Tag Archives: designers

Victor Klassen

The Victor Klassen Divan: Smooth lines and saucy curves make this a very inviting piece.

This stunningly creative collection was born 25 years ago in Mexico and has recently made its debut in North America. The artist’s influences – especially Gaudi – are very prevalent in all his work. Nature and the human form are revered and used abundantly to great effect.

Trapped in Wood Series doors, Male and Female (available separately)

These whimsical doors have graced hotels, spas and galleries and have drawn many reactions from surprised onlookers.

Tree Coat Racks

The popular Tree Coat Rack is available in 3 sizes.

The tedious coatrack is given new life.

The Touching Mirror

The popular “Touching Mirror” uses Klassen’s famed cutting, bending and forming techniques. A “Concave Door” is seen in the background.

A beautiful custom room divider/shelf unit

Custom projects like this display shelf are a large part of his repertoire, as clients are encouraged to let their imaginations be their guide.

Victor Klassen has also launched an exciting new feature in which you choose a piece, send  a photo of a room in your home, and they will render that piece into your specified location. Now that’s truly “shopping at home”. Try it out when viewing any product on their website!

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Spotlight on Minä Perhonen

It’s Fashion Friday!

Minä Perhonen Tokyo Store

Last week, thanks to Seesaw Designs, I was introduced to the Japanese design label Minä Perhonen. Since then I’ve become obsessed with these beautiful clothes, textiles, accessories and even home furnishings. The Minä Perhonen label’s aesthetic is a blending of Japanese and Scandinavian design, two of my favourite design styles. Here are just a few of the beautiful things I found at their website and around the web.

a/w 2010/11 catalogue via jollygoo

t.t. garret


Minä Perhonen was created by designer Akira Minagawa and originated in Tokyo in 1995. Since then they have presented collections all over the world, becoming a highly sought after fashion label. Layering, quirky prints and soft hues are their signature design elements.

Paradis Bag at kuukukka

hairpin at couverture and the garb


The Minä Perhonen label has also designed a line of handbags and accessories that showcase their textiles and high-craft style perfectly. Their egg-shaped bags are beautiful and the leather and fabric hairpin above is equally stunning, and probably the only item in their line in my price range.


This label has even teamed up with Danish furniture designer Fritz Hansen to create a line of chairs upholstered in their amazing fabrics. Gorgeous print and modern design are married perfectly in the two chairs pictured above.

sunny rain a/w 2002

celebrate a/w 2011


Speaking of fabrics, the Minä Perhonen website has images of all their original textiles that feature loose, colourful, hand drawn and embroidered prints featuring Japanese and Scandinavian motifs. Textile design is one of those arts that is often overlooked, but there are so many artists and designers creating beautiful work in this medium. I’d love to see beautiful textile design like this get the attention it deserves.

Now I’m wishing my weekend included a trip to Tokyo so I could see all these lovely designs in person.  Hope your weekend is full of fun and beauty. See you on Monday!

All images from http://www.mina-perhonen.jp/ unless otherwise noted.

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Designers with the Capacity to Inspire

Capacity runs through February 6, 2011 at Bookhou in Toronto.
Location: 798 Dundas St W @ Palmerston
Gallery Hours : 11-5
Public Reception: January 29, 2011, 5-9pm
Admission: free

Featuring new work by: Maiwenn Castellan, Joy Charbonneau, Michelle Ivankovic, Arounna Khounnoraj, Eric McCutcheon, Katherine Morley, Nathalie Nahas, Ayla Newhouse, Ange-line Tetrault,  Kirsten White

Joy Charbonneau's "Hydrological Map of Canada" depicting the interconnected nature of Canada's water supply

I attended the preview of  Capacity at Bookhou. The exhibition, running till February 6, 2011, features new work by 10 top Toronto-based designers, some established, some emerging, all exceptionally talented.

Curators Erin McCutcheon and Katherine Morley asked participating designers to create pieces that reflected how ‘Capacity’ related to their work.  The aim is to profile a diverse group of women designers in a multidisciplinary exhibition.  The designs showcased range from textiles to furniture, sculpture to print.  So, that the exhibition is seamlessly cohesive, that the works on display are accessible, intimate and focused, is no small feat.  The collection taken as a whole is beautiful, each designer’s work crafted with integrity and a strong narrative. Indeed it highlights the great care taken by both curators and designers to create an exhibition that is sure to direct the conversation about the quality of work being produced by local women talent.

Katherine Morely's porcelain "Hanna Eggcup", one of many mediums this designer showcases in this exhibition

The Concept

“What is your capacity to understand? To withstand? To produce? To learn? To love? Is your cup half full or is it half empty? Is infinity possible? How much of who you are is what you collect?”

These questions are addressed thoughtfully in the works on display.  And how the sentiment is addressed is strong in each piece – sometimes irreverently, sometimes philosophically, sometimes full of hope.  Here are a few works that grabbed me.

Maiwenn Castellan's "LIAM Mailbox"

Maiwenn Castellan’s “LIAM” Mailboxes examines capacity in terms of potential space.  The mailbox, a clearly defined box also holds the world’s possibility – from this box comes announcements of new life and new love.  LIAM urges us to make room for that little thrill each day.

Erin McCutcheon's "Lodestar"

Erin McCutcheon’s Lodestar examines the human capacity to survive.  She displays two beautiful mobiles, one made up of ceramic airplanes, the other a series of signal mirrors to attract them when stranded in isolation (each engraved with quotes by Ernest Shackleton) and asks what contributes to our ability to live – even evolve – through the harshest of conditions.

Arounna Khounnoraj "Detachment Series"

Arounna Khounnoraj’s Detachment Series are brooches of naturally dyed fabrics on a felt background, constructed like tiny quilts – grown from the inside out, blossoming to find their shape or capacity.  Though small in size, they also seem to define the space around them.

The Curators

Katherine and Erin have produced an exhibit that represents a range of design practices and talent homegrown in our city.  The show is not about the politics of equality, but a celebration of great design and unique points of view.  The truth is that women designers are simply under-represented in the Canadian landscape as elsewhere. But this exhibition should inform, challenge and direct future dialogue about how this field should be defined.

Thank you Capacity for a show that does no less than make you think and feel.

Not in Toronto, but would like more information on the work of these designers?  Please check out their bios and sites through Capacity’s.

Nathalie Nahas' "Alphabits and Pieces", letters you'll note arranged in song

All images courtesy Capacity

Dream Weaver: Kenneth Cobonpue

“Fly me away to the bright side of the moon
And meet me on the other side
Ooh dream weaver
I believe you can get me through the night”
– lyrics from “Dream Weaver” by Gary Wright

A Cobonpue-designed sofa

I would like a night spent exploring furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue’s subconscious.

I am amazed at how he conceives his pieces. Where do they come from? What extremely fecund corner of his whimsical mind? If I could get in there, perhaps I could watch in fascination as objects floating around in his vault of experience–cooking implements, bread, Jedi masters–take on the spark of inspiration and set in motion the mystical process by which he transforms the mundane into magic.

Pendant light

The Noodle Lamp

Would there be gears and hinged forks twirling and twisting some noodles to make a lamp? Or would there be a whispery poof as an empty soda can becomes a couch? And, oh, this dreamer begets more dreamers through his work, for he does make wonderful couches and beds that seem to envelop slumberers in a “cozy cocoon”, perfect for taking flights of fancy.

Canopied bed

Ima Bed

A take on the four-poster bed

Hagia Day Bed

An encapsulated loveseat

The Lolah Capsule

Voyage Crib

Le Petit Voyage Crib

But… Awesome as the prospect of exploring Cobonpue’s mind Inception-style may seem, I best let his creative process alone, hidden in its mysteries, and just enjoy looking at the results.

Visit Kenneth Cobonpue’s website.


Dreamcatcher Stool

Fringe backed sofa

Yoda Sofa

A unique petaled chair

Bloom Chair

March 16, 2011 – Addendum: Check out Kenneth Cobonpue’s Voyage bed, prominently featured in Maroon 5′s music video for their song Never Gonna Leave this Bed.

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