Toronto Design Offsite Festival: Come Up To My Room 2015

Last year we were deeply embedded in Toronto’s Interior Design Week, as part of Studio North at The Interior Design Show.  This year, we’re visiting the parallel and definitely more alternative Toronto Design Offsite (TODO) Festival that runs from January 19 to 25. The annual event is a platform to showcase prototypes and installations that celebrate the diversity of Canada’s energetic design scene and as such it provides vital exposure to some of the country’s most promising designers while introducing the public to the practice of design.

Lee Anne

Toronto native Lee-Anne Bigwood, loves noticing, observing and participating in the arts scene in her city. So it’s not surprising that she offered to visit part of this year’s TODO Festival and report back on items and exhibits that might be of interest to us and to you! Her post covers a Festival favourite — Come Up To My Room (CUTMR) — which returns for its 12th consecutive year at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel.

Lee Anne 1

Let’s just talk about the venue itself for a minute because the Gladstone Hotel on Queen Street West is a thing of beauty. Designed by George Miller, the architectural style is characterized by the rough cut stone and brick and by the dramatic arches over the windows and porch entrances. Using the original 19th century Victorian architecture, exposed brick walls and high ceilings, local Canadian artists have come together to transform the Gladstone’s 37 hotel rooms into experimental, alternative works of art. Since each bookable hotel room in the historic, 125 year old building represents a different artist’s vision, and it is also an event and cultural space, hosting awards, literary projects, social change events, live comedy, and music; no two visits will be the same.

If you go, take the time to admire the charming architectural details.

Gladstone, 2nd floor door hinge

One of the first things you notice after you move past the beautiful welcome desk in the front lobby, where they guide you to start your way up the grand stairway towards the entrance to the festival, is that you’re circling around an ornate, meticulously restored Victorian elevator. It’s one of the last hand-operated elevators in Toronto. If you get a chance to ride it, it feels like you’re taking a trip back in time. The incredibly friendly operator tells me that it still requires electricity, but that it is mostly manually operated.
Also in that magnificent stairway up to the exhibit is the gloriously lush living wall and industrial style lighting fixtures, enhanced and elevated during the Festival by a towering collage that extends up to the top floor.
Titled ‘Ascent‘ by artist Phil Irish, the collage is comprised of many large, richly decorated pieces of thick kraft paper, depicting rugged painted images of mountains and pipelines, which are chopped and reconfigured. The sublime peaks are inspired by The Banff Centre, a globally respected arts, cultural and educational institution, and the references to peak oil were inspired by Alberta’s oil sands, which the artist explains evokes the struggle of both societal and personal transformation.
CUTMR2015 turns the Gladstone Hotel into an incredible art-filled space covering all of its four floors. Although the hotel is already a destination for lovers of art and culture, during the Festival it becomes even more infused with art and welcomes even more people into its already very inclusive space. So much so, that several signs throughout the hotel remind visitors that some of the rooms, though they are certainly artfully decorated, are not part of the CUTMR program.

not art vs. art

Throughout the exhibit various signs are installed, as well as some text art for the keen observer. This expansive installation called ‘Innerventions’ by Denise St. Marie and Timothy Walker, reminds us that signs don’t always have to be authoritative; sometimes they can invite viewers to take a lighter look at their regular activities. These signs are concentrated in the hotel, but as a resident or visitor in Toronto, you may be lucky enough to see some of their work peppered throughout the city.
On the second floor, one of the first large exhibits you’ll come across is ‘Common Thread’, a project created by Sander Freedman, Riyad Bacchus and Andrey Chernykh, celebrating culture, nature and design. It’s inspired by a carpet designers’ story of historical carpet design and craftsmanship in Nepal, India and Iran, and its desire to make a historically polluting and petro-chemical-heavy process more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
For me, what was so striking about the exhibit was the reminder of how many spools of rich string might make up a single carpet. Seeing the unravelled material up close, it was exciting to imagine what a factory for such a process might look like. The installation expands over a whole hallway, with some strands of the string starting on the ground, and travelling up over doorways and into the arches. I enjoyed how they incorporated this installation right into the already existing sitting area on this floor; it was a reminder of how the hotel really celebrates the interaction between artistic impression and regular day-to-day business.
This is a huge part of why I love this Fesival so much. Imagine waking up, and leaving your hotel room to see these:
The sort of common items you would normally find in your hotel hallway, such as water pipes, safety equipment and electricity cabinets, which you would normally gloss over and ignore on route to brunch, are instead framed and highlighted. These are part of a group exhibition on the 4th floor, curated by Carla Poirier and called ‘in a space.’ It’s an exploration of physical composition through the lens of Graphic Design. The artists evaluate the fundamentals of design, and invite the viewer inside an abstract realm of ephemera and merge the line between art and design.
It seems as though their contrasting use of black and white decoration and imagery play on their placement within the hotel and the sorts of shadows and lines that normally exist. There’s a frisky nod to how such common objects as brooms and drying racks can, in this context, be interpreted as ‘art’… or not.  I tried to capture the real cleaning supplies being used alongside their elevated parallels.
An exhibit, located on the main floor in the Melody Bar, reminds me of the Galerie CO designer we showcased in this post, where we explored the idea that we are creating entirely too much permanent waste from plastic. Called ‘Oh Thank Heaven’ the installation was created by Miles Ingrassia and Iris Karuna. While normally the colourful plastic pop bottles are stacked with their black crates, in this exhibit, they’re separated and installed in such a way that they resemble a church altar and stained glass windows. The artists explain that the installation explores urban detachment and the compulsion to discover or designate unconventional spaces as sacred.

Come Up To My Room also hosts many audio and video installations, along with many multi-layer tapestry pieces, which can’t be fully appreciated without seeing their movement amongst art lovers breezing by, but I had to include this next one because the imagery is so striking. The string from the faces travels up to drape and curtain the ceilings, while the wall with the multiple faces has a constantly changing projection, along with experimental and abstract audio recordings. By Annie Tung, it is called, simply, ‘X.’

X is an installation that cultivates the idea of hidden messages and unknown desires. We sometimes cannot control our words or action and become frustrated. There are no words to explain this frustration but only a desire to break out from the shell.”

Finally, “From now until the end, and now again“, by Fareena Chanda stimulated in me an appreciation of the natural world, as it was presented juxtaposed against a mimicry of that world. The artist explains that the installation

explores the human relationship to our mortality. A walk through a fantastical garden to a final resting place evokes contemplation on our preparedness to face the end. The immersive mixed media installation invites the viewer to commit their mind and body to the physical space around them and imagine themselves undergoing sublimation. The piece aims to height our perception of our temporality in this world by ultimately asking each individual ‘where are you headed?'”


These photos and selections are just a small portion of an expansive and affecting exhibition, which runs until January 25th, with their closing party happening Saturday Night.

Tell us what you think of the installations in the comments below, or on our Facebook page, or on Instagram or Twitter @galerieco.

You can follow Lee-Anne’s adventures through Toronto Design Week, via her Instagram account, @littlebitesbig.

Vancouver’s Interior Design Show – IDS (West): some highlights

We’re still on the West coast with the blog!

Last weekend was the annual Canadian Interior Design Show (IDS) West in Vancouver. I’m lucky to have a great sister-in-law in Vancouver, Lynda Prince, who loves poking around design shows as much as I do and she volunteered to check it out and report back on items that she loved and that she thought reflected a “CO sensibility” and would be of interest to our readers.

I’m grateful to be able to visit the show through her eyes. Here’s her report:

IDS WestEach year, IDS West gets a little more grown up. Seven years ago, when we were in the middle of a frenzied renovation, my husband and I went to the IDS for inspiration. At the time, the show was fairly institutional. We saw the latest in dishwasher design and sleek Italian mosaic tiles; but there were only a few local designers and nothing that I hadn’t seen at the many tile and appliance stores that had become something of a second home during our year-long reno.

This year, IDS West had a much more exciting and unique vibe. Granted, there were still the gloriously manicured tiles and elegant appliances (like the Gaggenau micro 24 inch steamer wall ovens); but there was also a huge boom in custom and one-of-a-kind works.

alynda blog spotA sleek Gagganau wall oven (source:

Mirroring the expansion of a more customized product, were a series of talks given by international designers and architects on the new meaning of luxury. To paraphrase, today’s client is sophisticated about design and is taking a more responsible role in decision making. Trends are towards more bespoke work. Luxury in this new view is defined as quality that integrates responsible design and often sustainable practices.


Installation of wooden swings (source: Lynda Prince)

Designers producing custom pieces were presented in pockets throughout the show. To this end, the fabulous lighting collection Spheres, designed by Matthew McCormick Design Inc., in collaboration with Marie Khouri, was extraordinary. Their limited edition run of bronze and pewter sculpted lights led me into a moment’s fantasy of my completely reworked living room showcasing these stunning lights.

ids west lyndaLimited edition lighting collection Spheres (source: Lynda Prince)

An area where one-of-a-kind and limited edition were part of the standard language was in one of my favourite sections of the show: Studio North. I couldn’t help but notice the predominance of black walnut pieces—apparently sustainably harvested—that littered this section; all interesting and uber mid-century inspired. Highlights came first at Vancouver’s Gamla, a design group showcasing sleek pieces including their S2 Dining Chair a, here it is, sustainably sourced black walnut modernist chair. This summer, it was selected as a feature chair in the London Chancery Project, which means that an order of these chairs will soon be housed in the newly expanded Canadian High Commission in London, England.
GAMLA_S2 Dining Chair_Walnut-16                                                   The S2 Dining Chair (source: Gamla)

Another Studio North highlight was The Brooklyn Exchange, curated by Port and Quarter (a design group out of Vancouver) and composed of a consortium of independent Brooklyn-based designers. My eye fell on the M Lamp, by David Irwin of Juniper Designs. The LED light is operated by a rechargeable battery (it can be recharged up to 2000 times with no degradation). With a dimmer and a simple and elegant look (available in bold orange, sleek white and black), it’s a modern take on a 19th century industrial miner’s lamp.

image_1_147The M Lamp (source: Dave Irwin)

Irwin was also showing his Cross Side Chair, a sleek and stackable chair made from FSC-certified wood (guess, black walnut). The cushions are upholstered in renewable and compostable fabrics ranging from new wool to hemp blends. The interior of the cushion is made from 100 percent natural latex coming from rubber trees.

crosschair_lThe Cross Side Chair (source: Dave Irwin)

One of my favourite products at IDS was something that costs under $50 (it’s even cheaper if you have a 3d printer). It’s called CLUG and is the world’s smallest bike rack. It’s a simple wall-mount clip that fits in a 2″x2″ space.

CLUGCLUGs (source: Kickstarter)

CLUG was designed by the trio at Vancouver’s Hurdler Studios, an industrial design studio and crowdfunded by Kickstarter.

Clug-Bike-ClipThe CLUG in use (source:

Another fun area at IDS West was The District; less interior design and more a sneak peak at one-of-a-kind merchandise. Booth hopping was a kick…admiring wares like heyday design’s milk jugs, hand-spun wool knit blankets from Natural Wool Knits, dock kits made out of Canadian Mint money bags and Joe Carver’s awesome wood sculpture of a bull’s head.

DSC05048Joe Carver’s wooden sculpture (source: Lynda Prince)

Finally on a more macro level, there was a large area showcasing local designers. Ten booths had been transformed by ten different designers each creating a spectacular dining scene. These extraordinary dining environments—from the lavish and romantic to the outrageous and whimsical—were wonderful.

ids west lynda 3

DSC05055ids west lynda 2

Three of the showcased dining room scenes (source: Lynda Prince)

This is what the show should be doing more of (albeit an ‘Ikeaesque’ merchandising approach), showcasing designers doing their thing often using local materials. I spent much of the show in this crowded area picking up on design trends, loving the variety of ideas from a deep talent pool of designers, and getting names for our next reno project!

Thank you, Lynda, for sharing a slice of IDS(West)!

Which item do you think would fit in best at Galerie CO? Tell us in the comments below, or on our Facebook page, or on Instagram or Twitter @GalerieCO

London Design Festival 2014: CO connections

As our regulars know, I am partial to British design. I spent many of my formative years living in London and picked up an enthusiastic appreciation of the English sensibility in design, among other things! I get back quite a bit and a couple of years ago I went over for the annual London Design Festival. What a blast that was! The city full of interesting installations, exhibitions and pop-up shops, showcasing the best of British design. It was quirky, colourful, off-the-wall and I loved every minute of it.

ldf_2014_web_banners_top-02This year the Festival runs from the 13 to 21 of September and I’m not in London, I’m in Montreal. But I will be following what’s going on and reporting back.

In the meantime, if you’re lucky enough to be travelling across the pond this week, have a look at what some of CO’s British suppliers are doing for the Festival, and go visit them and say hello, if you can!

Donna Wilson: Rainy Day Pop-Up Shop

For the duration of the Festival, Donna Wilson will be operating a week-long installation and Pop-Up shop in London’s Shoreditch neighbourhood (BOXPARK / Unit 26, 2-10 Bethnal Green Road).

Donna Wilson fabric“Holding hands” from Donna Wilson’s first collection of fabric (source: Donna Wilson)

To create her Rainy Day Pop-Up Shop, she transformed a space into a Donna Wilson wonderland, featuring hundreds of soft raindrops, murals and panels showcasing her first collection of fabrics, a “selfie station,” knitted creatures everywhere, and limited edition products made especially for the Festival. Select products from Donna’s new autumn/winter collection will be available, along with classic pieces from her signature range. Look for her new collection this fall at Galerie CO.

DonnaWilson_Home_5212 - CopyMaurice, Marcy and Big Ted (source: Donna Wilson)

Donna has also designed a series of woollen fruit for the lifestyle boutique SMUG, that will launch during the Festival.

London Design Festival DonnaWoolen fruit design by Donna Wilson for SMUG (source: Donna Wilson)

Ella Doran: Putting the circular economy into action

Ella Doran will participate in a collaborative live installation at the Victoria & Albert Museum during the London Design Festival 2014: “putting the circular economy into action with ‘huate design’ refurbished upholstered chairs”. The installation is in Gallery 99 and is built from several upholstered chairs that are deconstructed and refurbished in the V&A Design Studio.

For the project, Ella teamed up with two London-based designers (Kyle McCallum and Avantika Agarwal) to create experimental fabrics. She created several designs from material that she collected on a recent trip to Iceland to tie together the look of the diverse chairs that feature in the installation at the V&A.

LDF Ella Doran foldability_collaboration_test_1Folded fabric modules by Kyla McCallum, made of Iceland inspired print fabric Ella Doran designed for the installation (source: London Design Festival)

LDF Ella Doran digital_printing_on_yarnElla Doran’s ‘Rekki in Reykjavik’ digitally printed on horizontally stretched yarn – step 1 ofAvantika Agarwals’s reweave process (source: London Design Festival)

The installation is presented in conjunction with Galapagos Design and The Great Recovery (RSA). Establishd in 2012, and based on the insight that our linear ‘take-make-dispose’ model of manufacturing is throwing up major economic and environmental challenges, The Great Recovery aims to facilitate a shift toward more circular systems, and considers the design industry as pivotal to this process.

Learn more about this interesting initiative that pairs designers with waste management workers to come up with innovative ways to think about new products:

Garudio Studiage: Canine Cartography – Dogs of London

This year, for the London Design Festival, Garudio Studiage will exhibit their interactive magnetic map installation, “Dogs of London,” which explores the connection between Londoners and their dogs (Volte Face, 21 Great Ormond Street). The moveable dog illustrations allow viewers to match their favourite areas and animals.

ldf dog_map_final_wholeDogs of London magnetic map (source: Garudio Studiage)

Where do you think the crazy haired Chinese Crested, or the impeccably groomed Afghan Hound would live?

ldf dog_map_final_detailDogs of London magnets (source: Gaurdio Studiage)

A new range of fridge magnets based on the dog illustrations from the map has also been launched so you can take your favourite dogs home.

ldf dog_magnetsMagnets to take home (source: Garudio Studiage)

HAM: designjunction

HAM will be part of designjunction. Designjunction is among London’s leading design destinations showcasing the very best in furniture, lighting and product design from around the world striking a balance between creative and commercial.

ham-superhero-rabbit_product-images Superhero rabbit print (source: HAM)

HAM will launch its latest collection of ceramics, along with new rabbit prints and cards. Designjunction takes over a centrally-located 1960s sorting office (21-31 New Oxford Street) and you can find HAM at stand G3 on the ground floor.

ham-croquet-rabbit-card-1000-x-1022_product-images Croquet rabbit card (source: HAM)

You will be able to see (and purchase) a full selection of HAM’s new pieces at Galerie CO as of the end of September — including the mugs!

SCP: Simplified Beauty

During the Festival, SCP East (135-139 Curtain Road) plays host to “Simplified Beauty”, an exhibition of contemporary design, a celebration of things made as they should be. Co-curated by SCP founder Sheridan Coakley and British-Japanese designer Reiko Kaneko, the show features a blend of work from Japan, America and Britain, exploring how different cultures approach simplicity and beauty.

SCP-at-London-Design-Festival-2014_dezeen_784_8Adderley Works pendant designed by Reiko Kaneko (source: SCP)

A selection of Japanese products are showcased from the Ishinomaki Laboratory, the internationally acclaimed centre of ceramics, Mashiko, glassware from the Shotoku Glass Company (including the new Ando drinking glass designs by Jasper Morrison), a collection of everyday products by Sori Yanagi and a range of cleverly functioning kitchenware, tableware, utensils and cloths from Matsunoya and Metrocs.

LDF MashikoMashiko ceramics (source: SCP)

From the United States, the show includes a selection of furniture and objects from Brooklyn-based duo, Fort Standard. And SCP presents its own autumn/winter collection for 2014.

SCP-at-London-Design-Festival-2014_dezeen_784_1aElmer sofa by Luch Kurrein, part of SCP’s A/W collection 2014 (source: SCP)

Thornback & Peel: Silent Auction

The talented duo of Juilet Thornback and Delia Peel are launching their new fabric colourways during the Design Festival. To celebrate, they are inviting visitors to drop into the shop in Bloomsbury (7 Rugby Street) to place a bid in a silent auction, for a chance to own a beautiful, vintage mid-century modern chair upholstered in the new fabric. The proceeds of the Silent Auction will be donated to Music as Therapy International, a UK registered charity which devises and delivers innovative, high-impact music therapy projects around the world.

Thornback-and-Peel-LDF-on-Little-Big-BellSilent auction chairs (source: Thornback & Peel)

In the new collection, their classic prints – rabbit & cabbage, pigeon & jelly and jelly & cake – are now available in mustard, charcoal, grey, indigo, duck egg and old pink. Thornback-and-Peel-Silent-Auction-LDFNew fabric colourways (source: Thornback & Peel)

Spectacular new kitsets launched by David Trubridge at Wanted Design

During New York Design Week this year (May 9-20) visitors to the Big Apple were spoiled for choice for interesting design venues, galleries and intriguing design events to attend. Not-to-be-missed is Wanted Design, held each year in the exceptional landmark Terminal Stores building on 11th Avenue in the meat-packing district. This is where CO designer David Trubridge has exhibited for the past four years – and his booth is always a highlight (pun intended, of course).

Wanted Design


This year there was a lot going on over the three-day show that was visited by over 10,000 design lovers. Trubridge and his team built a sumptuous booth anchored by a giant bespoke floor-to-ceiling tree-like canopy. He launched several new “Seed System” lighting kitsets, exhibited a couple of prototypes, showed us his new line of fine jewellery and presented a suite of furniture now available in build-it-yourself kitsets. Just another day in the life of David Trubridge!

Wanted144aDavid Trubridge in his booth at Wanted Design (Source: David Trubridge)

The idea of the Seed System build-it-yourself kitset is central to David Trubridge’s work. He lives and works in New Zealand where his small company is continually doing all it can to reduce its environmental footprint. Yet his clientele is global and Trubridge has determined that the most positive thing that his small company can do for the environment is to reduce the volume of freight that he transports around the world.

UnpackedKouraSeed System Koura pendant kitset (Source: David Trubridge)

Packaging and shipping a light as a kitset results in about 1/40th the volume of freight compared with shipping the same light, assembled. So the kitsets dramatically minimize the overall volume of freight being shipped out of David Trubridge  Ltd. Of course, shipping the kitsets (as opposed to the assembled lights) all the way from New Zealand also makes them more affordable.

SnowflakeIce2Snowflake (Source: David Trubridge)

The Seed System has therefore become an integral part of Trubridge’s design practice, which means a growing range of his iconic designs are becoming available as kitsets to be assembled by the end user. This year, some of Trubridge’s most spectacular designs were added to that list: the Sola and Snowflake pendant lights and the Swish light are now available as flat pack kitsets, launched at Wanted Design.


Swish kitset (Source: Galerie CO)

Trubridge also showcased his Pequod lightshade (in small and large), which mimics the ripples of the ocean using pieces of bamboo and polycarbonate.

IMG_20140517_160924“Pequod” lightshade (right) (Source: Galerie CO)

Alongside the new kitset offerings, Trubridge exhibited two prototype designs. The first, Hush, is a dome-shaped pendant light fashioned with a constellation of LED lights set above a layer of recycled polypropylene felt, chosen for its sound absorbing properties so it is effectively a light fixture that doubles as an acoustic device. The second prototype, Belle, is a new pendant and wall sconce made from overlapping bamboo pieces. Both Hush and Belle are formed with signature Trubridge modules of interlocking elements to allow for flat-pack shipping and assembly without tools.


Hush pendant (Source: David Trubridge)

Trubridge also exhibited a selection of indoor/outdoor furniture. His redesigned Ruth and Dondola rockers are now suitable for the outdoors, and can both also be supplied shipped as a flat pack kitset. The Ruth rocking chair was inspired by Australian designer Ruth McDermott with whom David Trubridge exhibited at the Milan Furniture Fair in his early years. She encouraged him to design a rocking chair, which he did, and he called it “Ruth”. Using the new kitset, Trubridge estimates that we can build our own “Ruth” in 20 to 30 minutes.


Ruth rocker, kitset (Source: David Trubridge)

The second kitset is the extraordinarily graceful rocker – Dondola. According to Trubridge, the name comes from the Italian word for rocker that, as a happy coincidence, rhymes with gondola, which also rocks gracefully as it transports its passengers around Venice.


Dondola rocker kitset (Souce: David Trubridge)

Mark your calendar for next year’s Wanted Design in NYC. It’s a design destination chock full of interesting exhibitors and there’s no reason to think that David Trubridge won’t be back for year 5 with a new crop of inspiring designs to lust after.

Colourful-Seed-System-Kitset-Bamboo-LightsCoulourful Coral and Floral kitset pendants (Source: David Trubridge)

They take New York…CO designers shine at the ICFF

Congratulations to CO designers NLXL and Ronel Jordaan for each winning one of the very prestigious ICFF Editors Awards over the weekend at New York’s 2014 International Contemporary Furniture Fair.

Every year, the ICFF convenes the industry’s top editors and invites them to scout the floor of the Jacob Javits Center to choose the best of the best of the year’s design crop. This year, the award for “Best Wallcovering” went to the small Dutch company NLXL for its latest collection of wallpaper, “Archives by Studio Job”.  The award for “Best Textiles” went to Ronel Jordaan Textiles from South Africa for her sublimely beautiful felt work.

NLXL All designs backdrop Lookbook LoRes

Collection “Archives by Studio Job” (source: NLXL)

In the four years since we’ve been working with NLXL, this is the second time they’ve won this coveted award – the first time being for their inaugural collection, Piet Hein Eek’s wildly successful “Scrapwood Wallpaper”. This year the win was for their bold collection of seven expressive designs, which is a retrospective of sorts of the history of design studio Studio Job. The wallpaper collection had its European debut in April 2014 to critical acclaim at the Salone del Mobile in Milan.

Studio Job Archives Wallpaper

“Withered flowers” (colour) (source: NLXL)

To create the intricate patterns for the nine metre rolls of wallpaper, NLXL meticulously combed through the archives at Studio Job taking images from their extensive library. The references are both traditional and topical, organic and artificial, and convey a narrative that is ornamental, sophisticated, playful and ironic.

NLXL original_nlxl-archives-wallpaper-by-studio-job-alt-deutsch

“Alt Deutsch”, detail (source [cropped]: NLXL)

Studio Job (founded in 2000 by Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel) is known for its eccentric and expressive work that combines a high level of craftsmanship with extreme ornamentation. We agree that these intricate and opulent designs translate beautifully into wallpaper.

Studio Job Archives Wallpaper

 Source: NLXL

By contrast, Ronel Jordaan  a well-established felt artist with an international reputation who lives and works in Johannesburg South Africa, is inspired primarily by nature. Her felted designs eloquently and playfully infuse contemporary interiors with the beauty, simplicity and serenity of the outdoors.

Ronel Jordaan

“Porcupine cushion” (source: Ronel Jordaan)

Using 100% merino wool, Ronel lets her imagination run wild in the creation of rock cushions, pebble carpets, intricately accented wall hangings and throws, opulent floral cushions, and more. We started working with Ronel six years ago, drawn in initially by her collection of “rocks” and “boulders” that cleverly mimic the look of natural stone. Her use of natural dyes and the subtle shading in her work give it a minimalist, realistic and earthy appeal.

Ronel Jordaan 3

Hand-felted merino wool rocks and boulders (source: Ronel Jordaan)

Among other pieces showing in New York were her hand-felted merino wool boulders and rock cushions in metallic finishes – covered with silver leaf, bronze, and combinations that incorporated the natural charcoal grey of her traditional felted rocks.

Ronel Jordaan 4

Felted throw (source: Ronel Jordaan)

All of Jordaan’s felt pieces are made with an eye to environmental and social responsibility. The wool is treated by hand, the soap used is biodegradable, the dyes are lead free, and they grey wastewater is used to grow a vegetable garden. Job creation and training are also at the forefront and under her guidance over  40 previously unemployed women have been trained and are now felters of international standing themselves.

Ronel Jordaan Ndebele Chairs

Ndebele chairs (source: Ronel Jordaan)

Galerie CO is proud to be working with such innovative, responsible and exciting designers and we congratulate them again on the well-deserved recognition they received in New York.

We can’t wait to see what they’ll do next.


IDS14 picks and pics

We’ve needed a few days to recover! But better late than never with a few of our favourite things from our weekend in Toronto at The Interior Design Show (IDS14). So much is from Studio North, which was really packed full of great people showing inspiring work.


storyboard - pendant

The “Plane Cloud Pendant” by Storyboard Furniture Ltd – fb – @

normal goods pendants

The Jube Light by normal goods – fb – Simple, clean and beautiful. Continue reading

Quebec designers to watch for at Studio North, IDS14

We’ll be keeping great company from our home province at Studio North during Toronto’s Interior Design Show (IDS14) next weekend. Lots of our neighbours will be making the trip down the 401.

We’d like to introduce a few who we work with and/or whose work we just admire. They’ll be showing in Studio North as part of a design collective called QC Design. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone and to meeting interesting people from Québec and from other parts of the country!

TOMA Cork Water Drops Trivets

TOMA – Anne Thomas

TOMA is our neighbour in the Mile End district of Montreal. We fell in love with their wooden trivets a while ago and are falling in love all over again with the new cork collection. Designer Anne Thomas is all about graphics mixing form and function, using beautiful materials, creating objects that are both elegant and playful.  TOMA on Facebook  |  TOMA at Galerie CO

Continue reading