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Best of Design Week, Pt 2: Elegant Woodwork and Trippy Textiles

Our favourites from WantedDesign’s Outside the Box series and more

We are awarding 100 of the best products, installations and artworks we spot throughout Toronto Design Week with our Designlines Loves tags, specially designed by Sali Tabacchi.

Below is the second batch of designs that caught our attention. Keep track of everything we’ve tagged in our master list and check back as we spotlight more of our great finds in the days ahead


1 Seattle Outside the Box
WantedDesign‘s Outside the Box series invited designers from eight cities across Canada and the United States to package a box with original work that exemplifies the creative spirit of their design community. Inspired by the theme “Breaking the ice” and eager to show the variety of styles and materials that Seattle studios utilize, this group of makers collaborated on a conversation-stimulating table setting. Shown here: leather pot holders by Ladies and Gentlemen, a terra cotta bowl by Grain, brass coasters by fruitsuper, maple serving tray by urbancase, and quirky cutlery from Brian Beck Studio.
Tagged by Tory Healy on Jan 19 at Design Within Reach, 435 King St W


2 New York Outside the Box
Typical of space-starved New Yorkers: a display that makes the most of the size constraints of a cardboard banker box. Designs like bottle openers by Fort Standard, Tipsy tabletop objects by Bower and candleholders by Avandi are presented inside of three stacked volumes designed by Brooklyn architect Hui Bui. The wooden frames, which fit together to perfectly match the dimensions of the box they were shipped in, present the collection cohesively and inventively.
Tagged by Eric Mutrie on Jan 19 at Design Within Reach, 435 King St W


3 Softline from Denmark Debuts at Urban Mode
Suitable for both contract and residential environments, Softline‘s upholstered seating, with its lush colour palette and detailed tailoring, is a welcome addition to Toronto. Shown here, Eden’s spacious seat and backrest – inspired by race car bucket seats – gently hugs the sitter. With its funky splayed wooden legs, it’s a new take on a classic reading chair.
Tagged by Tory Healy on Jan 19 at Urban Mode, 145 Tecumseth St


4 Macro Weave
Made of acrylic and yarn, Toronto textile artist Sofia Escobar‘s hybrid installation fills the south-facing window of Urban Mode. It is both as mystical and ethereal as a dreamcatcher, as it filters light inside while appearing to float, and impressively architectural, the taut strings forming tubular red, white and black masses.
Tagged by Tory Healy on Jan 19 at Urban Mode, 145 Tecumseth St


5 Wrap Yourself in Code
One of the breakout talents profiled in our This Creative City feature, techno-craft maven Libs Elliott uses computer code to generate her wild patterns. Here, one of her quilts is shown alongside a retro Singer sewing machine and a graphic window print inspired by the trippy geometry of her textiles. Another, vibrantly-coloured quilt hangs next to the door.
Tagged by Eric Mutrie on Jan 19 at Cutler and Gross, 758 Queen St W


6 Bellwoods Forest
Furniture designer Mischa Couvrette (who also happens to be our spring issue cover boy) unveils a shorter version of his signature wood-and-metal Bellwoods clothes rack, specially designed for the Osh Kosh crowd. The storybook forest-like installation of stands on display in the window of this modern baby and kids’ furniture boutique: pretty darn cute.
Tagged by Eric Mutrie on Jan 19 at Ella + Elliot, 188 Strachan Avenue


7 Villa Villa
Our visit with Villa Villa – a new design studio comprised of furniture designer Vanessa Jackson and artist Tony Romano – was a real treat. Each object is sophisticated and fun, the colour palettes and mixed media are fresh. I loved the light fixtures made from mismatched vintage ceramics, the loopy, powder-coated steel coat rack with removable shoe mat, the Dali-esque potholder with support branch, and the tinted glass-topped dining table with a complicated base made up of simple geometric shapes. The collection is strong – I tagged the whole thing.
Tagged by Tory Healy on Jan 19 at 944 Queen St W (formerly Clint Roenisch Gallery)


8 Loveseat
The way Tim Steadman’s inviting seat balances handcrafted tradition and modern influences reminds us of the recently-launched Fogo Island Furniture collection. We love the intriguing curve of the seat, and the clean cutouts that accommodate the angled legs-turned backrests.
Tagged by Eric Mutrie on Jan 19 at 1/16, Craft Ontario, 990 Queen St W


9 Lounge Chair
Sheridan’s furniture program nails it again with this show of student work. Glancing around Craft Ontario’s gallery, one is so taken in by the contemporary works that it could be easy to overlook the strong but silent types. Once I found it, I could not stop staring at this chair by Jake Whillans. Possibly Scandinavian inspired, it is a sculptural dream with slim lines and elegant proportions. Circling the chair, it delights at every angle, with subtle reveals running from arm to backrest and interesting grain patterns. Gorgeous.
Tagged by Tory Healy on Jan 19 at 1/16, Craft Ontario, 990 Queen St W


10 In-Context Video Series Premiere
Having both studied as architects and worked in journalism, Andrea Lacalamita and Raja Moussaoui created In-Context to study the social impact of contemporary Canadian architecture. The resulting doc is a great look at how buildings and parks can reshape communities, examining a great mix of locales (projects profiled range from Surrey’s Central Library to a school in the Northwest Territories). Throughout Design Week, chapters of the feature doc will play in the windows of various businesses along Dundas West as part of Do Design. Three parts of the series can also be watched online.
Tagged by Eric Mutrie on Jan 19 at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, 506 Bloor St W

Categories: Toronto Design Week

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