An illuminating experience

This year marked 25 years of IIDEX/NeoCon Canada, with lights, cameras and plenty of design action.

Attending architects and designers were able to touch and feel their way through Material World with its premiere exhibit, Think: Material. It was a designer’s playground with textiles, fabrics and cutting-edge materials to stimulate the senses. A variety of options were presented to get creative juices flowing and give new inspiration to projects.

While some projects were still searching for inspiration, others were receiving celebration at Canadian Interiors’ own 12th annual Best of Canada Design Awards. This year marked several changes for the awards: it was the first time the event was hosted on the IIDEX Keynote Stage, and the first time that winners were not announced until the ceremony. Glen Baxter from CTV’s In Fashion emceed the event and, along with sponsoring dignitaries from Teknion, Steelcase and Inscape, announced the 20 surprised winners.

An IIDEX favourite, Light Canada was back again this year with more than 100 exhibitors from Canada and abroad. The focus was on sustainable lighting and advances in LED technology, as well as exploration and manipulation of different elements in lighting design.

Lighting keynote speaker Stephen Knapp, an acclaimed lighting designer, conveyed the journey that led him to develop a technique to bend and manipulate white light to create a colour spectrum. Unique to this year’s IIDEX, Knapp created a 12-by-24-foot light art installation, entitled “Castled Void,” which sent brilliant colours stretching over a vast white wall canvas.

Creating another IIDEX must-see, Toronto retailer MADE took lighting to a whole new place: the dark side. Its Radiant Dark exhibit, designed by Julie Nicholson and Shaun Moore, showed the various aspects of modern, emerging Canadian design, with a focus on intriguing lighting pieces.


Element, designed by Mark McKenna, is the first LED task lighting solution offered by Humanscale. Highly sustainable, consuming only seven watts of power to achieve the same lighting as a 70-watt incandescent bulb, Element is composed of eco-friendly aluminum and recycled content. The unique design stems from heat-reducing properties; the metal fins keep the unit cool to extend the life of the LED lamp.


Eurofase’s Orillia is a Victorian Gothic — style chandelier with curving arms, reminiscent of a dragon’s scales, that each end with a flower-like cup where 10 torch-flame inspired, 60-watt bulbs peek out like beacons. The form is created with clear glass and the pink hue added later with granulated coloured glass poured into the interior. Orillia is also available in its clear state and in amber or black.


Cali Balles and Don Maclennan’s Shadow lamps show that imperfection can be beautiful. Starting out as perfect glass forms of spheres and ovals, the shapes are corrupted through a prolonged heating process causing the glass to wrinkle and fold into itself. Shadow lamps are available in tall and round versions in various sizes, and come in smoke grey, sandblasted clear glass, or custom colours.


The I Beams, by Kelly Palmer and Melanie Zanker, are a play on the original architectural steel beam. They are deceptively light, made from lightweight powdercoated aluminum, and affixed with three to six light bulbs. I Beams are available as hanging pendants or standards, and both are also fully customizable in respect to size, colour and number of bulbs.


Lightform showcased Vibia’s outdoor sculpture light Break — by designers Xucl and Alemany — cleverly named due to its appearance of breaking off. The slit between the breaking block pieces emits a pleasant and subtle light ideal for enjoying the evening outdoors. Break is available in both floor models and wall fixtures, and comes in various sizes with finishes ranging from urban concrete to modern lacquered finish in white.


The Centre Pivot Door, from DIRTT Environmental Solution, is so discrete it could pass for a solid wall in the closed position. Opened fully, it locks position to allow for a constant flow of traffic. It installs quickly and cleanly with minimal parts and pieces, and will make any conference or meeting area elegant and private.


Marini, designed by Conrad Marini for Teknion, is a highly adjustable and comfortable new executive task chair, with a stylish, streamlined and finely detailed aesthetic. The backrest remains in contact with the user’s lumbar area at all times, giving maximum support during day-to-day office tasks. The seat is outfitted with molded comfort foam to help evenly distribute weight.


The simple, linear forms of the Layla Landscape collection, by Boss Design Inc. — a North American joint venture between Tayco and Boss Design — makes for a sophisticated seating choice in any lounge or reception area. Each of the collection’s pieces incorporates a series of magnets, allowing for easy and neat alignment. Two base options are available: steel tubular frames or individual polished aluminum legs.


Humanscale’s V7 articulating wall station combines ergonomics with economy of space to provide easy computer access for compact healthcare environments. With its smooth vertical track, the V7 allows for a 51-inch total adjustment range. A solution to tight spaces, it also allows a monitor to extend 36 inches, and a keyboard 47 inches from the wall. A hidden cable-management system keeps loose cords neat and out of the way.


As the name suggests, Keilhauer’s Vanilla executive task chair is a simple, elegant seating option that goes with everything. Vanilla is offered in a mid-back height, and can be dressed up or down with a choice of upholstery or arm options. It is also the only executive seating item on the market that incorporates Keilhauer’s Pelvic Balance Point technology, which ensures equal comfort and support for men and women alike.