Friday, February 4, 2011

IDS 2011

Light Installation by Commute Home

In case you were one of the few design enthusiasts who didn't make it to the Interior Design Show in Toronto last weekend here's a limited mini tour of what caught my 'eye-phone' while I walked the floor of the show over the course of two brief visits.  To my eye most of what I see at the show isn't new to me because I frequent showrooms regularly and am pretty familiar with all the newest and latest.  What I enjoy seeing at the show are the ways the products and items are interpretted into creative exhibits, and inevitably,,,, I also do see a couple of 'new to me' sources from out of town.

Without a doubt I'd have to say one of the most common trends on display was the colour black. Black walls particularly, in fact probably more than half the exhibitors incorporated black walls in their booths.

My favorite exhibit space of the show was the Ikea booth where they had designed and built a 900 s.f. kitchen.  The entire kitchen was black. 

 The kitchen had black cabinets, black hardware, black counters, black tile backsplash, black appliances.  It was stunning and dramatic and all the different textures and sheen levels made the single colour work.  If you want to use an 'accent colour' to create impact, black is a favorite for me that I think works better than blue or green or red which in this case for an entire kitchen, wouldn't have the classic look, sophistication or longevity that black has.  Personally I get bored of strong colour very quickly and I think it gets tired and dated very quickly.  So I think the popularity of black is that you get that graphic impact that you'd get with a bold colour but its neutral.  Its moody and dramatic, it can be nostalgic or edgy, its always chic - so that has to be the feel you're after,  and don't ever attempt to use a lot of black in a space unless you pay extra attention to lighting!  Floating above and continuing the length of the kitchen was a sea of paper laterns.

Natural woods and various jars of food items make a striking display against the black metalic tile backsplash.  I loved that everyone else loved this kitchen as much as I did - it received the Gold award for best booth.  A perfect example of how you really can be creative and make a design statement with product regardless how much it costs!

Commute Home always has some of the most innovative lighting and furniture I've ever seen.  Their booth at IDS simply consisted of this striking metal rod light sculpture inspired by hydro towers.  Althoug this lighting is displayed in an abstract way, it can be installed in a variety of settings as the L15 Spike Chandelier- I've seen this fixture suspended over a dining table, its STUNNING - for sure, my favorite 'product' at the show.

Another favorite of mine were the products at the 18 Karat booth.  Natural, organic and hand crafted elements seemed to be the theme, I was crazy for these wood bowls.  

This row of chairs used as display shelves were cleverely hung on......... a black wall.

The accessories were all displayed like pieces of art atop the sculptural like chairs.

You know how much I love Style Garage and Gus Furniture,,,their modern industrial Canadiana styled booth was definitely one of the most popular with the crowd.  I've been a fan for years, and this booth made me fall in love with their product and philosophy all over again!  Note,,,, the black wall.

This sculptural bookcase was an eye catcher.  It was made of corian, and was the feature wall of the Selene furniture booth.

Personally I was surprised to see UpCountry at IDS.  After virtually being non-existent on the design scene since they were taken over by new Management a few years ago, they resurfaced at IDS featuring a new collection designed by Brit, Timothy Oultan.  You might recognize the look,,,Oultan designs a collection for Restoration hardware so its no surprise these pieces bare a strong resemblance to the new RH 'hand crafted' artisan look.  It certainly made for a theatrical looking display at the show but for everyday residential use I think pieces like these (union jack sofas) come across as very "staged" or unauthentic.  Everyone seemed to be raving about this collection, but quite honestly, it just doesn't appeal to me.... 

The Style At Home booth was a standout amongst all the dramatic black,,,the innovative use of colour was a clever way to show off their new Beautitone line of paints.  The entire exhibit was refreshing and utterly creative.  You can read all about the inspiration behind the design of the booth by Margot Austin here

Snob, always a favorite.  

The colourful display of dishware at John Paul & Co. was irresistable.  This collection is by Missoni.

There were several other exhibitors I was fascinated with which I didn't get booth photos but I can tell you natural wood slabs or planks were the common denominator I was atttracted to - mostly featuring hand crafted joinery techniques in clean contemporary silhouettes. 

The consultation tables at the IDC booth where I was participating in Design Dilemma consultations with the public.  The entire back wall of the IDC space was

 If you weren't able to make it to the show and you'd like to see more, just google IDS11 or IDS2011 and you'll find links to many feature articles and blog posts by journalists and other bloggers.

All Photos:  Carol Reed


  1. I just love your aesthetic and how much I enjoy your posts and what your eye is drawn to. Black is one color that I shall never tire of. Somehow it adds instant chic and drama immediately. No wonder so many artists and designers just gravitate to black.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Hope you are well.

  2. oh, forgot to mention, love to have you pop over for a "heart on your scarf" giveaway that i am having...

  3. The Bensington sofa from UpCountry is sold in a number of different fabrics and leathers. The Union Jack is an impact colour that we wanted to use in advertisements.

    Most people love the trunks for storage and use as a coffee table or lamp table. You need a big space to make the sofa work.

    No thoughts on the hanging crystal chandelier or crystal table and floor lamps?

  4. Actually loved the chandeliers at the UC booth! (And especially loved the Jadeite pieces used to accessorize the table - gorgeous!!) I'm definitely planning on visiting the store to check out the rest of the collection but also I'm really interested in seeing their Axel reclaimed wood series in person....

  5. I had a fantastic time at IDS11 - it was a great opportunity to see lots of great products, as well as to make some new friends and meet up with some old friends. Sorry I missed you there.

    I enjoyed a lot of the Studio North booths, especially Ooi. And the colours in the SAH/Beauti-tone booth were so pretty. It felt like spring time in January :-)

  6. you won the heart on your scarf!
    e-mail me with where to send.

  7. PVE - I'm so excited and can't wait to wear that gorgeous scarf. Thank you Patricia for the very sweet give away, I really do heart you and your blog!


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