February 6th, 2009

The last time I went to the Interior Design Show (IDS), I was in my late teens and with my father. We showed up on industry day and seeing as we weren’t industry, my father grabbed a couple of student badges from an unattended table and we waltzed right in (well, he waltzed, I winced). So I had an idea as to what IDS was all about, and pleased that I was able to enter unencumbered.

Last night was the opening party, aMUSE, and the general vibe was relaxed and as energetic as a massive convention centre space can muster. At first we assumed we’d last only about 2 hours, so we were surprised to find that we were among the last people standing at 11pm, especially considering we survived off of cotton candy, a mini-cupcake (yum!), a cappuccino, one oyster (Juli) and somehow, 5 dairy-free chocolate chips (surprisingly good!). Of course, there was extensive catering by Scavolini that included made-to-order pasta and crêpes, but we were on a mission to report back to you all that was new and interesting in design, so we didn’t have time for waiting in lines.


Stars, oh my!


One of several DJ/hang out areas

For the most part, IDS consists of commercial businesses that specialize in all those slightly boring necessities that you buy when renovating or building a house–windows, kitchens, flooring, fireplaces, flooring, espresso machines, etc. Of course, we don’t have much to say on that kind of stuff at this time, as we are far more interested in young industrial designers–which we didn’t even come across until the second half of our wandering through the hall (watch for John’s post tomorrow).


Ontario College of Art & Design


University of Alberta


Sheridan College


Humber College (winner of the “what were they thinking” display award)


Prototype: Design Ideas for the Home (pictured: Zoë Mowat)

One of two big showpieces was the Crystalclear exhibit that lined the centre of the hall. Six Canadian design firms–Brothers Dressler, full scale + partners, Jacques Bilodeau, Munge Leung, Giannone Associates Architects and Powell & Bonnell–constructed installments created out of zillions of Swarovski crystals. Is it just me or is it that every big event has to have something Swarovski crystallized? No matter, it created a dramatic, glittery centrepoint for the show–though the gorgeous Audi directly behind this exhibit threatened to steal their attention (that’s what sponsors ultimately do, right?) with their glamorous staged backdrop designed by Toronto-based 3rd Uncle design inc (I wish I took a picture of this but at the time it didn’t seem necessary to photograph a car).


full scale + partners, Yvonne Ho and Jenny Lee
Reminiscent of crystal encrusted caverns,
each stalactite offers up a surprise of its own.


Powell & Bonnell, David Powell and Fenwick Bonnell


Brothers Dressler, Jason and Lars Dressler (John’s Favorite)
Hanging from the ceiling, a chandelier-like object leads the eye down
to what appears to be a deconstructed version of the same thing,
tumbling to the ground.


Jacques Bilodeau
Using stainless steel, black aluminum rings and Swarovski crystals,
this entry evokes movement and energy.


Giannone Petricone Associates Architects, Ralph Giannone and Pina Petricone


Munge Leung
This was the most fantastical of the bunch,
with little jolts of surprise amongst the tree branches.



Childhood or adulthood?

The other talked about zone was the 5×5 Concept Space, where five designers create a living space “that reflects their own personal notion of good design, free of client demands or budget restrictions.” Maybe it was just that we were tired or that these spaces were a bit overcrowded, but I thought that this area was meant to be inspiring–for me, I find reading magazines that showcase other peoples homes inspiring (current favorite is Livingetc) so the level of extravagance and at times, absurdity, didn’t translate effectively. I get that the designers had the opportunity to be off-the-wall and excessive, but I didn’t walk away with as much as I would have liked, which is disappointing considering the chosen talent. Then again, after reviewing all these photos, I AM starting to see more interesting elements than I initially thought. So here are some of the things that stood out to me:

James Dale, Joel Loblaw, Kennedy McRae, Lorne Hancock
Earth inc.
Landcape Design Team


Earth Inc actually made a lovely garden space
that married the interior and exterior seamlessly.


We like the use of recycled crates to create an intimate and relaxing space.

Clayton Budd and Callum Maclachlan
64th and Queen
Interior Designers and Production Designers


This was the most clubby of all the spaces.
You walk into a small room that has a DJ,
a foosball table and a giant screen tv
which made the atmosphere upscale rec roomy.
We liked this rope light fixture.


The other space has a bar and lounge.
I wanted a pic of the lounge area but it was packed.

Brian Richer and Kei Ng
Industrial designers


We liked Castor’s effort only because it turned everything on its head.
They did the exact opposite as everyone else,
eschewing glamor and opulence for indie trailer park trash.


Who needs a DJ when you’ve got it live, with coolers and lawn chairs to boot.


Complete with that trailer smell. AND a full glass of beer
(we’re pretty sure it’s illegal having open alcohol in any vehicle,
regardless of if it’s running or not).



Porno mags, vintage television, reclaimed wood floor.


Alas, evidence of Castor’s work (the lamp and hot rolled steel wall).


Fur upholstered seating, perfect for lounging.
Brings new meaning to shaggin’ wagon.

Melandro Quilatan and Tania Richardson
Tomas Pearce Interior Design Consulting Inc.
Interior Designers (ARIDO)


Although I am not a car person, per se,
I appreciated the idea behind having
a glass wall that allows one to showcase
their luxury vehicle like a piece of art.


Much like the vehicle, putting your designer clothing behind glass
also offers a wayof showcasing important pieces,
so that you can enjoy them even when
you are not wearing them. I guess the point is, they are showing
luxury goods as the art pieces many consider them to be.

Dee Dee Taylor Hannah
Taylor Hannah Architect Inc.
Architect and Designer


Sorry, but at this point I was feeling overwhelmed
so I stopped taking photos.This 3D wall detailing
created some graphic impact that was interesting.

By the time we hit the Finnish design area, John was calling the blog a blizzog and I was almost lulled to sleep in the most amazing rocking chair (more on this in an upcoming post). We met an energetic Finn with an innovative gadget (magisso) which we will feature in an upcoming post, then we were off to buy some pillows from Swedish company Hästens. By the time we were done, the lights were up, the kitchen was closed at Harbord Room (I thought they were open until 2am with at least one menu item) and we were on our way home to eat a couple of grilled cheeses and decompress with some Colbert Report. All in all, we had a really enjoyable night, saw some interesting design and met some friendly and enthusiastic designers (our favourite kind!).

So please check back over the next few days to get more tidbits on student design, young prototype designers, and other things that we liked or disliked from IDS 09.


IDS 09: Interior Design Show
February 5-8
Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto

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