DESIGN IN CANADA: Fitting it all together

Design in Canada is alive and well.

I make it no secret that my favourite part of IDS is and always will be Studio North and Prototype. This is where you get to experience design that is less about trends and more about design thinking and process.


Prototyping a chair from Tony Round on Vimeo.

The other reason I love Studio North and Prototype is because it showcases Canadian design talent. Walking into boutique hotels, urban restos and condo model suites in this country one might think that the only options out there for interior designers are the unchallenged classics. The result – a predictable bore often referencing designers who are cold in the grave. Le Corbusier is long gone but his furniture and overpriced knockoffs are as ubiquitous as ghosts on Halloween. In a world still dominated by Mies and Eames it’s always refreshing to see interior designers and architects take a chance on artists and designers who are still alive and kicking.

When we get the opportunity to see interior designers incorporate more locally sourced art and design the results are far more interesting. One recent example of designers who did just that is the stunning Skwachàys Lodge in Vancouver.“Skwachàys (pronounced skwatch-eyes) Lodge and Residence at 31 West Pender Street in Vancouver houses a fair trade gallery, boutique hotel and an urban Aboriginal artist residence. 

Owned and operated by the Vancouver Native Housing Society (VNHS), the facility provides 24 shelter rate apartments for Aboriginal people at risk of homelessness, and two social enterprises that support the Society’s mission and financial sustainability.

The top three floors contain 18 boutique hotel units for socially responsible travelers and Aboriginal patients travelling to Vancouver from remote areas to receive medical treatment. The hotel units have recently been transformed with the assistance of a team of artists, designers, and suppliers.

Find out more…

In Toronto we have the Gladstone Hotel. Along with rooms designed by artists the Gladstone is also regular venue for local art and design with events like Come Up To My Room, part of Toronto Design Offsite.

“Internationally recognized as Canada’s favourite Boutique Art Hotel, the Gladstone uniquely blends historical Victorian architecture with contemporary luxury, downtown culture and whole lot of art, making it an iconic Toronto hub for locals and international travelers alike.

Supporting 37 artist designed hotel rooms,  over 70 art exhibitions a year, 4 diverse event venue spaces and 2 restaurants, all on a strong values-based mandate, the Gladstone strives to foster an authentic experience for its guests and the local community.”

Find out more…

My discoveries at Toronto’s Interior Design Show.

Each designer featured below was someone I encountered at IDS 2015 who approached their design thoughtfully, thinking about how to take good design and snap it into place – simply and beautifully.

TAT CHAO

I have featured Tat Chao a couple of times on Mixed Bag Mag and have been a fan since falling in love with his up-cycled candle holders at the One of Kind Show a few years back. This year he arrived at IDS ’15 with products that flat pack well and assemble in seconds – “no glue, no screws.”

DIÈSE or “hashtag” in English “is a flower vase made from four pieces of 3mm clear acrylic and a test tube. The way the pieces are assembled will result in different shapes. No glue, no screws are necessary. Just slide the slots into each other.”

(view opening image to see how DIÈSE is configured into a hashtag)

“Part of the “NO GLUE NO SCREWS” series, TRIÈDRE is made from three pieces of laser cut acrylic and simply assembled together by sliding the slots into each other. The result is an ultra-modern and scuptural object where the content (fruits, vegetables, bread, etc) are beautifully displayed.”

Follow Tat and see more of his work:
Website – www.tatchao.com
Twitter – @tatchao
Instagram – @tatchao

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CUT AND FOLD

Another brilliant flat packer project is the Origami Chair by Cut and Fold (Andrea Kordos & Tony Round). One of the DesignLines loves selections this chair moves like the wings of a butterfly to flap lightly into place.

“The Origami Chair is inspired by papercraft – the idea that folding simple shapes can create amazing forms. We’ve designed the chair to be simple and beautiful. The origami chair’s nest-like shape is generous and ergonomic, while the thin baltic birch shell keeps it efficient and minimal. The facets of the shell are connected with piano hinges – this give the chair some flex for added comfort. The thin shell sits on top of an elegantly folded steel frame. It’s available in different finishes including natural wood veneer, solid-colour laminates, and leather or cowhide.”


The Origami Chair from Tony Round on Vimeo.

Follow Cut and Fold and see more of their work:
Website – www.cut-fold.com
Twitter – @CutFold

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EUGENE PAUNIL
Eugene has been on Mixed Bag Mag before but as a visual artist which is how I first encountered his work at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibit many moons ago as well as more recently at Manifesto’s 2012 art show (see the eagle sculpture).

But Eugene’s first love is design and he attended OCAD U’s Industrial Design program. This year he brought “Light W8” to Prototype. An elegant idea, the light uses river rocks to displace the weight to adjust the height of the lamp. Designed for easy shipping the lamp comes apart and can be put back together will minimal effort.

Follow Eugene and see more of his work:
Website – www.eugenepaunil.com
Twitter – @eugenepaunil
Instagram – @paunilstudio

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GEOF RAMSAY
Geof, like Eugene and Tat, has also been on Mixed Bag Mag for a feature on IDS ’12. This year’s contribution to Prototype won him the award as well as DesignLines Magazine’s DesignLines loves badge. It’s when you are up close and personal with this chair, from the Euclid Collection, that you can see the stunning joinery and the hex motif reiterated.

“Inspired by the purity of geometric form, is a three part collection of products that fit together perfectly to create unique groupings and combinations. The forms of the hexagon, triangle and rhombus are repeated throughout the entirety of each piece, shaping the legs, profiles and joinery. The Euclid Collection is crafted from solid oak and is available in a natural or black satin finish.”

Follow Geof and see more of his work:

Website – www.geoframsay.com

Facebook – /geoframsaydesign
Twitter – @geoframsay

 

It’s a great time to consider Canadian and Indigenous designers and artists. There is more than enough talent here and it can feel good to invest your dollars in the business of someone you can actually speak with – whose blood is still warm in their veins. Knoll won’t shut down if a few Urbanites forego purchasing Saarinen’s design cliche of a table for their condo but as a buyer making that kind of decision may be enough to keep the next Ray Eames in business.


Cut and Fold at IDS15 from Tony Tound on Vimeo.

Above images of the Interior Design Show by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag. All other images provided by each designer.

TORONTO DESIGN OFFSITE FESTIVAL: Kicks Off Starting Now!

Two women standing in front of wall, sunglasses and dresses onTO DO’s Gelareh Saadatpajouh & Sanam Samanian with Canvas Bag by Jay Wall for Toronto Design Offsite Festival.

The Best of Independent Design in Toronto!

Fresh off the #MashUPStyle shoot with the women of Jack Your Body and inspired after weekend of the best from the Toronto Dance community at DanceWeekend’14 I was ready first thing this morning to capture some of the creative team behind Toronto Design Offsite Festival despite another cold snap.

The chill was chased away though by the warm personalities of TO DO’s Executive Director Sanam Samanian, R & D Director Gelareh Saadatpajouh and Communications Coordinator Michael R. Madjus all rocking their own personal style.

Each year I look forward to this event so I can discover little gems of design located around the festival route in Toronto’s core. This year I am excited to see the Wishbone Table by Alan Hindle of Stacklab and OCAD U’s 3rd edition of  Tables, Chairs and Other Unrelated Objects. Also over OCAD U at their Onsite Gallery is Terreform ONE (Open Network Ecology) and the show Biological Urbanism: An Opera of Disciplines from Architecture, Landscape, Urban Design, Biology, Engineering and Art. Running until February 22 Terreform ONE is a

“New York-based design group that promotes environmentally conscious urban planning. Its projects are an exciting mixture of architecture, landscape, urban design, biology, engineering and art and it is dedicated to finding innovative solutions for sustainability in energy, transportation, city infrastructure and waste management. The works featured in this exhibition at Onsite [at] OCAD U highlight Terreform ONE’s interest in incorporating living organisms in design, and advancing the notion of sustainability beyond a popularized mainstream rhetoric.”

And of course there is the Gladstone Hotel’s Come Up To My Room show  (#CUTMR) – one of the most celebrated mashup design-craft-art shows of the year in this city!

The official #TODO14 kick off party is Wednesday at SMASH – join the Facebook event page here but every day, starting today, there is something to see.

Get the:

FULL SCHEDULE

MAP

APP

For this MIXED BAG MAG edition of #MashUPStyle for #TODO14 Sanam, Michael and Gelareh showcased second hand finds from mothers’ closets, far-away and nearby vintage stores as well as some local designers like North Standard, jewellery designer Yasaman Pishvai (Void Jeweler) glasses by festival Sponsor iconic eye-wear designers Cutler and Gross.

Woman with cape on swinging around with back to viewer
Woman with skirt, cape and hat on standing against wall
Upclose shot of woman wearing sunglasses and hat
Woman holding hat in hand
Man standing in front of a wall laughing





All above images by Leah Snyder for Mixed Bag Mag.

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.

AND I QUOTE! Words of Wisdom from Toronto Design Week

Mark Surman speaking on stage with brick wall behind him

Azure Trade Talks, Creative Mornings Toronto and discussing 10 yrs of Come Up to My Room


“Be less ego driven and more people driven [with regards to the design community].”

Pamila Matharu, Artist & Arts Educator, Co-Curator for Gladstone Hotel’s Come Up To My Room Show

“Mainstream culture is remixed, not Hollywood, and it is remixed by design”
Mark Surman
, Executive Director of Mozilla Foundation

“The day I discovered Photoshop it was like AHHHHH!! Layers, colour, hue and saturation…Pop artists were just like Photoshop 30 years ahead of time. Warhol was cloning, Rauschenberg layering and Rosenquist dissolve.”
Douglas Coupland, Canadian Cultural Provocateur & MashUP Master

“I describe my design as a continual workshop.”
Jerszy Seymour,  Designer

“With the idea of modeling [ a neighbourhood’s look and feel in the battle against big developers] you can have impact but you have to declare it!”
Christina Zeidler
, Artist / Designer, Pres of Gladstone Hotel &  Co-Curator for Gladstone’s Come Up to My Room Show


“I am not designing a product but a piece of research”
Philippe Malouin, Designer

“I have a personal collection of patterns. Data protection patterns [the inside lining of envelopes] strategically divide private and public and buildings are like envelopes. I look at how the patterns negotiate issues of how we deal with data, how we deal with issues of privacy and issues of information control.”
Jurgen Mayer H
., Architect

“We need to stay an inclusive, nimble and  open [design] community.”
Zahra Ebrahim, Community Engager & Educator

“This city is changing dramatically. Condos are going up and [those people] are coming, participating and collaborating. That’s about to break [Toronto] open big time!”
Andrea Carson Barker, Curator, Writer & Ambassador for Canadian Art, Design and Architecture

Architect Jurgen Mayer H. speaking at podium with image of his architecture behind him. 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