Toronto’s RAW takes over storage locker 3202 for this year’s RAW MATERIAL design bash

A cavalcade of installations infiltrate storage locker 3202 as RAW turns 11,000 square feet of industrial canvas into its not-to-be missed annual architectural and design celebration.

Each year RAW hosts hundreds of key players, influencers and guests from Toronto’s design and architecture community, exploring ground-breaking themes in urbanism and architecture. On June 25, RAW invites the industry to get up close and personal with the building blocks of Toronto with its 7th annual event, RAW MATERIAL.

Entering the sweeping industrial space, just off the rail path in The Junction, guests will rediscover the materials that have created Toronto’s famously expanding skyline as they collide with a collection of large-scale installations that overwhelm the senses. RAW’s studio has crafted a playground of interactive pieces that demand reconsideration of the most basic building materials: wood, masonry, glass, metals and even fabrics.

“In the design and builder community, we spend our days obsessing over how to manipulate these resources to create structures for our clients and the culture at large,” says Roland Rom Colthoff, rirector of RAW. “We want to create an atmosphere where people will have the opportunity to play with these building blocks – let their imagination run wild like when they were kids.”

A residential neighborhood will hang from the ceiling, with projections and graphics inviting onlookers to take in the dynamic interior articulations. Oversized, illuminated glass cases will provide a canvas for glowing contributions from attendees. Common 2×4 framing is pushed to extremes with a spiraling, structure that cuts through surrounding airspace, while metallic fabric provides a striking backdrop for celebrity DJ Alex Merrell, whose client list includes Louis Vuitton and Armani.

Sublime Catering chef Michael Tong has crafted a menu that draws inspiration from the RAW theme with provocative dishes prepared using the RAW MATERIALS being celebrated: cedar smoked trout; crepe roti cooked on a large slab of iron; three types of Mongolian hot pots cooked in oversized glass; and freshly made warm ricotta hung from architectural fabric are but a few of the offerings being prepped.

Says Colthoff, “We really wanted to demonstrate all the ways these deceptively common materials interact with our everyday lives. The applications are endless.”

Everything in the space will be custom built, emphasizing the flexibility of the materials being celebrated. Heaps of scrap metal and 3,000 bricks will become the mortar for a steam punk vibe cocktail station featuring old school Victoria Sprits and Fentimans tonic cocktails, as well as a selection of beers from Nickle Brook Breweries and Ontario Wines.

RAW MATERIAL is the latest in a tradition of anticipated annual RAW events, which have gained notoriety for boundary-pushing themes. Last year, RAW ENERGY took over a downtown parking garage as people-powered technology (including a human-sized hamster wheel) generated energy for the occasion. Past events include a wild installation in Toronto’s oldest working bread factory, live wrestling matches and a comic book come to life.

The RAW MATERIAL installations will be unveiled on June 25 starting at 6 p.m. Make your way through the maze of storage units at Planet Storage to locker 3202 to have your look. Planet Storage is located at 1655 Dupont St. – a five-minute walk north of Dundas West Station.