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Work/Life Balance, Celebrities and a Giant Piñata: Toronto Design Week 2018

Nubo Light by Svima

Plot your route, hit the sidewalks and fill up on fabulous local and international talent during Toronto’s Design Week, January 15 to 21

By Sara Cunningham

Pictured: Nubo Light by Svima, showing at the Anti Vice Juicery, 853 College St, Jan 15 – 21.

One hundred and sixty-eight hours
of encounters in the howling cold. Oh, and a few parties thrown in for good measure. Welcome to Design Week 2018. For design lovers, it’s the most wonderful time of year, with over 100 exhibitions to see, stretching from the waterfront to midtown. The best part: all you need to do is bundle up and be there.

Crowd at Toronto Design Week 2018

The Interior Design Show (IDS), an annual bonanza hosting 300-plus established manufacturers, invites you to stroll the aisles and discover the latest in furniture and home accessories. With the theme “Future Forward,” IDS celebrates its 20th year, and offers a chance to rub shoulders with a roster of celebrity speakers at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, including designer and part-time DJ Karim Rashid, and Jay Osgerby of London’s Barber & Osgerby – the studio that created the perforated Olympic torch for the London games. Despite this sea of bigwigs, IDS continues to promote the up-and-coming at the Studio North & Prototype pavilion, a vital platform for emerging superstars.

Toronto Design Offsite Festival
, Canada’s largest urban fête of culture and imagination, drops a mélange of independent design into such unexpected venues as lobbies and industrial-sites-turned-social-hubs, redrawing the city’s creative map in vibrant, multi-coloured ink.

Tiny Travelling Theatre Installation

See you at the Harbourfront Centre, where the festival’s international guest of honour, Aberrant Architecture, shows its community-based designs in a group exhibition called “In Place.” Don’t miss their Tiny Travelling Theatre (pictured above), a mobile auditorium decorated with jutting chimneys, or their cartoonish, performance-blasting megaphone.

Laptop computer on a desk

Next, upend the 9-to-5 at TO DO’s Designing the Future of Work symposium at George Brown College. According to keynote speaker Joost Schouten, partner at Energized.org in Amsterdam, Holacracy – an organizational model without upper management – vastly improves office efficiency. Unconvinced? Then visit Sean Hazell’s “Museum of Contemporary Work” at Artscape Youngplace to see retro office artifacts, like retirement gifts and punch cards, alongside universal basic income cheques from the year 2021.

Six-metre-tall, deer-shaped papier maché piñata by Gensler Architects TOronto Design Offsite Festival 2018

After hours, head to Geary Avenue, once an industrial strip, to meet Shaun Moore (curator of Canadian wares at Made Design), rug weavers Watson Soule, and master of ceramic whimsy Janet Macpherson. Finally, trek to Yonge and St. Clair, the festival’s newest take-over, to bash a six-metre-tall, deer-shaped papier maché piñata – an apropos ending to a week of striking design.

Get the full schedule at todesignoffsite.com and see our roundup of sure-fire events here

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