What’s Up

Design for living

The Professional Gallery of the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) will host Design for the Other 90%, an exhibition organized by the Smithsonian Institute’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Curated by Cynthia E. Smith, it brings together design solutions addressing the basic needs of poor and marginalized populations not traditionally serviced by professional designers.

The exhibition explores a growing movement among designers to design low-cost solutions for the “other 90%” -that is, the 5.8 billion people (out of the world’s total population of 6.5 billion people) who have little or no access to most of the products and services many of us take for granted. Design for the Other 90% looks at how individuals and organizations are finding unique ways to address the basic challenges of survival and progress (for example, nearly half of the other 90 per cent do not have regular access to food, clean water or shelter).

“Unconventionally, this exhibition highlights products that are economically self-sustaining, yet affordable to people living on a dollar a day -inexpensive irrigation systems for farming, for instance,” says Charles Reeve, curator of the Professional Gallery. “The new forms of ingenuity here focus on pressing issues like poverty relief and environmental sustainability, both of which are key themes in what we teach and research here at OCAD.”

Currently showing at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Design for the Other 90% launches as part of OCAD’s Scotiabank Nuit Blanche programming. Toronto is the only Canadian stop for the touring exhibition. While it’s in town, the Design Exchange will present a complementary program of exhibits and events.

Design for the Other 90% runs at OCAD’s Professional Gallery from Oct. 4 until Jan. 25, 2009.

Design DNA

In 2005, “design guy” Adrian Salamunovic and “biotech guy” Nazim Ahmed launched DNA 11 in a small apartment in Ottawa, armed with $2,000 and an idea: to create personalized, custom art from a sample of a person’s DNA or fingerprint. Today the company is thriving, with clients in more than 50 countries around the world and its own state-of-the-art printing facility within 3,000 square feet of studio space.

Here’s how it works. DNA 11 sends the customer a collection kit, from which it produces either a DNA Portrait or Fingerprint Portrait. Both are available in multiple colours and sizes, and printed on quality canvas. A wide variety of framing options are available. New this year is the Kiss Portrait, made from a customer’s lip print.

DNA 11’s latest introduction is a special-order product called Evolution -a person’s DNA or fingerprint laser-etched on -inch optical-quality Starfire glass. The price ranges from $2,000 to $15,000, depending on the size and configuration. www.dna11.com

Simplicity itself

The only Canadian finalist at the 2008 International Furniture Competition held in Asahikawa, Japan, is now on the market. Designed by Mario Sabljak of Vancouver’s Flavour Furniture, Simplicity 2 -a clean and snazzy sideboard/ cabinet -consists of a plywood base covered with a hickory veneer, a touch latch door system (to avoid extraneous exterior handles) and acrylic sides that serve as legs. Completely fabricated by hand, it comes in a limited edition of 100 -with no two cabinets the same.

The light elastic

The new softlight, from molo -the little Vancouver design studio that could -is a collection of sculptural lamps made from flexible honeycomb structures. Each person who uses a lamp can create his or her variant by stretching, pushing and pulling the basic form.

Softlight is part of molo’s larger family of soft structures made from papers and textiles, including softwalls, softblocks and softseating. The collection has been acclaimed for its innovative use of material and geometry to create efficient structures that are both exceptionally pragmatic and sculpturally pure. Softwalls and softseating are both in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Controlling its own manufacturing and distribution, as well as design, molo is dedicated to materials research and an exploration of spacemaking. For more information, visit www.molodesign.com.

Gone fishing

Bartlett & Associates has won a “Best of Competition 2008” award from the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), in recognition of the Canadian firm’s “wilderness luxe” reworking of a salmon lodge in the rural Gasp region of Eastern Canada.

The lodge in question is Middle Camp, which opened in the 1860s on what has been called the world’s “grandest salmon river” – Quebec’s Grand Cascapedia. Illustrious guests over the years have included Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Louise; the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson; and sports greats Ted Williams and Bobby Orr. A 54-pound salmon still mounted on the wall was caught in 1896 by Lord Stanley, who would later give his name to the Stanley Cup.

When the main lodge burned, the owners replaced it with a seven-bedroom structure that reflected the architecture of the surrounding buildings. For the interior, they wanted a sense of history and tradition, along with a high level of comfort. Says Inger Bartlett, founding partner of the Toronto design firm, “Our vision was to provide a design solution with the character of a wilderness lodge and the modern-day comforts of an exclusive boutique hotel.”

The new lodge’s two-storey living room features a large stone fireplace, leather sofas and chairs, and antler chandeliers. “We custom designed many of the furniture pieces, which were then manufactured locally by Gasp craftsmen,” says Bartlett. “Each bedroom has unique character with slightly different headboards, unique fabrics on the window seats that coordinate with cushions and area carpets, and Quebec folk art lamps featuring roosters, crossed canoe paddles or duck decoys.”

My Canada includes…

Joel Yatscoff is the young designer behind the Canada Vinyl Collection, a cheeky series of decals featuring icons common to each province. “I was inspired by ex-pat Newfoundlanders, who are so proud of their origins they display Newfoundland decals boldly on their vehicles,” says Yatscoff. “This collection gives the rest of the country a way to proudly display their pride.”

These are definitely decals with a difference. The B. C. version features a pattern of local fruit (incubated in the Okanagan Valley over hot summers) shaded by a single large marijuana leaf (potent “B. C. Bud” is one of the province’s most popular, though illegal, exports). Alberta’s decal pairs a steer head pattern (reminiscent of “I [heart] Alberta Beef” bumper stickers) with an oil derrick (like those positioned over the oil rich geography of Fort McMurray). And Saskatchewan’s presents a single stylized wheat stalk (for the province’s unending fields of grain) atop a perogie pattern (paying tribute to the province’s Eastern European settlers). Designed for indoor and outdoor use on any smooth surface, the Canada Vinyl Collection is available exclusively online at Motherbrand’s Souvenir Shop at www.thesouvenirshop.ca.

Hello, Hstens

Founded in 1852, Hstens – purveyor to H. M. the King of Sweden – makes what are widely considered to be the finest beds in the world. The family-owned company, which has marched to its own drummer for five generations, takes pride in the fact that the beds – handcrafted in Sweden to this day, and not inexpensive – are not only the finest but the most comfortable.

“Hstens” means “the horses”: horsehair is the beds’ main component. Each strand of horsehair functions like a tube that transports oxygen, which helps regulate the temperature around the body and helps evaporate moisture, so the person keeps dry while sleeping. Other all-natural materials used in the manufacturing of the beds include cotton, flax, wool, and pine from the north of Sweden.

It’s been a long time coming, but Hstens has finally opened a flagship store in Canada. Located in Toronto’s historic Distillery District, the new 6,000-foot-square showroom features 17 display beds and the company’s full set of accessories.

Krug’s double platinum

Krug, the Kitchener, Ont.- based designer and producer of office and healthcare furnishings, recently received two Platinum ADEX Awards (Award for Design Excellence) – for Jordan healthcare seating and Corfu multi-purpose and management seating.

Introduced at NeoCon 2007, the Jordan line is defined by a research-based curvature in both the seat and back, which encourages a correct, comfortable sitting posture. “Waterfall” seat fronts and a canted seat angle are designed to help prevent discomfort for the user’s hips and legs, promote good circulation while in a seated position, and assist ingress and egress. Arms have a forward height incline that supports the user’s movement and body weight as he or she moves in and out of the chair.

The Corfu seating collection, introduced early this year, is adaptable to any space. It comes in three distinct styles: plastic seat and back, fully upholstered seat and back, and wood seat and back. Additional models can be specified: wood back with upholstered seat, plastic seat and back with upholstered pads, and plastic back with an upholstered seat pad. Chair frames finishes include silver metallic, polished aluminum and black metallic.

All Jordan healthcare seating products have earned Greenguard certification for indoor air quality.

Best of Canada corrections

On page 39 of our July/August 2008 issue, while the two architectural firms are listed properly under their award-winning projects (the Mixology Lab, George Brown College, and Shaw Conference Centre – Hall D), the design teams are incorrectly identified: the Cohos Evamy integratedesign team is actually the Gow Hastings Architects team, and vice-versa. Also, photographs of two award-winning projects on pages 40-41 were inadvertently reversed: those on page 40 are of the Ledbury residence by Riego & Bauer, while those on page 41 are of the Ravine house by Drew Mandel. We regret the errors. CI