Eye on IIDEX

Building on the success of last year’s collaboration, the IDC (Interior Designers of Canada) and Architecture Canada | RAIC are again co-presenting IIDEX Canada, a.k.a. Canada’s National Design + Architecture Exposition & Conference. For the past 29 years, IIDEX Canada has been the country’s most comprehensive expo and conference for the design, construction and management of the built environment. Offering trade professionals – working in all areas of design – the latest products, education and networking opportunities, IIDEX Canada promises to be bigger and better than ever in 2013.

The show’s multidisciplinary focus continues to expand with the addition of the International Union of Architects/Public Health Group (UIA/PHG) Forum to IIDEX. This is the first time the prestigious international forum has been held in Canada, with speakers from 26 countries and an expected attendance of 200 leading architects and designers. To complement the influx of healthcare design professionals, IIDEX has enlarged the Healthcare Design Expo for 2013. 

IIDEX comprises eight additional expos-within-the-expo, covering a multitude of subjects: Lighting, Hospitality Canada, Architecture Canada, Landscape Architecture, Textile Design, Retail Design, Workplace Design and Material World. 

Brand-new attractions abound in 2013, including the half-dozen major ones outlined in these pages.

“The Bunkie”” is the world debut of a full-scale functional Bunkie at IIDEX. Designed by the Bunkie Company’s Evan Bare (of 608 Design), Nathan Buhler and Jorge Torres (both of BLDG Workshop), it’s a fusion of furniture design and architecture. The Bunkie’s interior maximizes the potential for small spaces by designing for three modes: Sleep, Play and Open. With a construction methodology that allows it to be entirely prefabricated as a complex jigsaw puzzle and shipped flat-packed to site, this Bunkie is a highly functional, transformative space in elegant form. 

“IIDEX Woodshop” is a timely response to the devastation caused by the emerald ash borer to ash trees in Toronto. The exhibit draws attention to the issue, placing an emphasis on its cause due to globalization. Further, it showcases creative ways to use a material that would otherwise end up in landfill – with prototypes by 10 established and five emerging Toronto-based designers, collected through a juried competition. Confirmed designers include Brothers Dressler, Heidi Earnshaw, Rob Southcott Studio, Karen King and Scott Eunson Studio.

“IIDEX Glamping” examines that hot new trend, a blend of glamour and camping, prized by those who want to commune with nature but not quite rough it. Toronto’s Mason Studio offers a custom-designed, interactive campground: an urban getaway fusing the great Canadian outdoors and the modern comforts of the great indoors.

“Déjà Vu” by Tracy Pepe is a sensorial exhibit that shows the viewer how to experience a space with his or her eyes, nose, mouth fingers and ears: “smelling colour, seeing music, hearing shapes and feeling taste.” Pepe, creator of 2012’s innovative “YSmell Project,” is the principal of Nose Knows Design.

The subtitle for “Modernism at Risk” is “Modern solutions for saving modern landmarks.” Sponsored by the World Monuments Fund with support from Knoll, it features an exhibit of large-scale images by noted photographer Andrew Moore and interpretative panels with five case studies exploring the role designers play in preserving Modern landmarks. All five are fascinating: ADGB Trade Union School (1930), Bernau, Germany, by Hannes Meyer and Hans Wittwer; A. Conger Goodyear House (1939), Old Westbury, New York, by Edward Durrell Stone; Grosse Pointe Public Library (1954), Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, by Marcel Breuer; Riverview High School (1958), Sarasota, Florida, by Paul Rudolph; and Kent Memorial Library (1972), Suffield, Connecticut, by Warren Platner.

The “International Pavilion” expands for 2013. For the second year, it features leading Italian and international export-ready brands not represented in Canada or North America. More than 25 companies from Italy and Europe will launch their products at IIDEX this year. The pavilion itself is designed by Milan/Toronto architects Enrico Glauco Cleva and Sara Viarengo; it includes over 2,000 square feet of exhibit space, a lounge, an exhibit of Moleskine’s new Millbook photobooks, and Swipe Design Books.

The four “IIDEX Keynotes” this year are particularly well chosen.

Delivering the Design Keynote (“The Power of the Dream Team”) is Luca Nichetto, founder, Nichetto & Partners in Venice, Italy. Collaborating with a wide variety of Italian and international companies, Nichetto produces award-winning work ranging from furniture and interiors to glassware and textiles. He will share his insights on successfully collaborating with key allied pros, which he refers to collectively as the “Dream Team”: architects, interior designers, product designers and lighting designers.

Delivering the Architecture Keynote (”Looking; Glass”) is Charles Renfro, partner, Diller Scofidio + Renfro in New York. Renfro is partner-in-charge of numerous projects by the acclaimed architecture firm. He will show how glass has become the single most influential material in the contemporary city, taking listeners on a bottom–up journey through two of DS+R’s notable projects undertaken within existing New York buildings: The Brasserie, located in the Seagram Building – perhaps the best-known glass building in the world; and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Delivering the Healthcare Keynote (“A Call to the Action Through the Power of Design”) is David Webster, partner, IDEO. Webster will show how his global firm – which takes a human-centred approach to helping clients make a difference for patients, the people in their lives and healthcare professionals – looks at health and wellness through a broad lens. In addition to the physical space, he looks at many other dimensions of the user experience, including digital aspects, service, communications and products.

The Hospitality Keynote (“Checking Into the World: Innovative Hotel Design with George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg”) takes the form of a discussion with the partners of design firm Yabu Pushelberg and Ilana Weitzman, editor-in-chief of Air Canada’s enRoute magazine. With offices in New York and Toronto, Yabu Pushelberg creates timeless designs worldwide; since its first hospitality project with Four Seasons in Tokyo, the firm has been pushing the boundaries of hotel design around the globe. The design duo will explain how strategic design can help hotels evolve to meet the needs of today’s traveller.

All this plus hundreds of innovative products and services; a full roster of awards ceremonies and exhibits; CEU-accredited seminars; receptions, tours and other networking opportunities. Hope to see you there: please drop by the Canadian Interiors booth.

Held at Toronto’s Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, IIDEX Canada runs Sept. 26-27. For more information, visit iidexcanada.com.  cI