Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Designer February

"softlighting" by Molo Design

its what we all need and want in this possibly gloomy month as pancake day turns into valentines day turns into a new long weekend (for Ontario, its how the current government won the election) we need a little glamour. What is more Glamorous than. Thou swell, thou witty and oh so pretty …

“come up to my room” at the Gladstone Hotel 1214 Queen Street West and the IDS08 (Toronto “Interior Design Show 2008” ) at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, both are taking place February 21 thru 24. As an extra special bonus this year the Toronto based Canadian Design retailer MADE is presenting Radiant Dark an exhibition of emerging designers February 20 thru 27 at the Burroughs Building 639 Queen Street West. This is your change to look with wonder at products and design concepts come to life. It can be a gruelling weekend so do some home work before you go. For those of us interested in textiles and Canadian design think of this blog posting as your Coles Notes or a leg up.

and now for a commercial


Now that you have watch a little IDS promo lets get down to brass tacks.

There three areas of interest for those looking for possible textile exploration. Studio North; which presents a collection of unique limited and custom collections of furniture, lighting, glass, metalwork, textiles, and ceramics made by talented artisans and designer-makers for you to experience. It's an intimate marketplace to meet designers and commission personal furnishings. This year like last you can see the work of East Coast hand weavers Armstrong and Fox from Nova Scotia featuring SoftSpaces Interior Design Fabrics.


Woven by Armstrong Fox Textiles out of a very unusual imported yarn made of nylon and linen paper; you have to touch “Twig”. Tiny pieces of linen paper in this fabric make a wonderful visual and tactile texture. Semi-transparent and sculptural, “Twig” is offered in yarn-dyed or hand-dyed fabric with motifs. The sample shown here is made with hand-dyed colours in wave band.

The product samples presented at the IDS include draperies, textile panels, and co-ordinated pillows that are suitable for lobbies, office interiors, restaurants, and homes. They are hand woven by Armstrong and Fox or are fine cotton imported from Europe which are then hand dyed by them. The colour scheme is subtle and textures light with a silken hand.

David Kaye Gallery will be in Studio North for the second year in a row. The DK Gallery opened on April 5, 2006 and exhibits contemporary objects, jewellery, textile and fibre work along with paintings created by emerging, mid-career and established artists. Among his textile and fibre roster are established names like Dorothy Caldwell, Kai Chan, Susan Warner Keene and Barbara Klunder as well as emerging artist such as Norah Deacon and jeweller come embroider Suzanne Carlsen

Monarch Garden by Jonathan Nodrick, latex-based inkjet wall coverings

Moving quickly along out of Studio North area but making a quick stop at ROLLOUT WALLPAPERS for a look before heading out in search of a “soft” place to sit and Molo Designs from Vancouver ( and now Milan) will be showing their line of “soft” products. Some of which “softseating” has been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York for their permanent collection. This line is a collection of adaptable honey combed layers of brown craft paper or polyethylene fire non-woven textile that expands. In block form depending on height it is a seat, table, bar or wall and when having a graceful curve is a ottoman or circular bench or lounge depending on circumference.

Now that you have experienced soft furnishings (you can read more about Molo Design in the next issue of fibreQUARTERLY Volume 4 Issue 1 Winter 2008) get yourself over to the schools.

Like the “One of Kind Show” the IDS producers put in an effort to ensure the young designer students about to graduate from schools across the country have a chance to both showcase their work, the schools they come from and to experience this trade show atmosphere. this year the school participating are: George Brown College, Institute Without Boundaries School of Design at George Brown College( listen to this sites intro while reading the rest of this blog), Sheridan College, University of Alberta, Department of Art and Design, Humber College, OCAD, and Ryerson University - The School of Interior Design.

There will be many hard surfaces on display, upholstery isn’t necessarily apart of much of the design coming of these schools and if it is present it is doubtful that it is a upholstery grade textile design and woven by a student from these schools they just don’t have the types of looms necessary to this type of weaving (only four schools do and none are present this year) or sadder still the textile won’t even be from a Canadian Mill (there are so few operating anymore). Hopefully there will be printed textiles from both Sheridan and OCAD. Just a few weeks ago I happened upon a selection of new work from Sheridan in the Textile Museum of Canada and some of it really did intrigue and inspire me. It was a contemporary re-interpretation of a classic bucolic French Toile de Jouy with puffed ink. It was a riot, good for a pillow perhaps, a bit unmanageable as a drape, but may not.

This not all the places you will be able to see textiles and fibre work at the IDS08. Source UK will be back again this year with their artist design wool and silk rugs, designed by named artist such as Doug Guildford and Susan Fothergill along with other members of Toronto’s Open Studio (print making studio and gallery) and hand woven in Nepal. This company was founded by Kate Thornley- Hall to bring the concept of bespoke and custom carpet design and manufacture to the Canadian Market place which can be designer name savvy (as long as the designer isn’t Canadian)

One other booth I would like to mention and it like Molo Designs is part of the “ 10 Innovative Canadian Designers” ( see the IDS is trying to change peoples ideas about Canadian Design) is Patty Johnson and the NorthSouth Project “ a new model of viable design and craft collaborations in the developing world” should be of interest to many. I hope this advance knowledge and look at some of the design and designers appearing at this year’s IDS will get you through the doors. You should be aware that a number of the designers at the IDS are also participating in one or both of the other shows mentioned at the beginning of this blog. “Come up to my Room” is happening at the Gladstone the same weekend as the IDS and Radiant Dark opens on February 20 a few days before.

get out and get some good design on.


Links to Schools

George Brown College http://www.georgebrown.ca/

Institute Without Boundaries http://www.worldhouse.ca/

Sheridan College http://www1.sheridaninstitute.ca/programs/more/pcrds/index.cfm

University of Alberta, Department of Art and Design http://www.ualberta.ca/

Humber College http://www.humber.ca/

OCAD http://www.ocad.ca/PageFactory.aspx?siteID=20

Ryerson University - The School of Interior Design http://www.ryerson.ca/interior/

the New Black 2007 year end exhibition http://www.yearendshow.com/yes_07/home_07.html

Ryerson University – the school of Architecture http://www.ryerson.ca/arch/

To read about last years IDS07 check out the aroundtown archive for February 07


All images are copyrighted and used by permission, they have been provided by the IDS or by the designer

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