I attended the International Design Show in Toronto again this year. The show is packed with companies showing their latest ideas and styles. Here are a few highlights and interesting ideas.
LED lighting has definitely become the preferred technology for new lighting. LED offers designers so much more flexibility for lighting design by allowing for smaller light sources, more focused lights and all the while maintaining the highest energy efficiency.
Staying on the lighting theme, there were a number of companies showing how lighting can be incorporated into plumbing fixtures. Lighting was mounted into tubs, faucets or shower heads. Chromotherapy isn’t a new idea but this year there seemed to be more examples on display. I have to confess that I didn’t get any good photos of the plumbing products at the show but the photos above show the types of products that are in the marketplace today.
Caesarstone provided some fun by hiring designer Philippe Malouin to design swing sets to showcase their latest quartz materials. The swings were a light hearted break in the day and I guess did show the strength of quartz but for me the display didn’t really show enough of the true diversity of the quartz product.
Ceragres displayed tiles in a muted palette of greys, moka and whites. It was interesting to see a number of booths showing strong tile shapes like hexagons, triangles and even some random looking patterns.
Hardwood floors were strong again this year. Mercier showed many examples of really wide planks. It was also interesting to see different types of oak floors like riff cut and quarter-sawn. These cuts give the oak grain a more refined look than the standard straight cut.
Live edge furniture was even more poplar this year. There were many tables and other pieces showing of the natural beauty of trees. It is a real organic feeling. North of Sixty displayed a number of cool wood products. One that caught my attention was called kebony. It is Southern Yellow Pine That is sustainably harvested in Texas. The wood is shipped to Norway where a biowaste product is forced into the wood cells under pressure. The wood is then heated and the cell structure of the wood is transformed. The end product is a highly durable, hard and weather resistant wood that could replace an exotic hardwood like ipe.
Studio North offered a chance to see small scale designers showing their prototypes and custom made products. There was felt wrapped mirrors, counter balanced light fixtures and lots of bent and curved plywood shelves and furniture. Kino Guerin showed there is no limit to what can be done with plywood.
I ended the day listening to a lecture by Marlon Blackwell, an architect from Fayetteville Arkansas. In addition to giving me an new appreciation for the State of Arkansas, Marlon spoke about looking for the connections between the built and natural worlds. Many of the projects he showed were closely integrated into the landscape. He described himself as “a conscious observer of what is around him” and “looks to embrace the world without being consumed by it”. It was an inspiring note to end on and I look forward to next year’s show.