Skip to Main Content
Advertisement

Artist Dennis Lin Makes Waves

Advertisement

For some, an opportunity to design for Umbra would be the chance of a lifetime. But Dennis Lin knew that at heart he was an artist. He created a stunning piece for the company – the Cru wine rack is still a top-seller – but he just isn’t interested in mass production.

Lin’s vision and attention to detail got him noticed straight out of OCAD, first for his wall tiles featuring large-scale Braille characters, which were exhibited at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. Then came commissions from renowned interior-design firms Yabu Pushelberg and Burdifilek, which requested his sinuous wooden sculptures for high-end, corporate clients like Lane Crawford in Beijing and W Hotel in Atlanta. His international career took off.

While making a name for himself abroad, Dennis Lin continued to develop his visual language here at home. In 2009, he opened a short-lived gallery in Parkdale and exhibited a powerful body of work. First, there was “Hurts So Good,” a wall relief embedded with more than 2,000 knives, created with his partner, Jaclyn Quaresma. Up close it looked violent, but from a distance the blades were merely an intricate blur of criss-crossing shadows. Then there was “No. 1-60”: 60 slabs cut from a felled tree were hung in a row on industrial hooks, rather like meat in a butcher’s locker.

Through his work, including his contributions to the Gladstone Hotel’s annual Come Up To My Room exhibit, Lin draws attention to the idiosyncrasies of the materials he uses – each has a story to tell, its past etched into its very fibre. Now, with a number of installations in the works for various local clients, it’s clear Lin’s gift for harnessing the power of raw materials is striking a chord in Toronto. “When I started, I was constantly manipulating the material, doing everything I could to put my signature on it,” Lin says. “But now, I feel I’m capable of saying more with less.”

DENNISLINSTUDIOS.COM

Photo caption: One of Lin’s latest commissions is this giant wall piece – made of walnut veneer, copper and aluminum – for the office of HudBay, a mineral company.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Get a closer look at what you can expect to find in the 2024 New Builds Issue of Designlines Magazine

In the 2024 Spring/Summer Issue of Designlines, we focus on New Builds and “celebrate the profound impact of creating something new, not just as an architectural endeavour but as a testament to laying down roots and shaping the very essence of our city’s identity,” editor-in-chief Joseph Cicerone writes.

Advertisement

Newsletter

Your Weekly Dose of Modern Design

Sign up for the Designlines weekly newsletter to keep up with the latest design news, trends and inspiring projects from across Toronto. Join our community and never miss a beat!

Please fill out your email address.

The Magazine

Get the Latest Issue

From a sprawling family home in Oakville to a coastal-inspired retreat north of the city, we present spaces created by architects and interior designers that redefine the contemporary.

Designlines 2024 Issue