as part of a lecture series at OCAD U titled “New Forces in French Design”, journalist and curator Cédric Morisset has returned in spirit with the exhibition Nouvelle Vague.  In this show at the Harbourfront Centre, he has brought together an interesting collection of work from contemporary French designers.

At the lecture I attended Cédric characterized contemporary French design as possessing an inherent sense of “serious humour”. At the opening reception for Nouvelle Vague I experienced a little more about what he was referring to.  Upon entering the exhibit one is greeted with some humour noir. “Souvien Toi Que Tu Vas Mourir” (Remember That You Will Die) by the design studio Pool is a replica of those ubiquitous white plastic seats – the chair that is everywhere from Palestine to Phuket. Why the grim face? Designer Jean-Christophe Orthlieb of NOCC explains to me that the cutout skull is a twist suggesting the fate of these chairs.  When our derrières no longer need to be seated and our souls have left this world they will remain, overpopulating landfills across the globe. Made with materials that might just be in a competitive dead heat with uranium for half-live cycles, the chairs are a lasting testament to our dependence on chemically toxic and environmentally devastating petroleum based plastics.

“Souvien Toi Que Tu Vas Mourir” by Pool“Souvien Toi Que Tu Vas Mourir” by Pool Image courtesy Nouvelle Vague

Hypertrophy Chair by NOCC
Hypertrophy Chair by NOCCImage courtesy Nouvelle Vague

Jean-Christophe’s own chair designed with partner Juan Pablo Naranjo also utilizes some dark humour. The Hypertrophy Chair has its own ominous back-story.

“For Radiation Collection (in Chernobyl) we imagined a scenario in which traditional pieces of furniture would have endured some kind of radiation; where their genes would have mutated.”

Despite this chair’s inspiration arising from a dystopic tale it really is quite lovely as well as perfectly practical. It is this practicality I come to appreciate while getting to know this show.  The design that best exemplifies this is NOCC’s Elements.

“Elements is a shelving system that explores the concept of DIY (Do It Yourself). The actual object is a 1mm aluminum flat sheet that the user shapes by himself thanks to a special laser-cut folding system assembled with standard 18mm thick wood boards that can have any type of length and finish. The shelf can be assembled in a traditional upright way, as well in a deconstructed form, to better adapt its setting place.”

As someone who has a serious obsession with dense and large antique quarter oak furniture, I quite like the idea of packing brackets into a backpack with the ability to set-up-shop anywhere. In the spirit of being a 21st Century global nomad, it’s all about keeping the load light along with one’s carbon footprint. 

Elements shelving unit by NOCC Elements shelving unit by NOCCImage courtesy Nouvelle Vague

Getting back to this idea of “serious humour” the practicality is not without a sense of play. NOCC’s Elements brings to mind the memory of tinkering with my father’s childhood Erector Set snapping together the metal frames to construct whatever configuration was my fancy.

Another stunning piece that combines this ’practical playfulness’ is A + A Cooren’s Yabane chest of drawers that opens in both directions just in case you feel like being a little unconventional in your morning dress routine, a feature that also gives this piece the duality of being both a chest of drawers and a room divider.

Yabane chest of drawers by A + A Cooren’sYabane chest of drawers by A + A Cooren’sImage courtesy Nouvelle Vague

“Jean” Clock by Pierre Favresse
“Jean” Clock by Pierre FavresseImage courtesy Nouvelle Vague

But the collection would not truly be French without the contribution of beauty! A gorgeous piece that I fell-in-amour-for was Pierre Favresse’s “Jean” Clock.

 “Time and life are inextricably linked – we feel time pressures in our daily lives and wish we had more time; our time on this earth is limited and dictated by a clicking clock…Time therefore is something powerful yet fragile, which is why I wanted to encase it in a delicate white cloud of glass”

Explaining to me that perhaps it was his wife’s pregnancy at the time that informed the shape one wonders if it was not also the sentimentality we feel as our life’s rites of passages quickly slide by. We long to stop the clock and capture the moment so we can hold onto it forever.

Tidelight by Pierre FavresseTidelight by Pierre FavresseImage by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag. 

Also by Pierre is Tidelight. For this piece he took inspiration from an automobile headlight which for me created a highlight of the exhibition as I love the way it feathers light across a surface. Along with his designs in glass, Nouvelle Vague features several chair designs by Pierre who is the Artistic Director for habitat.

Chairs from the Perch Collection by Pierre Favresse
Chairs from the Perch Collection by Pierre FavresseImage courtesy Nouvelle Vague

The irony of this show is not lost on the way the materials are used to explore opposites. The pièce de résistance is A + A Cooren’s vase, Tourbillon, literally an ironic twist of materials that plays with the rigidity of glass to create an illusion of fluidity.  We are left with the impression of flowing water and wild wind.

Tourbillon, vase by A + A CoorenTourbillon, vase by A + A Cooren. Image by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag. 

Closing this Sunday, MIXED BAG MAG recommends this show if you are interested in the tongue-in-cheek visuals of contemporary French design.

Visit the Nouvelle Vague website. More information on Harbourfront’s website.
Show presented in partnership with the Consulate General of France in Toronto and the Institut français.

Logos for Consulat General of France and the Institut Francais

French Design exhibit Nouvelle Vague at Harbourfront Centre TorontoIn the foreground Louxor light by Pool. Images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag. 

French Design exhibit Nouvelle Vague at Harbourfront Centre Toronto
Top image Hypertrophy Chair by NOCC. Bottom image Oeil de sorcière (Witch’s Eye) Ionna VautrinImages by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag. 

French designers Jean-Christophe Orthlieb and Pierre Favresse at Nouvelle Vague French designers Jean-Christophe Orthlieb of NOCC and Pierre Favresse