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Here were the top 10 stories chosen by you, our readers.



10. Unpleasant Design: The Silent Rise of the Hostile City


In the spring, the Toronto General Hospital earned the ire of the city after it installed anti-homeless grates, which prevented people from sleeping outside the building. This, of course, isn’t a new phenomenon – for all the good design can achieve, it can also be used for social control. (Look no further than the famed Camden bench.) Here, we discussed the idea of unpleasant design, from anti-pigeon spikes to skateboard-deterring benches, with architect Selena Savic, who published a book on that very topic.

9. Head Shop to High-End: The Evolution of Pot Dispensary Design

Photo: Krista Jahnke

As of October, cannabis has been legal in Canada. And while supply-chain nightmares have dominated the news cycle, we took legalization as an opportunity to explore another angle: namely, the emergence of high design in dispensaries, which have been popping up wherever bud has been legalized (or soon-to-be-legalized). From OMFGCO’s Serra (above) to the Partisans-designed Tokyo Smoke, we take a look at the evolution of the head shop.

8. 6 Exciting Tech Products for the Visually Impaired

Industrial designer Emilios Farrington-Arnas’ Maptic (above) has the sleek, on-trend look of a fitness wearable, but the system doesn’t track steps or heart rates. Rather, worn around the neck and wrists, it uses haptic feedback – the same thing that causes your phone to buzz when a notification arrives – to help guide the visually impaired. In this story, we dive into Maptic and five other technologies aimed at assisting those with limited sight explore the world intelligently, safely and discretely.

7. These Next-Level Canadian Tech Offices Think Outside the Cubicle

Canada’s tech sector is exploding, with stalwarts like Ottawa’s Shopify and newcomers like Vancouver’s Article making major waves. And many of those companies have rethought how offices should look and feel, often to stunning effect. We discover how Canadian interior design firms – from Linebox Studio to Dubbledam Architecture + Design and Lebel & Bouliane – are creating the offices of the future.

6. Northern Rising: New Canadian Buildings We’re Watching

From Newfoundland to Vancouver, we surveyed the most exciting buildings that are sprouting up – or, in the case of Calgary’s New Central Library, opened – as of 2018. The Foster+Partners-designed The One, rising on the edge of Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood, is drawing plenty of attention, but Todd Saunders’ Inuit-geared Illusuak Cultural Centre, the Net Zero Joyce Building and Ottawa’s rethought Government Conference Centre deserve our attention, too.

5. Concrete Construction is Becoming Smarter, More Sustainable and Beautiful

As evidenced by HiLo (above), an ultra-thin, sinuous roof that was installed on the roof of Switzerland’s NEST, designers are reimagining the limitations of concrete. Here, in an rumination on digital fabrication techniques and cutting-edge innovations, Azure executive editor Elizabeth Pagliacolo examines how the material is undergoing a seismic revolution, becoming a leaner, lighter and smarter material.

4. The Magnificent, Modular Unzipped Pavilion Opens in Toronto

Bjarke Ingels’ Westbank King Toronto condo development is quickly becoming one of the city’s most anticipated projects. To mark its arrival, the starchitect brought Unzipped, which Ingels created from 1,800 fibreglass frames for the Serpentine Pavilion in 2016, to the city. Not surprising, it became an instant Instagram sensation, but inside, visitors were treated to 10 models of completed and upcoming BIG projects. The pavilion, after touring the world, will eventually land at its final home in Vancouver.

3. Inside 307, Sidewalk Toronto’s Experimental Hub

In 2018, Sidewalk Labs, the city-building wing of Google/Alphabet, announced that it would be developing a chunk of Toronto land with the goal of creating a smarter, tech-enabled community. While the project was initially met with excitement, a healthy skepticism emerged around the venture – specifically with regards to data-collecting and privacy concerns. We headed to 307, the prototyping space launched by Sidewalk Labs, to get answers.

2. 9 Emerging Female Product Designers You Should Know

From Lisa Ertel’s explorations in wood to the modular, graphic-design-inspired work of Rachel Griffin, we rounded up nine female product designers who are at the top of their game. The future is indeed female, and expect these product designers – whose work ranges from bold to experimental to delicate – to become household names. And soon.

1. BIG and Westbank Release New Renderings for KING Toronto Condos

A rendering of a kitchen at KING Toronto condos, a Westbank project design by Bjarke Ingels Group.

Remember when we noted that BIG and Westbank’s King Toronto was one of the city’s most anticipated developments? We weren’t exaggerating. Our biggest post of the year revealed renderings for the condo project, which, drawing clear inspiration from Moshe Safdie’s Habitat 67, will add pixellated peaks, cake-like openings and translucent brick to King Street. Learn more about the project, and how it incorporates the concept of gesamtkunstwerk, here.

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