Tag Archives: IDS

At the Design Show with Greg – IDS12

Greg Laciak is Greentea Design’s lead designer.  When Greg’s not helping clients plan their dream kitchen he’s often in the showroom giving it that quintessential Greentea vibe.  With an unmatched eye for what’s beautiful and how it all fits together, The Design Tree is delighted to have Greg as a guest contributor.  This month Greg takes us to the Interior Design Show in Toronto with a run through of his top finds at this year’s show!

IDS12 Interior Design Show

More than 300 retailers, studios, manufacturers and exhibitors took part in this year’s Interior Design Show here in Toronto.  It was a great show and here’s my round-up of those objects, ideas, and designs that I found fascinating.

The “How Do We Live” Exhibit

An interesting mix of concepts were on display here as designer spaces were showcased within the confines of shipping containers.

"How Do We Live" exhibitwww.caseydesignplan.com

The creative collaboration between Casey Design Planning Group and Design Works Studio was astounding. The collaborators envisioned a design portal that directs us inwards on a sensual journey of exploration and discovery, revealing the vast transformative powers of our imagination.  And I did feel like I was transported into another world, one replete with fantasy peacock walls, stunning marble floors and whimsical art arrangements no less!  It was mesmerizing in it’s beauty, concept and unique oddness.

Studio North

In Studio North, the exhibit that focuses on up and coming star ateliers and design makers, I was most intrigued by the wall coverings by Mushaboom Design.  Their latest line, the Victoria Collection, takes its inspiration from the Halifax Public Gardens.  Mushaboom Design endeavors to create colourful designs and patterns inspired by the world around us, incorporating these elements into wall coverings and textiles that blend seamlessly into a wide range of interiors.  Newly honed technologies such as digital printing have dismantled the old paradigm of mass production and enabled mass customization.

Wall coverings by Mushaboom Designwww.mushaboomdesign.com

I was particularly drawn to the hazy yet colorfully vivid coverings that seemed to reference a bygone era.  Others that I liked had a sense of balance you feel when you surround yourself in nature.  Best of all I could see these wall coverings working remarkably well in both traditional and modern settings.

Also in the section was Ridgely Studio Works, who specialize in contemporary handmade lighting, sculpture and furniture using a wide variety of materials. Under the direction of Zac Ridgely they push the boundaries of form by creating lighting that refuses to blend into its scenery.

Lighting by Ridgely Studio Workswww.ridgelystudioworks.com

I loved the otherworldly “halo” with the metal stick or twigs suspended below, this would look beautiful hanging over a worn and beaten up dining table.

IDS Main Show

Back in the main area of the show I kept finding myself drawn to the stone tile booth and the incredible tiles from Mutina.

These stunning ceramic tiles maintain the raw aspects of traditional earth floors or handmade cement, allowing the material to convey the beauty of its natural characteristics. The special composition of minerals truly creates a material that has both visual depth and a sensuous matte finish.

Tiles by Mutinawww.stone-tile.com

It was hard to believe that these were ceramic tiles! Many had a very old world mosaic quality to them, while others were truly modern. Available in natural and monochrome base colours, the small honeycomb pattern would make a stunning backsplash.


My last pick is from the Student Prototype exhibit and it’s Denis Limitovski’s Amsel Console Table.

The designer was inspired by the ideas of unique perspectives and negative spaces, and this piece of furniture does indeed have a very different look from every angle.

Amsel Console Table

I loved the playfulness of the structure and also how the metal frame was imbedded into the wooden top – I could see this being used as an entry table or perhaps behind a sofa.

Did you make it out to IDS12 this year?  What were your thoughts?

IDS 12 and TO DO Festival

Dear fellow Torontonians did you go to the Interior Design Show this past weekend?  If you didn’t make it, don’t fret, Greg Laciak’s best of IDS 12 will be on the blog later this week with his  thoughts on what’s new, exciting and on trend in interior design this year.

There are still plenty of exhibitions to take in during the Toronto Design Offsite Festival (TO DO), if you’re kicking around the city and feel like immersing yourself in some amazing design and culture.  Here are our top picks, but be sure to take a look at TO DO’s full listing of events:

WORKshop Toronto
Runs to February 12, 2012
Admission: Free!

Suzhou Stitches ExhibitionSuzhou Stitches Exhibition Opening Night PartyPieces from Suzhou via WORKshop

The Toronto experimental design centre and gallery, WORKshop, is hosting STITCHES: Suzhou Fast Forward, featuring seven pieces of hand-crafted Suzhou embroidery from China as well as six contemporary works by invited architects, artists, and designers.

The seven hand-crafted embroidery pieces are from the Zhou XueQing Embroidery Art Center in Guangdong, China. These painstakingly stitched works made from  fine silk thread picture flowers, birds and landscapes and continue Suzhou’s 2000-year history of embroidering illusionistic scenes. Using this tradition as a springboard for the future of embroidery, WORKshop invited architects, artists, and designers to create original works. Beauty and ingenuity  is on proud display in these six contemporary works that employ new technologies, processes, and materials.

Stephen Burks: Man Made Toronto
Design Exchange

Runs to April 1, 2012
Admission: Pay What you Can
Stephen Burks: "Mad Made"

Stephen Burks: Man Made Toronto, is a unique project that features industrial designer Stephen Burks’ ongoing exploration of the global economy of artisanal craft. Burks encourages us to reconsider the worth – aesthetically and conceptually – of the handmade object.  He has worked with Senegalese basket weavers based in New York and Dakar, as well as projects with artisans in South Africa, Peru and India, and is considered a design activist for his work connecting these artisans with global distribution and marketing.  In so doing, he brings social and economic stability to these artisans and their remote communities, while introducing different aesthetics to contemporary design.

Losing Parkdale Exhibit at the Ontario Crafts Council Gallery

Losing Parkdale
Ontario Crafts Council Gallery
Runs to February 26, 2012

Parkdale is a neighbourhood full of artists and as this exhibit showcases, amazing woodworking talent.  But woodworkers, artists and artisans are being displaced as condo developers have moved in and taken over usable studio space.

Curated by Joel Robson, with work by Scott Eckertt, John Jackson, Dennis Lin and Joe Yanuziello, this exhibition focuses on the craftspeople that have made their living in this part of Toronto and celebrates the joining of material and mind – with the poignancy of upheaval and resettlement.

Spectral Landscape
Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA)
Runs February 4- April 1, 2012

Admission: Pay What You Can

Explosions by Sarah Anne Johnson

“Explosions” by Sarah Anne Johnson, via MOCCA

Bubble by Sarah Anne Johnson “Bubble” by Sarah Anne Johnson via MOCCA

Organized by MOCCA and the National Gallery of Canada, Spectral Landscape gives the expression “loosing yourself in the wilderness” a whole new meaning.   With works by Peter Doig, Sarah Anne Johnson, and Tim Gardner, these artists present striking landscapes that examine our relationship with the natural world.  From sublime to hallucinatory, these landscapes mix autobiography with illusion, the banal with the extraordinary.

Well that’s our round-up!  Let us know what you thought of this year’s IDS and if you made it to any of the offsite exhibitions!

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Best of IDS11

Greg Laciak is the Lead Designer for Greentea Design.  With an unmatched eye for what’s beautiful and how it all fits together, The Design Tree is honoured to have Greg as a guest contributor with his “Best Of IDS11”.  Thanks Greg!

The Interior Design Show is Canada’s largest contemporary design fair.  And this year didn’t disappoint:  designs and exhibits were in turn beautiful, witty, socially conscious and unique.  Whether you were looking to renovate or simply in need of the warmth of inspiration on a winter’s day, IDS11 had the world under one roof.

Here’s what is on trend: the celebration of craftsperson as artist, designs that embody a global-cultural voice, the return to organic materials, and culinary drama.

Created By Artisans

We’re seeing a wonderful trend toward collecting unique one-of-a-kind artisanal pieces in furniture, accessory, art; even wallpaper. It’s all about pieces with a story to tell; things made to bear the mark of their maker, that echo people and places both local and far away.

Floyd Elzinger, artist and sculptor displayed this remarkable tree as part of the Studio North exhibit, a showcase of ateliers and design-makers from across Canada.  Elzinger’s work strives to give dimensionality to his ideas.

Also in Studio North, Heidi Earnshaw Design.  Earnshaw uses a mix of materials to create furniture rich in texture and colour, her hand visible in her work for a product that is unique but timeless.

From unique curios to iconic feature pieces, Snob’s booth offered a bit of everything all with a global voice.  Sourcing furniture, lighting, and curios from 13 African countries, Denise’s picks are imbued with the spirit and culture of their makers.

Metropolis Living, owned by siblings Phil Freire and Maggie Gattesco, breathe new life into industrial relics showcasing the artifact’s history as well as their innovative design sense.

Natural Beauty

Exciting to see a return to natural elements.  While it’s hardly new to use reclaimed wood, some talented designers are using it in bold ways.

The rawness of this furniture by North on Sixty pays reverence to nature, while interesting lines play with proportion to give rustic a modern edge.

Urban Tree Salvage prides itself on its “treeincarnation”.  Their take on the reclaimed wood table lets the natural flaws and rough edges inform the final product. Very wabi-sabi!

These tree trunks are converted into side tables with the addition of glass on top. Also by Urban Tree Salvage.

Culinary Drama

No home design show would be worth its weight if you weren’t given some glimpses of stunning kitchens.  Here are a few of jaw-droppers:

Bulthaup Kitchens are known internationally for their sleek cabinetry.  The Poetic Analysis series, however, rethinks cabinetry for kitchens, creating a space that’s open and mobile.

Biggest shock:  IKEA.  Bravo to this big box store who displayed a decidedly up-market kitchen.  The black finish was balanced with the whimsy of the delicate canopy of pink lanterns above.  The total look was like an original take on farmhouse design – warm and inviting, but chic in the way farmhouses typically aren’t.

IKEA kitchen with the charming lantern canopy

Meanwhile over at Miele, minimalist is the name of the game, bringing continental sensibility across the ocean.  The appliances are barely perceptible blended in with cabinetry.

Jenn-Air is making appliances in bronze now.  Talk about marrying form and function, set against the white cabinet backdrop, this oven is almost sculptural.

Honourable Mention

Alfred Sung Outdoor, called Blackwatch (available at the Bay) was also a nice surprise.  The tartan pattern is a clever addition of fashion to your run-of-mill patio furniture offerings.

People and Places – TIDF


The Brothers Dressler – twin woodworkers, Jason and Lars Dressler are the talk of the town this week.  The talented Toronto-based duo has work featured in two satellite exhibits during the Toronto International Design Festival (the Come Up To My Room retrospective and the Northern Lights exhibit at Atelier 688). And at the IDS11 itself their work is featured in two of the IDS’ Feature Exhibits: Sibling Revelry and Studio North.

The Sibling Revelry exhibit asks 4 teams of siblings to create unique 600 square foot concept spaces.  Speaking with the CBC’s Matt Galloway about the show earlier this week, the Dresslers talked about producing a building made from 2x4s and windows found around Toronto.  This structure will also  house their furniture creations.  Indeed repurposing and upcycling salvaged materials is at the core of their design mandate. Dedicated to producing socially conscious and responsible furniture and objects they want to challenge definitions of waste and value. To this end, Brothers Dressler embrace the constraints and challenges working with found materials pose, allowing these to focus a project’s potential.

"Creatures" constructed of found wood, scrap material, and salvaged hardware

They will be introducing their Cut Ups series as part of the IDS11’s Limited Edition/Studio North exhibit. In this series they transform waste material – the off cuts from their studio- into a range of products from furniture, lighting and household objects to toys and jewellery.

Brothers Dressler creations are always beautiful, their respect for the natural world shining brightly through.  I have long been enamoured by their pieces, how they are infused with  such character.


If you’re overwhelmed by the number of offsite events this week, consider sticking to Toronto’s west-end where a hub of energy and talent is on display all within a few block radius.  The blocks between Grace and Bathurst Streets on Dundas St W will be transformed into a gallery, during Do Design coordinated by the Trinity Bellwoods BIA.  This is an emerging gallery district in Toronto, also one that boasts some wonderful recently opened cafes and eateries.  From the 27th to the 30th, the two merge with storefronts – even a lumber yard – bedecked in designers’ creative wares.  Enjoy a wonderful meal at The Black Hoof, while also taking in the work of industrial designer Katherine Morley, or wander down the street with a cup of jo from Ella’s Uncle who’s featuring work by Lubo Brezina (walking by his shop, I am always stopped in awe).  Full listing of participating businesses is available on the Trinity Bellwoods BIA site.

Katherine Morley ceramics from the How to Eat Meat series. Image via Do West

In addition to this initiative, there are some wonderful exhibitions happening in these blocks including Capacity and MADE at Home.

Toronto Design Offsite has created a helpful app to those of you carrying iPhones.  Check out their site for the download and stay in the know!

Periphere's Iceberg Table on display at Dialogue 38. Image via Moco Loco

Snob – A Toronto Boutique Profile

These masterpieces, the Snob Egyptian Lighting series, are handmade in Egypt so each one is slightly different from the next. Made of silver-plated copper.

If you’re attending IDS11, you don’t want to miss Snob’s booth (#1910).

Denise Zidel is the proprietor of Snob Boutique in Toronto’s east end.  Denise picks each of the handcrafted designs Snob showcases with the hand and eye of a curator.  The result is a space rich, inviting, and chock full of character.  As you travel through Snob you get a sense that each item has a story to tell, crafted by artisans from a number of African countries.

These seamless hand felted rock pillows by Ronel Jordaan from South Africa are made of 100% felt wool. Available in a range of colours and sizes; outdoor versions available too.

Denise seeks out – and Snob embodies – the soul of sustainism, the latest buzz word gaining momentum in the design world. With innovative design concepts that are sensitive to nature, created following ethically and environmentally aware principles, the end result are artistic pieces that help us feel connected to the planet and each other.

This feather headdress from Cameroon is constructed of bird feathers. Stunning on a wall or above the fireplace.

Many of Snob’s pieces, like the headdress and swirl mirror pictured, blend colour, natural forms and textures with a strong cultural voice; they play with scale and proportion to create ‘furniture as art and art as furniture’.

This Swirl Mirror is hand carved and constructed of solid African mahogany. Also available in silver, gold and lacquer.

You can visit Snob at IDS11 at booth #1910 Saturday January 29th and Sunday the 30th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Snob is located at 202F-388 Carlaw Ave, Toronto

All images courtesy snobstuff.com

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