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Virtually Connect at DesignTO’s Festival 2021

Lockdown can be lonely. Safely connect with fellow design lovers by signing up for virtual parties, panel discussions and talks during DesignTO’s Toronto design festival

By Tory Healy

Since 2011, January has been Designlines’ favourite month. Weird, right? It’s all thanks to DesignTO, of course. Without Toronto’s annual festival of design, January would just be cold. Instead what we have is a schedule packed with hot events, talks and exhibitions taking place across the city. We hit up pretty much 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 favourite of these with digital Loves tags.

This batch of Loves tags goes to the events listed below because, in these isolating times, they bring lovers of design, from all walks, together onto one platform, where ideas can be expressed, questions answered, and fun had, in real time. Sign up and connect now:

Connect at DesignTO 2021
Courtesy of DesignTO.

DesignTO Launch Party

Friday January 22

Log in and loosen up. The festival launch party has always been a not-to-miss event; the place to rub shoulders with designers and just shake off the 9-5 in style. This year you can do all that, free and from the comfort of your own home. Mix and mingle with the other guests while taking in the tunes from such top Toronto DJs as DJ Fly Lady Di and DJ Sigourney Beaver, and artist Maylee Todd. Sign up here.

Courtesy of DesignTO.


Saturday, January 23

We’ve always enjoyed this event, put on by Umbra, because it showcases the ingenuity of emerging Canadian designers as they propose fresh home product designs that not only suit cramped condo quarters but work-life balance. Sign up here and view firsthand as this year’s eight designers pitch their products and lend a hand in deciding which are viable by casting your vote for a favourite.

Connect at DesignTO 2021
Courtesy of DesignTO.

Danish Desire

Saturday, January 23

Sign up here and tune in as a panel of experts, from here and abroad, discuss one of our favourite topics: Danish design. How is it that product design from Denmark can ignite such a feverish response and following? And what role does technology play in the conceptualizing and manufacturing of such great product? Find out from the pros, including Kelly Buffey, co-principal of Toronto architecture firm AKB.

Women That Make, Create and Innovate 2021

Thursday, January 28

Daily Goods Design LABS (DGDL) hosts this virtual event featuring women that are changing the landscape of design by intersecting it with fashion, science and technology. DGDL Founder Renn Scott will present female-focused trends and insights followed by talks with Adriana Ieraci, Kem-Laurin Lubin and Veda Adnani – these designers and engineers will then present their work. Sign up here.

Connect at DesignTO 2021
Courtesy of DesignTO.

BIPOC Portfolio Collaboration

Friday, January 29

Gensler Toronto – a division of the global design and architecture firm – has partnered with BAIDA (Black Architects and Interior Designers Association) and BEAT (Building Equality in Architecture Toronto), to host a virtual BIPOC portfolio collaboration. Students can sign up for a collaborative review of their resumes and portfolios to assist them with the next steps in their careers in architecture, interior design, landscape architecture or architectural technology.


Looking for more? See Where to Learn and the Sights to See at DesignTO.

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