Interior designers were out en masse yesterday for the start of IIDEX/NeoCon Canada, on thru Saturday at Toronto’s Direct Energy Centre. IIDEX is the country’s largest “trade-only” expo of residential and commercial products and materials and the 2009 installment marks the show’s 25th anniversary. But instead of looking back, the marketing focus is on “the next twenty five” with a strong emphasis on sustainability and “green” building technologies.
LEDs (light-emitting diode) and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) were the stars of the show along with Think: Material, a special section dedicated to innovative and sustainable surfaces and materials, above.
One of three featured IIDEX components is Light Canada, the largest lighting show in the country. Light artist and keynote speaker Stephen Knapp constructed a huge “light painting”, above left, and arty Canadian design retailer Made, displayed lighting featured in its first two Radiant Dark exhibitions including the Jagged Chandelier by Tamara Rushlow and Desertscapes by Orest Tataryn, above right.
One of the most impressive exhibit spaces was by Canada’s Teknion, an international leader in the office marketplace. I was surprised by the number of office-focused exhibitors—this is clearly a lucrative niche in the interior design sector. A strong black and white scheme was repeated across numerous IIDEX displays including the one below from U.S. office giant, Keilhauer.
Fireplaces appear to be another rich vein in the interior design mine with a number of manufacturers showing impressive exhibits.
ARIDO, the Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario, is a principle sponsor of IIDEX as is Toronto’s Design Exchange, which put on a show of Canadian-designed chairs stretching from the 1946 Czerwinski & Stykolt Lounge Chair (foreground) to 2001′s AH Chair by Tom Deacon for Umbra. Canadian design clearly has a bright future, but it also boasts an impressive past.