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.
“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…
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…
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…
“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...
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
“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 www.geoframsay.com
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