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.

RETROACTIVE: A Look Back at Christopher Solar at the Interior Design Show, Toronto

Dark wood, square framed rocker with green cushioning

Sourcing out the newest work by Canadian Designers at IDS’s Studio North.

My introduction to Christopher Solar was at IDS 2012. Not surprisingly his Plantation Redux chair was tagged by a DESIGN LINE’s Love Tag because how could you not want to lie back and snuggle up close to this one!

Each year it seems the Christopher doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to stunning us with what is just good old craftsmanship and quality!

2013 it was his Tilde chairs, one with the edgy twist (or weave) of seatbelt-like webbing, the other with classic Danish cord.

“This low-back dining chair features crisp lines and subtle curves in the back and the hand-woven seat. The chair has been meticulously designed for comfort and solidly-constructed from carefully selected hardwoods. Many different combinations of frame materials and webbing colours are available.”

This year Christopher is unveiling the Number 7 Lounge and Rocker for #IDS14.

Come see them in the “flesh” Thursday night, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at this year’s Interior Design Show in the Studio North sectionThe Best in Canadian Design!

Square framed seat with light wood and gray cushioning
Light wood dining room chairs
Dark wood lounge chair and foot stool with light coloured cording
Above images provided by Christopher Solar.

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 www.publicdisplaysofaffection.ca)

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.