It goes without saying that a show as big as IDS, Canada’s largest design fair, doesn’t happen by accident. But the extent to which research data drives the event really hit home during an interview with Karen Kang, left, IDS’s Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships and Accounts.
Data and demographics underlie just about every aspect of the show. For instance, this year’s Modern Kid feature was sparked by the fact that Kang and fellow organizer Lisa Barnes both have young children but then they dove into research that showed Torontonians are having kids later in life and consequently have more disposable income to shower on their pampered tots. The designer spaces theme this year How Do You Work? grew out of conversations with a variety of show partners but was also driven by data that reveals Toronto is the world’s fourth largest hub for business start-ups; a lot of young creative businesses are based here and IDS wants to target them and the brands selling to them.
“We’re real data crunchers,” confirms Kang, “and we pay very careful attention to the responses we get from polling our audience. Every year it’s about elevating the show and making it better and better and the research helps to keep us on the right track.”
Responding to a challenge issued by the City’s Live Green Toronto program, 20 landscapers and gardeners have designed and created seasonal plantings in conjunction with Celebrate Yonge, a four-week event kicking off today. “I am delighted to see so many people come together to transform Yonge Street into a pedestrian-friendly oasis in the heart of the city,” said Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale). “I invite all Toronto residents and visitors to come and enjoy the sidewalk cafes, beautiful planter boxes, restaurants, businesses and entertainment that make Yonge Street such a unique destination.”
The Design Exchange was swarmed last night by stylish ballet and design lovers who came together to celebrate the opening of 60 Years of Designing the Ballet. Curated by Caroline O’Brien (resident designer and wardrobe supervisor of Canada’s National Ballet School from 1989 – 2007) the show provides the opportunity to see, touch and even try on treasures from the National Ballet’s vaults.
Upstairs, the exhibition hall features costumes, sketches, photographs and stage maquettes while downstairs the former Stock Exchange trading floor has been given over to the Tutu Project, a collection of 60 wildly inventive tutus made from flowers, celluloid film, pointe shoes, even balsa wood.
The show is part of a year-long celebration recognizing the 60th anniversary of the founding of the National Ballet of Canada.
Ryerson’s innovative Digital Media Zone was the first stop on today’s tour of Toronto arts and media hubs by Canada’s Governor General David Johnston, centre. The GG and his wife, Mrs. Sharon Johnston, were treated to demonstrations of DMZ mobile and web applications, as well as the cutting-edge bionics apparatus above. Following Ryerson, their Excellencies visited community arts hubs SKETCH, Spongelab Interactive and Workman Arts.
“This is a very interesting time,” stated the Governor General. “It took the printing press over three centuries to reach the majority of the population; the internet has taken less than a decade to reach the world’s population. What you’re doing here at the Digital Media Zone is the next generation of the use of computers.”
The 12th annual Interior Design Show opened with a bang last night and the City of Toronto was ahead of the curve co-sponsoring a fascinating day-long series of talks called Conversations in Design, featuring a top-drawer list of speakers including renowned New York designer Amy Lau, above left, and 1stdibs.com founder Michael Bruno, right, as well as architect/designer Piero Lissoni, Design Within Reach CEO John Edelman, Readymade’s Stephen Burks and other trailblazers and trendspotters. It was an inspiring warm-up to the main IDS event with Trade Day, today (Jan. 27), followed by public access on Saturday and Sunday.
IDS is Canada’s largest contemporary design fair and the show features everything from local and international retailers and manufacturers to emerging Canadian designers looking for a foothold in the marketplace. This year’s show is exceptional with loads of jaw-dropping exhibits and exciting new product offerings. Highly recommended.