DX days ahead

The Design Exchange (DX )is proud to reveal its fall exhibition: Vertical Urban Factory, an examination of the progression of factory design, including the likes of Henry Ford’s Highland Park assembly line. Considering the Quake, the accompanying exhibit, explores seismic design and the science of architecture, featuring Office for Metropolitan Architecture’s (OMA) ground breaking Taipei Performing Arts Centre in China, amongst others. Both launching at the DX on September 13, the museum welcomes design aficionados and ingénues alike to experience projects that affect us all, from the factories that produce our cars and clothing to the natural-disaster-challenging buildings that we frequent every day.

“We are pleased to host these two exhibitions, featuring Canadian and International work. Both take an introspective look at innovation in building development and evaluate modernization from an architectural perspective,” says Shauna Levy, president of the Design Exchange. “They share the challenges and exemplary solutions of today’s contemporary minds, using examples from around the globe to educate and inspire, and allow the viewer to take stock of the way in which architecture affects daily life in every capacity.” 


Curated by architectural historian and critic Nina Rappaport, Vertical Urban Factory surveys historical and contemporary factories around the world, highlighting innovative architecture and design. Engineering and processing methods of significant factory buildings from the early-20thcentury forward are evaluated as a timely response to the ailing economies of post-industrial nations.

Opening to critical acclaim at New York City’s Skyscraper Museum, the exhibit poses the question, “Can factories once again present sustainable solutions for future self-sufficient cities?” While overseas manufacturing allows some products to be made at a lower cost, the production of local products, including high-tech, fashion, and furniture, have the potential to revitalize neighbourhoods and industrial infrastructures.

Tracing the evolution of mass-production technologies and related social issues, Vertical Urban Factory considers boundary pushing city factories in Modern and Contemporary sections, with subthemes of New York, Detroit and Asia. The addition of Toronto will be included for the exhibit’s stay at the Design Exchange.

Henry Ford’s Highland Park in Detroit, where the 60-second Model T was pioneered, exemplifies the origination of functional structure and vertical organization in manufacturing. Volkswagen’s Transparent Factory in Dresden features glass facades that make a visual spectacle of manufacturing, showcasing assembly-line movement in an automated choreography. Immigration-rights banners hang boldly on the American Apparel facility, a pair of early-20th-century industrial buildings in downtown Los Angeles where it manufactures its line of clothing. These contemporary factories address issues of environment and economy by building taller, using high-quality design, and often, cutting-edge technologies. 

View over 200 photographs, drawings, and diagrams of more than 30 projects, a timeline of industry, architecture and labour, designed by Brooklyn-based MGMT Design. Inspect nine architectural models that were created for the exhibit using state-of the-art computer fabrication. Preview six films by documentary filmmaker Eric Breitbart that include historical and contemporary footage. Absorb the environment of conveyor systems and industrial processes. 

As the impact of globalization reshapes cities around the world and physically transforms former industrial centers such as New York, look into the future as Vertical Urban Factory discusses the reintegration of industry into the urban fabric and the potential for new niche markets, sustainable production, and smaller-scale processing.


There are hundreds of populous regions around the globe that are exposed to risks from seismic hazards. Buildings, as we have been reminded by too many recent catastrophic earthquakes, are complex dynamic systems. Oftentimes, aesthetic consideration is put on hold in favour of cost and engineering restraint. Held on the Main Floor of the DX, Considering the Quake features structures that surpass conventional approaches to seismic design. Including full scale seismic technology, architectural and models, renderings, animation and other multimedia platforms, this exhibition goes behind a building’s skin through its response to both man-made and natural catastrophes. 

As an extension of their research on post critical disaster shelters, curators, Dr. Effie Bouras, Postdoctoral Fellow and Professor Ghyslaine McClure, P.Eng, of McGill University, Department of Civil Engineering, bring a ground-breaking perspective and architect’s rationale back into the traditionally engineering-dominated subject matter. From September through December, the Design Exchange will house a sampling of the most celebrated projects, research and technology throughout the world that stand superior in thought, design and practical application. From ARUP’s Hermès Building featuring the work of Renzo Piano Architects in Tokyo, Japan and their York University Subway Station with Foster and Partners in Toronto, to Daniel Libeskind’s Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, to Cast Connex’s seismic technology that will be included in New York City’s World Trade Center 3 design, these projects push the envelope of structural solutions, while remaining true to the designer’s vision.. 




Aug 8 – 23, 2012; Paid Admission

Curated by Juli Capella, BRAVOS introduces the most innovative product design from the Spanish Design Boom. The exhibition features 21 of the most talented and successful artists and designers who are set to trail blaze the future of Spanish design. From internationally renowned designers Jaime Hayon, Patricia Urquiola, and Martin Azua, to young experimentalists Curro Claret and Nacho Carbonell, the Design Exchange is excited to host BRAVOS for a limited time on its Historic Trading Floor.


The Design Exchange (DX) is Canada’s only museum dedicated exclusively to the pursuit of design excellence and preservation of design heritage. At a crossroads of multiple disciplines from furniture and architecture to graphics and fashion, DX exhibitions and talks are curated to be culturally relevant and to reflect the popular zeitgeist. Located in downtown Toronto in the historic and original Toronto Stock Exchange building, the DX annually attracts thousands of visitors of all ages. 

 For more information visit www.dx.org   @DesignExchange   Facebook.com/DesignExchange

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