It was during another round of the polar vortex that I made my way to Toronto for Trade Day at the Interior Design Show. This is Canada’s premier interior design exhibition and is host to the best of Canadian design and also features speakers from around the world. I always find new products and features that inspire ideas for projects I’m working. Here are a few of my favourite finds.
Miele sponsored the Professional Trade Day, which I always atted. I sat in on a talk Markus Miele and Reinhard Zinkann, the great-grandsons of the original founders. The company started making wooden butter churns in the early 1900’s and then branched into wooden washing machines. They haven’t stopped innovating and are now one of the largest and maybe the largest family run businesses in the world with 17,000 employees worldwide. Their products are expensive but the quality and attention to detail make them a good value. What stuck me most in their talk was their commitment to sustainability. As a family run company they make business decisions based on the next generation, not on the quarterly stock price – a very refreshing and uplifting perspective. Miele and Zinkann credit the advent of the open concept kitchen for a major design shift in their products. The look and function of appliances are now a feature in the modern home where the kitchen is the central hub.
Induction cooking is huge in Europe and slowly catching on here for the energy saving and safety features it has. This method of cooking uses an electromagnetic field that only heats the pot itself. Little heat is wasted, unlike other types of cook tops.
Hansgrohe had a large display of plumbing fixtures. Like Miele, Hansgrohe has always impressed me with the strides they have made in sustainability. CO2 reduction and water efficiency in their manufacturing process are top of mind. They also integrate their own water saving features into some faucet lines.
AirPower and EcoRight are two of the innovations Hansgrohe has come up with. AirPower sucks air into the shower head and mixes it with the water to save water without sacrificing the feel you would get from more water. EcoRight takes a similar approach to the hand washing side of their products. Hansgrohe products sell well because of their quality and cutting edge styling.
My favourite part of the show is usually Studio North were smaller designers show there wares. This year did not disappoint. I met Ottawa-based Christopher Solar, a tech-worker turned furniture maker who specializes in made to order pieces with beautifully executed exposed mortise & tenon joinery. It was a real treat to sit in one of the chairs.
Storyboard Furniture was another designer with an interesting pieces in Studio North. They salvage homeowner’s trees that are lost in storms or to disease and turn them into tables. The tables are usually crafted with custom steel legs or braces for an industrial look. Their philosophy is to create something memorable from the loss of a tree.
Farrow & Ball Paints introduced me to their painted wallpapers. Each roll of paper is painted and then block printed with paint. As the print block is lifted it leaves a slightly raised edge of paint to give a nice texture to the overall design. Personally I wouldn’t wallpaper a whole room but it would look great as an accent wall.
CaesarStone had a impressive booth to show off the fact their quartz products can be used for more things than just kitchen counter tops. We love quartz materials and our clients do too. The product comes in a huge range of colours and patterns, it’s easy to maintain and has a long lifespan. Some of the quartz slabs contain up to 40% recycled quartz which adds to the sustainability of the product. Silestone and Cambria were two other quartz makers who had their wares on display. You would be hard pressed to tell the difference between quartz and natural stone with some of the patterns available now.
I will end with the paint company Benjamin Moore. Their chalkboard paint display made me smile. Gone are the days of flat black chalkboards. Now the chalkboard itself can be an expression of your creative side too. The colour of the year for Benjamin Moore is Breath of Fresh Air 806. It follows the trend of lighter, brighter, fresher colours.
There is always something new to see at IDS and I look forward to it every year. The general public can visit on the weekend of the show and hear popular speakers from the industry. Maybe next year you will venture to Toronto to check it out for yourself.