IDS 2015: 5 Designers to Watch

IDS 2015: 5 Designers to Watch

There’s no better time to spot talent on the rise than during Toronto Design Week. Here are just five of the standout design studios that made a strong impression on us this week.

by Tory Healy and David Dick-Agnew

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1 UUfie (showing at Monogram Dinner by Design at the DX)
We’ve been big fans of Eiri Ota and Irene Gardpoit for a while now: it was love at first sight with their Corian Peacock chair, followed by their Lake Cottage, which we dedicated several pages to last January. So it was a treat to walk through an environment conceived by the duo, populated with their unique, ephemeral yet substantial furnishings, at Monogram’s Dinner by Design at the Design Exchange. For this benefit held to support Casey House and the Design Exchange, 11 designers built and decorated distinct dining spaces. All are elegant, resolved conversation starters, but the most captivating was UUfie’s. The otherworldly environment consists of a gorgeous brushed table with impossibly thin legs (fabricated by Canadian Metal Coating) surrounded by chairs misshapen with modelling clay (these too are incredibly functional). Ghostly smoked-glass objets by Jeff Goodman Studio round out the out-there concept. – TH

 

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2 Coolican and Company (showing at IDS)
While the influence of Scandinavian and early Canadian woodworking traditions are evident in Peter Coolican’s solid-wood furniture, a subtle lightness gives these pieces an unmistakably contemporary feel. Coolican crafts each piece by hand in Toronto, releasing them in small batches of up to a dozen – which makes the process more efficient, but still allows him to include fine details like aligning the grain of the wood for a more durable construction. Although the studio launched just last year, there’s a confidence on display that’s already capturing attention: custom pieces commissioned by the Office of the Governor General adorn Rideau Hall. In his first appearance at IDS, Coolican showed off gypsum-shaded lighting, and an impressive collection of seating with beveled tops and elegantly tapered spindles. – DDA

 

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3 Carl & Rose (showing at IDS)
It was love at first bike for Suzanne Carlsen and Noah Rosen. She: a former Harbourfront Centre resident artist noted for meticulous metalwork (think penny-farthing brooches and head tube ornaments). He: a Sheridan ceramics grad and founder of custom bicycle painting shop VéloColour. Together: they’ve been peddling things for people, places and two-wheelers since they joined forces in 2011. Carl & Rose’s planters are made from vintage glass punch bowls and decanters that are stacked, fused and finished with custom-tinted automotive paint. – TH

 

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4 Villa Villa (showing at 944 Queen St. W.)
Villa Villa is a new design studio comprising furniture designer Vanessa Jackson and artist Tony Romano. Each object they put out is sophisticated and fun, with colour palettes and mixed media that deliver undeniable freshness. I loved the light fixtures made from mismatched vintage ceramics, the loopy, powder-coated steel coat rack with removable shoe mat, the Dali-esque potholder with support branch, and the tinted glass-topped dining table with a complicated base made up of simple geometric shapes. – TH

 

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5 MSDS Studio (showing at IDS)
This studio – led by Jessica Nakanishi (pictured above) and Jonathan Sabine – may be young, but already their influence is being felt both near and far. Near, in their concept spaces around the city of Toronto – such as an eye-popping grid-and-mirror installation at last year’s IDS, as well as kinetic and engaging hospitality and contract spaces. Far, in their product collections, which have exhibited across North America, and include the sublimely understated Ladder Light, and their popular Pleated Planters for Umbra Shift. A brightness seems to infuse everything they touch, whether it’s as simple as a geometrically inscribed ceramic tray, or as elaborate and detailed as a multi-room adult playground – leading us to think they have a very bright future ahead. – DDA

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