Last week at the annual fundraiser for Toronto’s Design Exchange, food, art, design and music merged to create a culture club, and four imaginative installations wowed the crowds.
On the evening of October 18, behind the museum‘s hulking front doors, hobnobbing design cognoscenti clinked wine glasses, posed for photos and admired the scantily clad models offering raffle tickets. Past the glammed up entrance on the main floor, a decidedly down-to-earth theme emerged: a spring market complete with displays that evoked vendor stalls, and four floors of bars and food stations offering up the city’s best.
It was a hot ticket, with all proceeds going to the DX’s youth and educational programming. In keeping with the overarching focus of fêting the overlap of creative disciplines, there was a bevy of playful and illuminating installations. Here are four of our favourite highlights from that night – and the creative talents behind them.
1 WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie’s market
Montreal’s Byron and Dexter Peart, the brothers and co-creators of the luxury leather handbag brand who count architects Moshe Safdie and Jean Prouvé as influences, were honoured as Gamechangers. On the DX’s main floor, guests lined up to nab a bouquet of seasonal blooms and were treated to an interactive display that deconstructed the design process behind the brand’s Trudeau tote bag. Completing the idyllic urban scene: bicycles from Detroit’s Shinola.
2 Bevlab’s cloud cocktails
Irwin Adam Eydelnant and Jarlath Byrne Rodgers of Toronto’s i & j ideations combine their engineering, biology and technology backgrounds to explore the future of food and offer a multi-sensory experience. On the DX’s historic trading floor, the duo set up a testing centre with scales, beakers, syringes and wide-mouth sculptural decanters. And they cooked up smokey concoctions they dubbed “clouds,” “spheres,” “dots” and “flora” using extracts from items like lime, cinnamon, and bergamot.
3 Common Good’s video installation
The design, animation and VFX studio re-interpreted the market theme by imagining the trading floor as if it were underground. Using a six-projector system controlled remotely by an iPad with an open source mapping application, Common Good choreographed a night sky on the space’s ceiling that was punctuated by constellations and natural phenomena, such as the aurora borealis and shooting stars. Animations and colours responded to the beat of the music and once the Canadian electronic group Azari & III hit the stage, the mesmerizing light show expanded to include the four walls.
4 Castor Design’s electromagnetic light sculpture
On the second floor of the DX, Brian Richer and Kei Ng of Castor Design erected a sculpture that continues Richer’s exploration of wireless transmission of electricity. The duo fashioned an arrangement of 30 units, each made up of three tubes illuminated at different colour temperatures. Held together by a painted steel ring, the tubes rested on an angle, making contact with the inside of the ring – the power source.