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:
Each 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.
A sleek Gagganau wall oven (source: Gaggenau.com)
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
The 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.
CLUG was designed by the trio at Vancouver’s Hurdler Studios, an industrial design studio and crowdfunded by Kickstarter.
The CLUG in use (source: gearhungry.com)
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.
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.
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)!