Why You Should Care About The Toronto International Design Festival

For the second year the Interior Design Show has produced the Toronto International Design Festival.  This year the quality and abundance of local talent, ideas, art and intention on display is staggering. If you’re in Toronto this week, it’s worth braving the cold.  A few of The Design Tree’s picks on what to see and do are below.

Conversations in Design: Crowdsourcing creativity and community
Where: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St, W
When: January 27, 2011, 9-5pm
Admission: Full day $250 + HST; $150 + HST for students.

Ten great minds come together for IDS’ second annual full-day design symposium to discuss the effects “crowdsourcing” has on creativity in the design community and as a tool for social change. Understood as tapping talent from the crowd, the impressive panel is moderated by Helen Walters, and includes writer and artist Douglas Coupland (have you read his NYT op-ed dictionary of a near future?), David Benjamin – the force behind The Living (see Amphibious Architecture!), Bruce Mau Design’s Hunter Tura among others.  For more information, hop on over to www.conversationsindesign.com.

While Conversations in Design is an IDS event, across the city there are a great number of independent exhibits and shows that feature a tonne of home-grown talent.  Connecting with Parimal Gosai, a founding member of Pubic Displays of Affection,  a group that uses design as a tool to shape, build and improve society, he is excited about the emergence of Toronto as a hub – and community- of  design. Not only is the Toronto scene developing a unique identity and boasting a healthy diversity, Parimal sees a community truly in blossom: “There is a very supportive comradery between the designers and the different exhibitions happening this week. It will make Toronto design week feel like a week of sharing wonderful thoughts and ideas with friends.”  But perhaps most exciting is his view that the Toronto scene is thinking big, evolving beyond design as a “unilateral, money-making practise available only to the elite. We, as PDA are welcoming change, diversity, truth and love in design as way to move forward and exist in the current socio-economical, political and environmental climate while remaining true to who we are.”

When: January 26 – February 6, 2011
Where: The fabulous Bookue Boutique, 798 Dundas St W
Admission: Free

Curators Katherine Morley and Erin McCutcheon ask 10 Canadian women designers to examine the word ‘capacity’ in their work.  Bringing together top industrial, graphic, textile, and product designers this exhibit features a range of media -from sculpture to furniture- tied together by this common thread.  The show promises to be fascinating in its own right, but bravo to Morley and McCutcheon for featuring the oft neglected POV of women designers. www.capacitytoronto.com

Come Up To My Room
When: January 28-30, 2011
Where: Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St W.
Admission: $10

In its 8th year, the Gladstone Hotel’s annual alternative design event invites more than 30 local artists and designers to show us what goes on inside their heads.  Always one of Toronto’s most exciting shows – conceptual, dynamic and inspiring in its marriage of art and design- this year’s show is curated by Jeremy Vandermeij and Deborah Wang and features works in 11 rooms and 14 installations in the hotel’s public spaces.  www.comeuptomyroom.com

Imaginando Lotta

Where: School of Design at George Brown College, 230 Richmond St E
When: January 28 2011, 4-8pm
Admission: Free

This year students of the Institute without Boundaries focuses on the future for Lota, a small mining community in Chile devastated by the recent earthquake in February 2010. Working together with local industry professionals and remotely with members of the community, this small interdisciplinary group of students is developing a revitalization plan and a vision for the future of Lota. The solutions they propose will address the physical damage as well as the economic, social and emotional impact of recent events. This exhibition highlights  this project that brings together an unusual academic design program with a vibrant community in Chile that was once a centre for culture and the arts.


Neighbourhood Maverick
Where: Harbourfront York Quay Centre, 235 Queens Quay West
When: January 29 – June 12, 2011
Admission: Free Public Opening Reception January 28th, 6-10pm

In Toronto – as elsewhere – neighbourhoods are defined by the houses within their boundaries. Cork Town is known for its turn of century workers’ townhouses; Leaside, its post war bungalows. But neighbourhoods evolve along with its city.  This exhibition explores the juxtaposition of modern homes within these neighbourhods, asking how and to what extent the  existing streetscape be maintained?

Lots to see and do this week.  We’re all very excited.  Just don’t forget your hat and mitts.

2 Responses to Why You Should Care About The Toronto International Design Festival

  1. Pat Millar says:

    Who knew we are surrounded by examples of creativity!

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