The DNA of this blog is composed of art, culture and design and it continues to be. Toronto is the hotbed of this trinity this week with the Interior Design Show and the Toronto Design Offsite Festival with various venues and points of focus. Designers, artists and their disciples will flock to Toronto’s cultural centre with installations and events all over Dundas West, Queen West, the Junction and other neighbourhoods.
Design and art aficionados will find their fix starting tonight with the launch party at Smash in the Junction starting at 8 p.m. Dear reader: if you are up for it, there’s a free (!) Letterpress Card-making Workshop at Graven Feather (906 Queen Street West) starting at 6 p.m.
The Junction will be the place to visit tonight with the above mentioned TODO Launch Party at Smash. My favourite art supplies shop, ARTiculations (2928 Dundas St West), will host an opening reception for the exhibit Accumulation by Christine Kim starting at 6 p.m. It’s all about investigating and experimenting with lines, light and shadow. Toronto’s beloved design shop Mjölk will host to Stockholm-based Italian industrial designer Luca Nichetto. If you’re a coffee fiend like I am, you might find a new toy that would enable your brewing vice with a new collection of accessories inspired by Italian coffee culture. The reception starts at 7 p.m.
Come Up To My Room at the Gladstone Hotel starts tomorrow, Thursday, January 23. Installations by A0 (ALSO Collective + Mason Studio) and EYES ON DESIGN are my top picks to see.
To finish the week off, Interior Design Show (IDS) will be open to the public this weekend at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The two talks I will be attending are on Saturday, January 25. The first one with Sami Ruotsalainen of Marimekko and Andrew Sardone from the Globe and Mail at 12 p.m. The second is with Rafael de Cardenas from New York-based firm Architecture at Large in conversation with the Globe and Mail’s Style Editor Amy Verner at 4 p.m.
So, how’s your design week looking? Just grab some water, cash, your iPhone and you’re good to go.
Lamps by Moooi Amsterdam
Chest of drawers by Tajo Remy
When I think of Dutch culture, I think of art and design.
On my last visit to the Netherlands, I had the chance to go beyond Amsterdam and to see the lovely little cities surrounding the capital. What unites the seven cities and towns I visited is the function that the architecture and design that is inherent in everyday living. Everything makes sense.
The porcelains of Delft, the houseboats on the canals and giant bay windows are indicative of the pursuit of purpose without sacrificing aesthetics. And why not? The stereotypical coldness associated with the geography is broken when you step back to realize the romance of the whole picture.
For those who are on Pinterest, Urban Peanut: A Gallery has a board! Come and check it out here.
Dress by Thakoon, from gorunway.cm
Design by Nuno Grande and Pedro Gadanho, Portugal
Confusing Pantone for a baked good is a mistake that can easily be forgiven, if not by your waistline. Indulging in colour is a paralyzing fear that can easily be overcome with effort and patience. After all, not everyone is going to look good in 2012’s Pantone of the year: 17-1463 Tangerine Tango.
Orange coaxes feelings of happy mornings and as well as a ride through Spain in late summer when the orange trees are in bloom from Valencia to Madrid. It’s a particular colour — only the bold dare to wear an orange angora sweater or invest in an orange Lamborghini. It is a difficult hue but leave it to the experienced to teach us mere mortals a lesson. Is it the new red?
Around this time of the year, a design-hungry hog would be salivating about the thought of going to Salone internazionale del mobile where designers, manufacturers and consumers congregate to see what is in store in the very near future. The thought of being in the same room as the jewels of some of our time’s brilliant minds could induce short bursts of euphoria akin to Beatle-mania, if only those hyperventilating were full-grown adults, with refined tastes that are only be appeased by limited edition Eames chairs made from recycled bamboo chopsticks. I must confess I took the liberty in inventing this particular collector’s piece.
Not even an unpronounceable Icelandic volcano could keep the design-obsessed away. Last year, patrons and enthusiasts risked being grounded in Europe just to behold innovative products in design. What heaven does one live in where being stuck in Europe is the worst thing that could happen? Sign me up. Please.
Spotted by Michael Sharkey
Personal space is a big concern for most people, especially among those of us who have access to some and want more of it. It’s a privilege that we often take for granted. We sometimes can’t even be bothered to clean up after ourselves (hint: that space under your bed is not pizza delivery box storage, mon ami) and sometimes such collegial habits do not end.
Imagine whatever space you have right now, no matter the size, is taken away from you. How would you feel? Unfortunately for a lot, everything happens so quickly there is no time to think about one’s feelings like after earthquakes, landslides or tsunamis. The adrenaline is just enough for you and your family out of harm’s way, if that.
My passion for design is not fleeting nor frivolous; I really believe that design can help affect change in the way we see the world, the way we communicate and also the way we relate to each other by keeping form and function synchronized.
Creativity and vision can help affect change. There is an organization called Containers to Clinics which definitely has changed the way overseas medical work is conducted and delivered. In the last year, after a couple of logistics courses, I learned that the metal containers in which goods are shipped are usually discarded/abandoned at delivery points after they have served their purpose. These containers required handiwork, time and energy to be made. Is it ethical to have these giant pieces of ‘garbage’ lying around? No.
The abandoned containers are repurposed and redesigned to serve as clinics which take up less raw materials, less time to build and less capital investment than their conventional brick and mortar counterparts. Please have a look at the C2C website to see how you can help. See design do good..
Just in time for the Toronto Open Doors event this weekend, Mies Van Der Rohe’s contribution to the city’s architecture and landscape should be pointed out. His design for the TD Centre in the financial district goes beyond the obvious external structure of majestic edifice.
Complimentary to the simplicity and clarity Van Der Rohe’s’ work on the exterior, and much to the delight of graphic designers and typography geeks all around, signage used in the TD Centre’s concourse has the font that the German-born American architect designed. The signage consists of white backlit letters encased in black aluminum panels and was mandatory for all the businesses until 2007.
The TD Centre is one architectural gem that Toronto has and I bet that there will not be three-hour lineups for it, like the Don Jail. It is a public space for everyone to enjoy all-year round. No reservations necessary.
For now, please enjoy the documentary above. Parts 2-7 are up on YouTube for your perusal.