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The AZ Awards gala is a major event – and not only for our finalists and winners. Each year, AZURE works with local and international designers and partners to create a memorable experience, from the food served to the presentation visuals and the site-specific installation. It’s truly a one-night-only experience and we are proud of everyone who collaborates with us to make it a success. Here are some of the stories, in words and pictures, behind the elements that made June 22, our eighth annual awards and gala, a stupendous success.


The trophy, by Michael Anastassiades and Salvatori

Carved from Carrara marble, the 2018 AZ Awards trophy is a minimalist and multi-faceted culture that fits satisfyingly in one’s hand – and at the gala, 20 winners got their hands on it. Working with Italian stone innovator Salvatori, designer Michael Anastassiades, the London-based talent best known for his elemental lighting fixtures, has crafted the piece with a timeless quality reflective of his work. The A and the Z are subtly sculpted planes on the trophy, which can also be used as a paperweight.

Anastassiades, who has created furniture and fixtures for his own label as well as pieces for Flos, is the latest big-name designer that AZURE has commissioned to create a unique AZ Awards trophy. Trophy designers of years past include Philippe Malouin, Omer Arbel and Karim Rashid.


The installation, by Giannone Petricone Associates

Toronto architecture studio GPAIA set the scene at the gala. It paid homage to the Brick Works’ past and present with bundles of red bricks and towers of wood pallets, lovingly called Big Bertha and Totems, respectively. The pallets, stacked 20 high, were lit from within with string lights, providing frames to peer through, while flood lights were strategically aimed at both Big Bertha (the huge pipe suspended in the ceiling) and to illuminate the building’s great bones.

This witty reference to both the raw materials and built forms of architecture served as gathering points – the brick bundles functioning as high tables – and framing devices that also glowed bright.


The visual presentation by Frontier Studio

Frontier Studio, helmed by Paddy Harrington, created our spectacular, energetic visual presentation, which was delivered by our host, Canadian broadcaster Laurie Brown. The studio worked with AZURE on details large and small to produce a show with mesmerizing images of the finalists as well as moving interviews with our judges.


The dessert by Forno Cultura

Andrea Mastandrea, the man behind Forno Cultura, was on hand to treat guests to soft serve, artisanal bread and biscotti – sometimes all in one container. An architect by training, Mastandrea brings high design to each of his locations in the city, which in the fall will expand to include a bread lab inside the highly anticipated Museum of Contemporary Art.


The bags, by Essent’ial

All who attended the AZ Awards gala left with an original piece of design. We once again partnered with Essent’ial to provide all of our guests with bags as covetable as the swag inside them. Essent’ial uses Tyvek to create the loot bags, which are branded with the AZ Awards categories and logo, and filled with goodies, including Stone Tile and Laminam wooden spoons, Keilhauer pop sockets, Alpi pencils and Scavolini oven mitts / pot holders.

You can find the list of winners here. All the winners and finalists are featured in the Annual Awards Issue, on newsstands July 2 and available to order online here.

The 2018 AZ Awards was presented by Cosentino, Keilhauer, Stone Tile and Laminam, and was sponsored by Flos, Landscape Forms, Urban Capital, and George Brown College School of Design. Gala sponsors were Alpi, DXV, Farrow&Ball, Scavolini, and Tas.

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