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Toronto Design Offsite Festival 2014

Toronto Design Offsite Festival 2014

This year in January, we attended the fourth TO DO, Toronto Design Offsite Festival. WantedDesign is proud to partner with the festival to promote each other’s news on each side of the border.
We had heard lots of positive comments about the Festival but it seems that not many New Yorkers know about it, even though it is so close and accessible. With over 60 events/exhibitions across the city, it was quite a marathon to try to cover most of them in 3 days, but absolutely worth it. Here is an overview of what we loved at TO DO.

First stop: The Gladstone Hotel, TO DO hotel partner, which a must-see in the festival. I was fortunate to stay at the hotel and enjoy all the artists and designers installations throughout the hotel. This place is truly unique and like no other hotel, and with 3 exhibits and 3 events, it gives you a chance to literally live in the Festival. As you walk thru the main door, check-in at the front desk, go up the stairs, get to your room, you are surrounded by art and design.

Hard Twist 8 - This is personal curated by Helena Frei and Chris Mitchell The Gladstone hotel"s 8th annual juried textile and arts exhibition
Hard Twist 8 – This is personal curated by Helena Frei and Chris Mitchell
The Gladstone hotel”s 8th annual juried textile and arts exhibition

Come Up To My Room #CUTMR11, which celebrated its 11th birthday this year, was created before TO DO was even born, and anchored itself in the festival as one of the most attended event every year. It takes place on the second floor of the hotel, and gathers 24 design studios commissioned to create installations in the rooms or in the corridor.

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Come Up To My Room, Hanging Matters installation by Jordans Evans, Ryla Javelski + Evan Jerry with Lois Weinthal

In the Gladstone Hotel Art Bar, there was Capacity, a curated woman-designers-only exhibition on Ray Eames.  The curators Katherine Morley and Erin McCucheon asked the designers to look at Ray’s life and works as a starting point and come up with objects. The result was a beautiful series of products, and intimate and touching homage for a great woman by inspired women. “Capacity exists because of Ray Eames, and because of the women in design who came before us, who cleared the path for us, loudly and quietly.” – Katherine Morley and Erin McCucheon.

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“Is that you, Ray” mirrors designed by Anne Thomas – “Music is Math” collection designed by Katherine Morley
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“Rhinocetoss” toys designed by Katrina Tompkins – Ceramics collection designed by Kristen and Fiona Lim Tung

One of the best exhibit in town was at Mjolk where Luca Nichetto was launching a new ceramic collection for the brand. The collection is stunning, delicate and perfectly at home in this pure, modern, and unique showroom that mixes Japanese and Scandinavian objets and furniture.

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Luca Nichetto + Mjolk

Another highlight of TODO was “Light It Up” at Cooper Cole Gallery, featuring lighting projects by 12 local designers like Bettie Cott (who was in 5 other exhibits!), Rob Southcott, Normal Goods (who won an award at IDS too), Brian Richer (Castor), Derek McLeod and Joy Charbonneau.

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Light It Up at Cooper Cole Gallery

In two days I was able to visit most of the galleries, showrooms, design studios in the Art and Design district on Queen St and Dundas, and the ones on the Junction, hoping from one address to another. I have to say, none was disappointment, there was always something interesting to see, nice people to meet, unique architecture to discover. What a rich and inspiring day through the city.

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MEDALTA project at Made showroom
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pattern pattern by String Theory at Graven Feather
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Digital Promises exhibit at Artscape Triangle Gallery – Guilloche by Gregory Phillips – Framework Neck Piece by Bin Dixon-Ward
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100% ToBeUs: 100 Designers for 100 New Toy Cars, curated by Matteo Ragni at Canada’s Design Museum, The Design Exchange

We would like to thank The Gladstone Hotel, Jeremy Vandermeij and TO DO organizers Deborah Wang, Sanam Samanian, Gelareh Saadatpajouh for their warm welcome.
We will be back next year and we will encourage the New York Design community to make it there too!