Having created a cordless kettle, a smartphone and a modern rocking chair, Toronto designers Di Tao and Bob Dodd (co-founders of Objects & Ideas) effortlessly work across scales and, fittingly, between objects and ideas. In the Maker section of the 2020 Interior Design Show, the five-year-old studio launched its most recent product line: a handsome dining set with a distinct silhouette. Inspired by the vapour trails left in the sky as airplanes pass, the Mono series translates these ephemeral traces into bulbous hand-turned solid-wood frames that appear like graceful lines in space. A highlight of the collection, this sculptural seat is available in three finishes — including ebonized ash (shown) — that enhance the graphic quality of the wood’s natural grain.
Composed entirely of ebonized white ash finished with organic oil, emerging Ontario designer Samson Wang’s two-tiered Ink side table evokes everything from a lily pad floating atop a pond to a calligraphy brush being dipped into an inkwell. To achieve the rippling quality on its surface as well as the curved profile of the elevated disc, the Oakville-based aviation technician–cum–furniture maker used a CNC machine to mill the solid wood tops. By contrast, each delicate leg is turned by hand, resulting in one of the most exciting prototypes on view at IDS’s Studio North exhibition this year. Produced by Anazao, the product is part of a larger series (with the Rhythmic Serenity armchair) exploring the philosophical and formal links between woodworking and Chinese calligraphy.
A standout of the DesignTO off-site exhibition “Aluminum Group” — which showcased 19 new prototypes, composed entirely of the eponymous material, by an all-star lineup of Canadian designers including co-organizers Jamie Wolfond and MSDS — Temp by Toronto-based Anony is a series of black anodized vessels CNC milled from solid aluminum. Though the studio is perhaps best known for its luminaires, this decorative tableware set (a vase, cup and bowl) takes inspiration from an unseen element of architectural lighting — a heat sink — by adapting the radiating fins of the passive thermal device into a unifying base. In celebrating a hidden component designed to transfer heat in a collection of objects conceived to hold and contain, Temp evocatively traces the contours of industry and fine art in a category all its own.
During the 2020 edition of Toronto Design Week, the most striking new products shared a distinct inclination towards the dark side.