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.

BEST IN SHOW? EVERYONE! Design Week in Toronto & The Growth of a Community

Detail of colourful paper sculpture by Tara Keens-Douglas

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)!

I appreciated all the great conversations on architecture, design, and culture I had even if they were cut short because I was running off to the next event.  Thanks to Janet at Latitude 44, Ange-line and Michael of Imm-Living, Matt and Chris of Projector Design, Natalie and Kyle of Composite Angle as well as Laurie and Mania of Samare and Stanley and Ashley of Mason.  Also thanks to designers Tat Chao,Tahir Mahmood and Christopher Solar, the multi-talented Camal Pirbhai, visual artist Camille Turner and architect-slash-design-activist Zahra Ebrahim!

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!

Plastic sign outside Made Design store
Drawings from group discussion that reads spaces in-between
Sign of Smash and Toronto Design Offsite on the glass window front of the store
Playing with dry ice at design workshop, designer Jerszy Seymour speaking at IDS with slide of drawing of volcano behind his head
Detail of install by Samare at IDS with samples of their felt rugs and the process
Designer Philippe Malouin speaking at IDS with screen behind him that says process dictates form
Window display with paper snowflakes and a poster that says Make Art Everyday
Window display with wooden lamp, chandilier with umbrella handle, and chandilier made with recycled stemware
White paper cloud like structures around modern furniture
Window in the front of gallery with shiny logo reflecting the buildings across the street
Room with mirrors on the floor and under the furniture reflecting the space in infinity, books piled high from floor to ceiling
Five panelists sitting with mics to talk about design in front of a brick wall
Colourful screen printed posters and image of black bricked storefront from street with sign saying Loop
A checkered building on colourful stilts suspended over older brick building with CN Tower in the background
Brick wall with painting across the side with the words Embrace this SpacePhotography by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

1. Detail of Tapestry by Tara Keens-Douglas for the Gladstone’s 10th Come Up To My Room
2. Sign outside MADE, Dundas West during DoDesign
3. Doodles from the Design with Dialogue group for Toronto Design Offsite
4. Sign outside SMASH, The Junction
5. Playing with design process at the Design with Dialogue group for Toronto Design Offsite
6. Designer Jerszy Seymour at IDS for Azure Magazine’s Trade Talks
7. Detail from Samare Design’s install at IDS for “How Do You Work?”
8. Designer Philippe Malouin speaking at IDS for Azure Magazine’s Trade Talks
9. Window display at ARTiculations, The Junction
10. Window display of Brothers Dressler’s  “Ash out of Quarantine Show” at ARTiculations
11. Up-cycled Stemware glass chandelier by Montreal designer Tat Chao at IDS
12. Chandelier with umbrella handle at LightForm at Toronto Design Offsite’s Opening Party
13. Mason Studio’s install at Pavilion for Toronto Design Offsite
14. Window at Cooper Cole Gallery, Dundas West for Shiny Pretty Things show
15. Bruno Billio’s install at the Gladstone’s 10th Come Up To My Room
16. Panel Discussion for Come Up To My Room 10th Anniversary at the Gladstone.  L to r – Andrea Carson Barker, Justin Langlois, Chrisina Zeidler, Zahra Ebrahim, & Pamila Matharu
17. Prints made in house at SMASH, The Junction
18. “Not Forkchops” exhibit at Loop Gallery on Dundas West, Toronto Design Offsite
19. View of OCAD University, McCaul Street
20. Outside wall of Student Gallery at OCAD University, McCaul Street

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.

JERSZY SEYMOUR

“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 MAYER H.

 “[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 www.interiordesignshow.com 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.