Visitors to this year’s Interior Design Show ascend to fair level through a vast, stringy curtain dubbed “Strip Tease” by Toronto’s RAW Design. Composed of approximately 1,300 long strips of felt that collectively tip the scale at 3,700 lbs, the purpose of the installation is not at all apparent until you enter the show and see it from the convention floor where it transforms into a giant screen for video and still image projections. (Photo above by William Suarez).
There were lots of great booths and exhibits at IDS 12 and one of my favorites was from FLOS lighting where the beautiful people were congregating to drink and schmooze and bask in the minimalist perfection of the display.
Shown like art in picture-perfect cutouts, the FLOS lights literally glowed. Pictured below are Marcel Wanders’ Can Can suspension lights; in the centre you can glimpse the squiggly purple diffuser (also available in clear or amber) that makes the light so unique.
Also working a mostly white theme was architect/designer Pierro Lisonni, recognized as IDS 12’s International Guest of Honour. Lisonni was the star of the Conversations in Design speaker series on Thursday and his By_Lissoni Lounge featured furnishings from FLOS, Living Divani and Lema.
The sublime dining vignette below is a Lissoni composition featuring shelving and furnishings from Italy’s Porro.
If Lissoni was channeling the clouds, IKEA was riffing on black with touches of cream in its expansive mock-condo exhibit, below.
Elte was another retailer that really brought it this year with a dark and luxurious multi-room installation that felt very young and now. The spaces featured the company’s new line of carpets woven from unravelled silk saris; the ravishing rugs had a surprisingly affordable price point at around $5,400, quite a bit lower than offerings from other carpet specialists showing at IDS.
From the luxurious to the more mundane, I was nevertheless impressed by the carefully composed display from MOEN with its tiered taps and note-perfect lighting.
Sometimes the experience of an exhibit is helped enormously by the sales rep giving the tour as I discovered at Caml-Tomlin‘s impressive pavilion. Account manger Steve Laboissonniére was genuinely enthusiastic as he reeled off the specs for the company’s brand new heart-shaped Volta bathtub (below left, $5,200) that’s crafted in white acrylic and is deceptively light-weight considering its ample proportions (72″ x 55″ x 55″). I also loved the company’s Matrix corner shower stall with doors that part in two directions and slide along a brilliant roller apparatus.
Another sales guy who seemed to actually be enjoying himself was Seamus James Butterly, below, from Toronto’s own Resource Furniture. I guess it’s easy to put on the dog and pony show when you’ve got such a pretty pony — Butterly was having a blast wowing visitors with beds that dropped down to reveal built-in storage, then swung back up to unfurl a desk or swung into walls, revealing open and closed storage — ingenious! If you’re spending $300,000 on a small condo, another $10,000 to double or triple the usage of that space seems like a damn good investment (366 Adelaide Street East, 416.901.7555).
I appreciated the pop of colour at the centre of a four-sided exhibit from Ceramics of Italy, featuring tile specialists Appiani and Ceramica Vogue (below) among others.
Alfred Sung Outdoor also laid on the colour with warm tones of orange, pink, mauve and burgundy to enliven its otherwise white sofascape.
Water feature and living wall specialist TropicsNorth constructed a magnificent oasis towards the back of the exhibition hall that was literally a breath of fresh air.
And industrial chic specialist Metropolis Living turned heads with its darkly dramatic space featuring a vintage drafting chair hung by block and tackle from an arcing steel beam.
There was more to see on the IDS floor but that gives you a pretty good taste of the show if you missed it.
All photos by Christopher Jones except the first image by William Suarez