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There’s Lots to Learn at the 2021 DesignTO Festival

DesignTO’s all-things-design festival in Toronto is back. Things are a little different this year but the schedule is still packed with a tonne of opportunity to learn something new and expand your horizons

By Tory Healy

Since 2011, January has been Designlines’ favourite month. Thanks to DesignTO, of course. Without Toronto’s annual festival of design, January would be just be cold. Instead there’s a schedule packed with events, talks and exhibitions taking place across the city. In the past, we attended nearly all of them, handing out our coveted Designlines Loves tags to the most worthy shows, interiors and objects as we went.

Obviously, things are different this year. For one, the majority of DesignTO’s events and exhibits are being held virtually. As a benefit for DesignTO Members, DesignTO talks will be recorded and made available on its website in the Members Library. And for two, we’re awarding our favourites with digital Loves tags. This batch of Loves tags (also see where to Connect and the Sights to See), goes to the following events because, in these isolating times, they provide opportunities to expand our horizons. Sign up to get learning:

Courtesy of DesignTO.

Micro/Macro

Saturday, January 22 to Sunday, January 31

Third-year OCAD U Industrial Design students explore the intricacies of designing for health in a pandemic, delving into the mental and physical needs of a socially-distanced world. The exhibition features self-directed term projects and the participating students will host an online panel discussion to expand upon their process on January 23 from 4 to 5pm. See the exhibit and sign up for the presentation here.

Learn at DesignTO 2021
Courtesy of DesignTO.

Beyond the Surface: The Behaviour of Digital Ceramics

Saturday, January 22 to Sunday, January 31

Here’s one for those intrigued by digital design and robotic manufacturing; ceramics, too. Haptek Lab will share how it programs craft and materiality into tooling to teach robots about the behaviour of clay, allowing for more tactility in ceramic tiles. Learn more by joining the talk taking place online on January 30 from 1 to 2pm. Sign up here.

Courtesy of DesignTO.

DesignTO Symposium: Towards Inclusive Design

Wednesday, January 27 and Thursday, January 28

Nine multi-disciplinary designers come together to answer these pressing questions: “How do we design for inclusion? What is the future of Inclusive Design?” Join, over the course of two speaking sessions, the quest to uncover how design can help the greatest number of people, as well as how it can instil in everyone a sense of belonging. Sign up for the symposium sessions here.

Learn at DesignTO 2021
Courtesy of DesignTO.

Design + Fabrication Shop Tours at Eventscape – Virtual Presentations

Wednesday, January 27 and Thursday, January 28

Full disclosure: one of the perks of my job is the peek behind scenes. No matter how loud or dusty, I’m happy to traipse through a workshop, studio, or heck, a plant. Eventscape – which works with some of the city’s biggest architectural players – opens its doors and allows visitors to virtually explore its wood, metal, glass, solid surface and textile fabrication spaces, as well as meet its main players. Sign up for a tour here.

Learn at DesignTO 2021
Courtesy of DesignTO.

Window Installation & DesignTO Talks: Anony & Rainville Sangaré

Talk Friday, January 29

If you’re in the east end and out for your daily walk, consider stopping by the window displays at EQ3. From January 22 to the 31st it’s there that you will see the latest by local lighting studio Anony and Montreal architectural and industrial design firm Rainville Sangaré. Want to learn more about each studio’s process? Sign up for a moderated panel discussion on January 29 from 5 to 6pm.


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