It’s always a joy to see Canadian designers in our travels to international design fairs — it’s even better when they’re the talk of the town. Such was the scene in Milan, where Andlight and Lambert & Fils both created stunning installations at Alcova, a beacon for brave design talents. We have also seen fantastic works from our fellow Canadians in New York (Anony, Simon Johns and Hamilton Holmes among them), in the global design media, and — yes, major AZ Awards plug — in our own international competition. Here are 10 talents who could teach a course on getting noticed on the world stage.
Currently based in Nova Scotia, Evan Jerry of Studio Anansi started his career on a high point – with a collection of tables and vases for American brand CB2 that felt hewn from hand. More recently, he launched the sublime Fawohodie series for New York studio TRNK; the line draws inspiration from “the entangled relationship between traditional African aesthetics and Western modernism.” It stars the Kyaman coffee table (top of article) and side table (above), with their carved limestone bases and bronzed glass tops, and the Toma lounge chair, with its pyramidal backrest.
The only Canadian designer featured in Phaidon’s Woman Made anthology, Mary Ratcliffe is best known for her beautifully crafted wood furniture, but the pandemic saw her delving into the creation of housewares as well. Just this spring, as she recently told Designlines, she launched her ready-to-ship collection, making her marvels, sure to become heirlooms, more accessible to all.
Vancouver’s Andlight, led by Matt Davis, Caine Heintzman and Lukas Peet, has been going from strength to strength since its founding in 2013. But its biggest moment on the international stage arguably happened in June, when it installed the Offcut Bar at Alcova, an offsite venue boasting the most impressive collective of designers from around the world. Featuring its stunning Column lights, and designed in collaboration with Space Caviar and Studio Vedèt, the gathering spot was bustling with the kind of energy only great design can elicit.
Sarah Yao-Rishea won the Prototype competition at IDS in Toronto with Alcove, then hit WantedDesign in New York with her ikebana-inspired vase as part of the Launch Pad cohort. We predict that the ECAL grad is on her way to big things.
This Quebec designer’s Future Fossils series — which integrates sedimentary rock-esque forms made from gypsum cement and slip-cast stoneware into clean aluminum grids — was one of our favourite standouts from NYCxDesign; it also garnered an ICFF Editors Award for Best Furniture. Favouring a raw aesthetic, through which materials are allowed to speak for themselves, Johns creates inimitable one-off and limited-edition furniture and lighting.
Another talent who wowed Milan, design house Gabriel Scott showed off variations of the Welles light — reimagined by six international designers including David Rockwell and fellow Canadian Alessandro Munge — in the standalone Floating Ideas show in the 5 Vie district. Even more epic: the fixture was installed at Bar Basso, the legendary gathering spot for peripatetic designers and locals alike.
We’ve been watching Jamie Wolfond’s star rise for years now. In 2018, he sold his popular Good Thing line to West Elm and set out to focus exclusively on design, having moved back to his native Toronto from New York (where he had attended RISD). The decision proved auspicious, as his work has since been displayed in Stockholm and Milan (at last September’s Alcova showing), among other major destinations, and he kicked off a collaboration with New York design gallery Matter that resulted in this instant-classic light, Balloon.
D’Armes, founded by Alexandre Joncas and Gildas Le Bars, is one of the latest Quebec lighting brands to turn us on. One need only check out its Hyphen lamp — shown during NYCxDesign — to get the appeal. What the duo describes as a “union of two opposites in one: warm, soft and sensitive porcelain and cold, strong and brilliant steel” is as evocative as it is versatile; it comes in table and suspension versions, in a variety of finishes including oil-slick chromatic black.
Toronto’s Stacklab is having a most memorable year — largely thanks to its latest venture, Stackabl. The furniture design system, a co-production with New York gallery Maison Gerard, allows customers to build a unique piece by sourcing and upcycling left-over felt from factories — call it “waste made wonderful,” which is what we did when Stackabl won a 2022 AZ Award. The collection now features light fixtures, which were displayed during Milan Design Week in a shopfront of the Isola district.
We’ve been admiring Tom Chung’s work for awhile now, and so has the rest of the world. The Vancouver- and Rotterdam-based designer recently showed his Piton lamp, for Danish manufacturer Muuto, during 3 Days of Design in Copenhagen. We also feature it in our current issue, as a bold representative of the gorpcore trend.
From Evan Jerry’s collaboration with TRNK New York to Andlight’s dazzling display in Milan, these Canadian designers are making the world take notice.