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Design Week Highlights: Batch 4

A round-up of our favourite finds during Design Week

By Arta Ghanbari

It’s another jam-packed day of shows and exhibits at Design Week. Before heading to the Interior Design Show’s Opening Night Party yesterday, we got a chance to stop by the Gladstone Hotels’ 11th annual Come Up To My Room exhibit and showcase of local female designers at Capacity, then hit participating shops and galleries along Dundas West for Do Design. Favourites include the pretty little ceramics at Made’s Redesigned Medalta, UnitFive Design Inc.’s window installation at Comrags and Bookhou’s Bell Jar lamps.

We love the pop, colour-blocking version of Luca Nichetto’s coffee set for Mjölk. This is the first showing of the Stockholm-based Italian designer’s work, which was made specially for the Junction shop, and produced by local artisans here in Toronto. The coffee set consists of a porcelain coffee pot, three cups, pour-over dripper, and maple wood tray with walnut legs. Tagged by Elizabeth Pagliacolo.
Enter Room 208 at the Gladstone Hotel for local wallpaper champ Rollout’s “Analog Pixels.” The company made a bold statement at the 11th annual Come Up To My Room exhibit by breaking out of their typical 2-D square feet dimensions and diving into 3-D patterns by way of modular cubic-foot building blocks. Step right up and arrange the blocks (featuring Rob Ford’s face) to create your own patterns. Tagged by David Dick-Agnew.
This is no doubt the hairiest ceiling we’ve ever seen. Courtesy of Azero (A0) – the joint effort of digital media and graphic design studio ALSO Collective and interiors firm Mason Studio –, the Fall of the Walled Garden in Room 214 of Gladstone’s Come Up To My Room explores public and private experiences. The installation asks for people to enter the room and slow down their minds and bodies in this calm and cloudly space. Tagged by David Dick-Agnew.
Ceramic artists, illustrators and graphic designers from across Canada have come together for Redesigned Medalta, a collection of limited edition small plates for Made. We especially loved Aaron Nelson’s plates, which feature the cracked clay earth of Alberta. Once a giant ceramic manufacturer in Medicine Hat, Alberta, 60 years ago, Medalta has now transformed into a museum and ceramic artists’ studio facility, designing new contemporary products with the latest digital tools to produce analog ceramics. Tagged by Tory Healy.
Also at Made is the work of Laura McKibbon, a resident artist at Medalta. Her ceramic plates feature legible, positive messages of tags and graffiti she has come across in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Medalta’s home of Medicine Hat, Alberta. McKibbon transformed her photographs of the messages into decals and fired these onto her handcrafted dishware. Tagged by Tory Healy.
Handing out a Love Tag at Bookhou is a given. Husband-and-wife design team John Booth and Arounna Khounnoraj produce immaculate home accessories and furnishings – from silkscreened pillows to laser cut birch plywood alphabets and lighting – right in front of you, in their studio-slash-retail space on Dundas West. When it comes to his series of Bell Jar lamps, Booth “Starts with the bulb and see where design takes you.” His latest takes its cue from an Edison-style incandescent – Booth hand-turned silky oak to fit a ceramic filament and glass cloche (blown at Harbourfront Centre). He finished the piece with a hand-rubbed oil-wax emulsion and a twisted, fabric covered electrical cord. Tagged by Tory Healy.
While at the Gladstone, we toured the hotel suites at Come Up To My Room then walked over to the fourth annual Capacity exhibit to see the works of local female designers. Margaret Pryde’s “Conjunction Function” is made up of a nest of plywood boxes with exposed edges that are snug together, but can also be moved around. We love the simplicity and elegance of the composition. Tagged by David Dick-Agnew.
Local lighting, furniture and sculpture makers UnitFive Design Inc took their assigned venue to heart. When visiting the Dundas West boutique Comrags, studying the shapes of the garments, retro prints, clothing racks and how the light fell through the storefront window, an idea clicked. The result: floor-to-ceiling, hand-forged steel figures whose hourglass forms and sinuous, reinforced construction recall dressmaker mannequins circa the 1970’s. Tagged by Tory Healy.

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