Spring Things

Text and photos by David Lasker


May 4

An exhibition of black-and-white architectural photography by Paul Till, titled Buildings, Gardens and Statues, opened recently at Industrial Storm on Toronto’s Queen Street West

1 Hanson Tan, co-owner, Industrial Storm; Marcelo Monteiro, sales; Anita Sorensen, administration; Gary Flaherty, co-owner.

2 Photographer Paul Till, his wife Laurie Gillies, and their daughter, Alice, with Sylvia Bosgra, designer at custom carpet maker Creative Matters.


The Grand Ballroom of the tony Granite Club was a fitting backdrop to toast the 40th anniversary of Tonu Altosaar’s arrival at Bregman & Hamann Architects.

3 B+H co-founder Sidney Bregman; current chairman Dan McAlister; Phil Gillin, vice president of real estate, Sun Life Financial; and Altosaar, the guest of honour.

4 Architect Janis Kravis and designer Tiit Telmet. Kravis has started a new website, www.equalmaterials.ca, that lists Canadian companies, products and services that are environmentally and socially responsible.


May 15

The Danish Way of Living exhibit at the Design Exchange highlighted 12 Danish design companies. Products on display ranged from vintage classic seating by Fritz Hansen and tableware by George Jensen, to the latest in wayfinding from DanSign, which boasts Lloyds of London and Toronto Pearson International Airport as clients.

5 Meredith Whipp, director of Tappatec and importer of Ege Danish carpet; architect Eb Zeidler; Bill Greer, architectural heritage consultant; and Eb’s wife, art consultant Jane Zeidler.

6 Daina Leja, chief librarian at HOK Canada; interior designer Nella Fiorino, designer of several LCBO stores; Esther Shipman, who does strategic marketing in the design sector; and DX president and CEO Samantha Sannella.


May 9, June 14

For his new Michael Lee-Chin Crystal addition to the Royal Ontario Museum, architect Daniel Libeskind designed a limited-edition chair, known as Spirit House, manufactured by Toronto furniture-maker Nienkmper.

7 At the launch of the chair, Klaus Nienkmper and ROM Chairman and CEO William Thorsell watch Libeskind’s presentation.

8 At the opening of the Spirit House room, a tall remnant space turned into a meditation chamber, composer John Oswald sat in the chair. Oswald devised the room’s permanent sound installation, a looping madrigal in wraparound sound.


If IKEA, the world’s largest creator of well-designed, affordable products for the home, can cover the world with megastores, it’s high time that the number-two contender, Toronto’s own Umbra, opened its own freestanding store. Located just off Queen Street West, the 7,000-square-foot store is sheathed in translucent pink cladding and glows like a hip beacon in the night.

9 John Shnier of Kohn Shnier, the building’s architects; with Andrea Katz, intern architect at Quadrangle Architects, and Timothy Johnson of the self-named residential interior design firm.

10 Steve Karsh, assistant Umbra rep in California; Umbra co-founder and vice president of design Paul Rowan; and Garcy Appleby of the Pottery Barn design studio.

11 Umbra co-founder and president Les Mandelbaum with his son Lucas.

12 Janine Grossmann, associate designer at the new Toronto office of multidisciplinary design firm Kasian; Allan Guinan, a partner in Figure3, which did the interiors for the new Umbra store as well as the Scarborough mother ship; and Figure3 designer Ralph Dopping.