Every year, just when I think I’ve done all the planning I can do to maximize my Design Week experience and not miss a thing, I find out I was totally wrong. There’s the Interior Design Show and it’s antipodal Toronto Offsite Design Festival, plus all the splinter-cell and alt events on at galleries and spaces across this city. Add in this year’s Junction Design Week, a full week ahead of Design Week; think of it was a Junction Design Crawl that lasts a whole week (rad), which gently takes you by the hand and leads you into the craziness that’s to come (way rad).
Come Up To My Room enters the double digits this year. Now in it’s 10th installment the annual event takes over the Gladstone Hotel as part of Toronto Design Offsite Festival, an alternative to Toronto Design Week. This year is shaping up to be a big one. With 25 artists and 50 installations CUTMR breaks out onto the exterior of the hotel for the first time.
Toronto Design Week isn’t until the end of January (21st-27th) but it’s the event of the year for this city’s design community and this year is proving to be a big one. Toronto Design Offsite Festival, a bunch of alternative events that take place in tandem with TDW, has already had its Warm-Up party at the Gladstone Hotel. So if you haven’t fired up your calendar and started marking the days this is your personal invitation to do so.
Since Toronto Design Offsite already got things warmed up for us let’s start with what will be a must-see in their programming.
Toronto design bloggers tend to, like most folks in the province of Ontario, know one another. Sure it’s one thing to know your peers but this city is the epicenter of all six degrees activity. Point being it should be easy to suss out blogs to follow that are Toronto-centric, or by Toronto writers. If you’re slow on the curve or just never thought to look before here are some excellent blogs to follow and be inspired by.
Toronto is a city of neighbourhoods and it’s also very much a city of districts: Fashion, Distillery, Textile, Design, Entertainment, Financial, Discvovery, Garden, and Theatre. But when it comes to design there might be multiples. The Junction is full-fledged design district with more than just shops and galleries along Dundas W, it always has a high density of artists living in it. Countless store fronts that have been converted into living and studio space. Peeking out above frosted or curtained windows you can catch a glimpse of what goes on inside. But walk a little East and you’ll find another budding design district.
I was introduced to Industrial and Furniture Designer Evan Bare of 608 Design through Nathan Buhler (read his Q & A with Lossless Toronto). Nathan and Evan are working on a relatively top secret urban landscape installation that they might choose to share with us soon, but it was Evan’s chairs, with echoes of midcentury simplicity and names like The Annex Chair, that absorbed me. I recently had the chance to ask Evan about his work, his process and his passion for function, beauty, sustainability and accessibility.
This past Friday, the second annual Junction Design Crawl took place. While the official tour included Russet & Empire/Phillipa C. Photography, SMASH, ARTiculations, Opticianado, Mjölk, Narwhal and the Telephone Booth Gallery, many other unique businesses in the area kept their doors open until 11PM as well.
Nathan Buhler is a Toronto-based designer with a lot of enthusiasm for architecture, customization, the collaborative process, and championing the work of others. Buhler blogs (at bldgworkshop. ca) about his projects, his process, and the works of architects and theirs firms here at home in Toronto as well as across Canada. I recently asked Buhler about his work, his fervors, and how Toronto fits into it all.
Who are you?
My name is Nathan and my company is BLDG Workshop…
Bookhou sits along a stretch of Dundas West where in 2008 (when it opened) it might not have fit into the neighbourhood. Today, though, the storefront for artisans Arounna Khounnoraj and John Booth’s endeavors has a community around it. Nearby are Hashtag Gallery and Made Design to keep it company. Beyond the community around it, Bookhou also has a family supporting it. Whether it’s their children, Lliam and Piper, at play zizgagging around the sewing machines or grandpa in the back helping to fold textiles and cut leather, home and work are one in this welcoming shop.
There are shops and boutiques all over Toronto, from Corktown to Yorkville and back, showcasing the very best in Toronto and Canadian designs. But then there are those who choose to sell their wares exclusively online. Today, Lossless brings you the very best in Toronto shops running online and making it in the Cottage Industry 2.0 game.
Having studied at the Beckenham School of Arts (which closed in 1962 and subsequently was burned down by vandals in 1978), Leslie “Les” Usherwood (1932 – 1983) had mastered the arts of both hand-painted signs and letter setting before coming to Canada from England. In his short life, he would go on to be Canada’s most well known, if not our most prolific, type designer.