Interior Design Show (IDS). Ringing in its 15th year, IDS13 has 300 exhibitors filling out the Convention Centre. We got a sneak peak at what to expect over the weekend.">

A sneak peek at the innovative exhibits at the Interior Design Show



A KIA designed by Karim Rashid (Images: Karolyne Ellacott)

Despite the frigid temperatures, Toronto is in in the midst of a design fever. With various design-centric events taking over the city, now is the time to stretch the mind with the latest innovations from the design world. The biggest of the bunch is the Interior Design Show (IDS). Ringing in its 15th year, IDS13 has 300 exhibitors filling out the Convention Centre. We got a sneak peak at what to expect over the weekend.

Welcoming visitors to the show is As Luck Would Have It, a colourful suspended sculpture by multimedia artist Willy Chyr. The designer notes that it’s his largest installation to date — it involves some 1,600 balloons and took him four days to assemble. Also up front and centre are a series of KIA cars decked out in designs from five noteworthy names including Douglas Coupland, but we fell for Karim Rashid’s playful contribution.

At the MCLV Lounge, the heritage log cabin has been examined from a different perspective, with sleek, plaid-accented benches and undulating walls, the result of steam-bending wood. Naturally, Molson Canadian beer cocktails are served, giving showgoers the full Canuck experience.

In addition to his wrapped car, Douglas Coupland has put his hand to design elsewhere in the exhibition, launching a boutique furniture collection in collaboration with SwitzerCult Creative. Meant to create a writer’s nook, pieces include the so-called Bento Box Escritore (or a desk, for the rubes) and the stackable Osaka bookshelves.

Designer Sabina Hill is one to watch. Hailing from the West Coast, Hill merges aboriginal artwork with contemporary design, done in collaboration with First Nations artists. Her side tables are composed of tree trunks wrapped in recycled and tanned salmon skins, while her breathtaking Thunderbird chair features aboriginal motifs on the sides.

The section titled Studio North takes over a sizable portion of the exhibition space, featuring various compact displays from up-and-coming Canadian design talents. We liked Atelier Cocotte’s reverse-teardrop light fixtures, done in thin strips of ash wood, Geof Ramsay’s You Are Here table, featuring a map-like grid on the base, and Six Point Un’s chipper side tables. Bettie Cott’s floating shelves incorporated the silhouette of a house, while Ryan Taylor’s Babylon Light was a veritable climbing garden with lights peeking through the foliage.

In the How Do You Work? concept space, design firms had to work with a 200-square-foot shipping container, creating a workable environment within its limitations. Montreal’s Igloodgn was inspired by botany for their contribution, meant to allow for both work and play; Dubbeldam Architecture + Design’s module allows users to recombine the units into five different renditions; blackLAB Architects’ colourful entry featured a wall studded with coloured pencils.

New this year is an actual retail space, dubbed the Designboom Mart. There, exhibition goers can actually purchase some nifty pieces of design, ranging in price from $1 to $100. We like Susan Rowe Harrison’s colour-in tape ($15).

Those keen on Canuck design should check out some of the other stuff adding to the city’s design fever. The Toronto Design Offsite Festival features contributions up the wazoo: the Brothers Dressler have opened up their studio to prying eyes (and have window installations at both The Beau and the Bauble and Articulations); Design Republic features collaborative works from Sheridan students; Do Design takes over part of Dundas Street West, the perfect excuse to explore the ‘hood.

Additionally, the Gladstone Hotel once again plays weekend host to a series of playful installations for the always-rammed Come Up To My Room. And across town at the Design Exchange, The Happy Show by graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister is bound to quash those January blues. For design geeks, things don’t get much better.

The Interior Design Show, Metro Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W., 416-585-8000. Jan. 24-27