Design Week 2011: IDS, A Fresh Look at Canadian Design
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Design Week 2011: IDS, A Fresh Look at Canadian Design

This year, the Interior Design Show asked influential Canadian designers and architects “to work with materials in new contexts and to look at iconic pieces with a fresh perspective.” A classic Vitra Panton chair was given to each of the invited leading design firms to reinterpret, and subsequently to be auctioned off for charity. The designs ranged from the upside-down swing chair from Johnson Chou to the fur-covered version produced by Steve and Chris, and the whimsical one with the a poem laser-cut out from Katherine Newman Design (all from Toronto). They were quite a draw last night: ten minutes after the show opened, bids had jumped several hundred dollars.

These industry leaders were not the only ones successfully upholding modern Canadian design. In fact, some of the more enterprising and interesting pieces are from the lesser-known participants, especially those in the Studio North and Prototype: Design Ideas for the Home exhibits. They weren’t as busy as the rest of the exhibition hall (perhaps because they were unfortunately difficult to locate), but they are definitely the highlights of the show.
Studio North is a mini-gallery for up-and-coming Canadian designers to show their work to a much wider audience—and sometimes the subjects were just as Canadian. Manor12‘s porch-inspired designs were all about the Muskoka life, for instance. Other highlights include the clear, yellow, and green hanging glass bauble curtain by Gregor Herman (Toronto), a hanging light fixture that looks like an upside-down new tree growth by Tsunami Glassworks (Windsor), and the cheerily anamorphic tables and dressers by Alain Belanger (Montreal). The Prototype: Design Ideas for the Home exhibit houses industrial and furniture designs by independents which are not currently in production; the most interesting of the bunch is the sleek wood and concrete cabinet by Jean Willoughby (Toronto).
IDS 2011 continues through Sunday January 30 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Photos by Michael Chrisman/Torontoist.