Falling for the DX

The joint – Toronto’s venerable Design Exchange – is really jumping as summer turns to autumn. 

Two notable exhibitions continue. Play>Nation (to Oct. 10) explores the importance of Canada’s great outdoors: “such a significant part of our nationhood that Canadian iconography – the beaver, the maple leaf, the Group of Seven, postcards of the Rockies, images of children playing hockey on frozen ponds – is indelibly linked to the natural environment.” Play>Nation incorporates a host of design disciplines, from apparel to industrial design, along with iconic objects and artworks. Capacity (to Oct. 16) showcases new works by 10 female, Toronto-based designers. Featuring a wide range of mediums (including textile, sculpture, furniture and product design), it examines the word “capacity” as it relates to the role of women in the field of design. (For images of the exhibition opening, see Who’s Who on page 62) 

Je T’Aime Alouette is an official Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2011 independent project. On the evening of Oct. 1, artists Miles Keller and Michele Woodey will transform the DX’s historic Trading Floor into a “sublime territory” – paying tribute to the Alouette Satellite, launched on Sept. 29, 1962, making Canada the third nation, after the U.S.S.R and the U.S., in space. “Although it was switched off after some 10 years, it remains in orbit, ” the artists say of the satellite. “Some say it is still potentially operational and in fact is only ‘sleeping.'”

This year, the DX Black & White Fundraising Gala (Nov. 12) honours Canadians behind two unique global practices: Karim Rashid, head of his namesake firm, and Asymptote Architecture’s Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture. Brothers Karim and Hani, both born in Egypt, were raised in Canada from young ages (5 and 7, respectively); Lise Anne was born in Montreal and raised in Ottawa. Karim is recognized as one of the most accomplished industrial designers in the world, with 3,000-plus products in production in over 35 countries. Hani and Lise Anne, who founded Asymptote (ASY) in 1989, have produced powerful and innovative architecture around the world. Proceeds from the annual gala – always a glittering, glam and genuinely fun affair – raise funds for DX youth programs.

Finally, at a gala dinner on Nov. 22, the Design Exchange presents its annual national awards, in 12 categories ranging from architecture and industrial design to landscape architecture and visual communication.