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Happy Birthday, DesignTO

Happy Birthday, DesignTO

DesignTO started the same year as WantedDesign with the same passion and vision: promote design, give a platform to designers and create a design culture. I still remember that conference call with Odile, myself, Deborah Wang (co-founder of DesignTO and Artistic Director) and Jeremy Vandermeij (co-founder of DesignTO and Executive Director).

We travel to Toronto every year in January for the festival. Sometimes it’s extremely cold; sometimes, it’s snowing. It’s always gray but we love going. We love seeing the city embrace design, exploring the neighborhoods, looking for the DesignTO signs, and discovering designers and artists’ installations.

DesignTO (formerly the Toronto Design Offsite Festival) evolved and grew into this dynamic, inspiring, engaging, city-wide festival that is by far the most diverse, multidisciplinary and inclusive design festival we have in North America.

From art to craft, to graphic design, to multimedia, to furniture and lighting design, you will always find ideas, meet designers and artists, and you are guaranteed a “creative juice recharge.” Isn’t that what we are looking for when we travel to the different design weeks around the world: to meet people and be inspired?

DesignTO does just that.

In the festival’s guide, you can read from the Welcome notes by Christina Zeidler, DesignTO Ambassador and co-founder:

“This Festival is an anti-loneliness machine that spreads across our city in the dead of winter, pulling us out of our hibernation and asking us to explore spaces we may never have been. A wood-filled studio space down an alley, an attic in a warehouse, a hotel full of installations or a museum by the lake. […] This Festival is a brat. It has grown out of a community that wanted more from its design city. […] It is the impossibly resilient child of many voices coming together. There is no other design festival like it – a festival that has grown out of the will of individual people who need to be heard.”

This year we only spent 48 hours at DesignTO on the tail end, so we did miss some of the shows but this is what we saw, loved and wanted to share. 

FUTURE RETROSPECTIVES curated by DesignTO, at Harbourfront Center
“Future Retrospectives”, a group exhibition featuring the work of 11 local and international artists and designers, unified by a shared methodology: using the past as a lens through which we imagine the future. This is still on view until March 29, 2020.
Castor x EQ3
EQ3 invited the visitors to join them at our King East showroom to experience the innovative new installations designed and produced by Anony and Castor Design. This showcase features new lighting and home furnishing collections created in collaboration with the two Toronto-based design studios.
DesignTO Talks: They Feed Off Buildings
Click to read the interview

By Claire Pijoulat, WantedDesign co-founder

ABOUT DesignTO – DesignTO Festival is Canada’s leading (and largest) annual design festival that celebrates design as a multidisciplinary form of creative thinking and making, with over 100 exhibitions and events forming Toronto’s design week, January 17-26, 2020. Since 2011, DesignTO has been bringing communities together to celebrate design, by taking art and design out of the studio and into the urban realm.