Good Show

Best of Show

More than 50 product awards were handed out at IIDEX/NeoCon Canada 2008, which saw record attendance set for the second year running. We’d like to give our own special mentions to five of our favourite award winners.

Simple, stackable Oneman/Twoman chairs, by Dietiker Switzerland, come in either a straight or “waisted” silhouette, and offer a range of easily changeable options, including writing tablets, ganging connections and upholstery covers. But it’s their rad aerodynamic armrests that really knock us out.

Office flooring need not be boring, as modular tiles from U. S.-based Tandus illustrate. With Manufactured Landscapes, each set of three tiles presents a series of seven shifting tones, weaves, piles and patterns, ensuring that no two installations will ever look alike.

The C01 Round LED Light, from Go Lighting Technologies, provides Flat LED lighting in a package 600 mm in diameter and just a scant 24 mm high. Utilizing only 60 watts of power, this ergonomic fixture also features two dimmer switches -one to adjust levels anywhere between a bright 5800k and an intimate 3700k, and the other to set colour temperature from white to warm.

The Granger Collection from Nienkmper offers high design and low-slung comfort. The Granger chair is said to have been built to mimic the curves of a waterfall; kudos to the armed version, which gives the impression that its sinuous body has been punched out of a single piece of material. The complete Granger grouping includes simply shaped benches and tables with slim steel-tube bodies that add to the overall modern profile.

Modul Space by Bosse Design, from Klaus by Nienkmper, was inspired by the work of Danish designer Poul Cadovius. Glass, tubular steel and melamine-finish- MDF components form the building blocks of these sleek office furnishings. Workplaces requiring frequent reconfiguration will now be able, with a minimum of fuss, to adjust their furniture to their needs.

Winner of the Innovation Gold Award, the canhome booth built by George Brown College’s Institute Without Boundaries (in partnership with the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation) proposed a green- based habitat for humanity that would be the envy of every vegan in B. C. Its exterior dome shape, sketched in by rounded wooden ribs with hints of heat-absorbing, air-insulating double-wall cladding and an ozone- friendly white reflective roof, resembled an overturned rowboat or a beached whale. According to associate designer and temporary tour guide Marc Kennedy, this circular form offers “30 per cent more efficient air convection than a conventional square.” It also makes the open-concept interior appear warmly inviting.

Can Dig It?

This sense is further enhanced by furnishings from SML in a subtle blend of bleached birch veneer and Forest Stewardship Council plywood, punctuated by shots of apple green in Ciot’s recycled ground-quartz countertops in the central kitchen/dining area.

A water recycling cistern and Viessmann on-demand gas hot water system in the wheelchair-accessible bathroom completed this energy-efficient dome-icile which, like its Molo corrugated cardboard ottomans, was designed as much as possible to ship flat -thereby reducing those pesky carbon Light Canada, the show within the IIDEX show, was bigger and better than last year’s edition. Ironically, it celebrated everything small: the twenty-foot-high Nemo streetlight from Schrder Montral -a stainless steel and acrylic tube illuminated by metal halide -was one of the few lighting items at the show that was not LED- based and could be seen without putting on a pair of reading glasses.

The Light Fantastic

Tininess has invaded the architectural lighting world, with fixture manufacturers seemingly vying over whose is the smallest. Visitors had a hard time suppressing “Isn’t that cute?” sighs over such offerings as Montreal’s Eklipse’s LED collection, including eyeLED, airplane air vent-inspired swivel “eyeball” spots; and spotLED. two-inch-high versions of Hollywood searchlights.

Apart from all the practical brushed aluminum products small enough to slip into a jeans watch pocket, three large “art” conversation pieces -make that two fixtures and a booth -were illumination standouts. Toronto’s TPL Lighting created a buzz with its Viabizzuno Bamboo installation, featuring two interior-lit, seven-foot-high coloured fibreglass wands that plug into an eight- inch-square tile base. Also in the TPL display was a one-of-a-kind chandelier called Fiona from Montreal’s Absolux, which used a series of cunningly halved patterned lampshades to hide a half- dozen of those eco-ugly fluorescent bulbs. And the booth that blew us away? Toronto sculptor Ralph Russo’s Wired OFX, with its “Why hasn’t anyone else thought of this?” lampshade-like structures (for up-turned LEDs) made from such cool materials as biomorphically shaped stainless steel fabric.


Anshen + Allen, a design firm from Boston, Mass., presented its ideal version of how hospitals should be via its special Green Patient Room display. According to LEED-certified rep Michael Stack, healing is all about relief of patient stress. Therefore, calming earth tones were applied to the walls and floor; natural light was allowed in through open windows, while synthesized light was kept indirect. Even a small nightlight was shaded in amber, which apparently helps lower blood pressure and fine-tune circadian rhythms.

The patient bathroom featured an easy-to-use Euro Wet Room -a simple stool and hand-held, low-flow shower wand -instead of an easy-to-slip-in tub/ shower arrangement. The nurse’s station and separate dedicated guestroom were both panelled in wood laminate, tough on germs but pleasant to contemplate. More infection control came from sealed lighting fixtures, foot-pedal controls on both the nurse’s chair and patient’s “chair-bed,” and an interesting ventilation system in which low-wall air rises up and out by virtue of natural heating, thereby eliminating the threat of circulating contaminants.