IDSwest 2014 announces speaker lineup

IDSwest has unveiled the featured speakers list, and names include: TV personalities Amanda Forrest, Cheryl Torrenueva, and Sarah Richardson; London-based Flos designer Michael Anastassiades; UK-based colour forecaster Hannah Malein, and influential Dutch designer Bertjan Pot. Industry insiders will want to mark their calendars for trade speakers Battersby Howat Architects, Matt Carr from Umbra, Gray magazine editor Rachel Gallaher and more.


Alykhan Velji, Calgary
Design aficionados will recognize Aly Velji from HGTV’s Designer Superstar Challenge, and regular appearances on CityTV, Breakfast Television and more. Aly specializes in residential and commercial spaces, incorporating modern twists to classic design for an original and timeless look. A recent collaboration with The Reclaimed Trading Company has resulted in Salvage by Aly Velji, a collection of one-of-a-kind reclaimed-wood furniture.

Amanda Forrest, Toronto
A dynamic Canadian design personality, Amanda Forrest’s approachable nature and years of knowledge and experience make her a sought-after speaker and designer. She is a frequent contributor to The Marilyn Denis Show, and her work has been featured in numerous design magazines as well as the coffee table book Spectacular Homes of Western Canada. Amanda’s glamourous and sophisticated style stands out among the rest, gaining her a rare and prestigious opportunity to design the ETalk lounge at the 2013 Juno Awards.

Andrew Pike, Toronto
As the senior design director at Andrew Pike Interiors, Andrew provides design services for residential and commercial properties. Drawing on influences from architecture and history to create innovative yet contemporary interiors, Andrew is in demand for his unique design sensibility. He has appeared on HGTV’s Designer Superstar Challenge, Design Rivals with Chris Hyndman and Steven Sabados, and Rooms That Rock, and is an expert designer on The Marilyn Denis Show.

Billy Halpern, Toronto
The creative force behind Billy Halpern Designs & W Home, Billy’s designs have been seen in print publications and television, as well as private homes, celebrity estates and Landmark Hotels. His fashion-forward style brings a touch of glamour to every room, while simultaneously taking a budget-savvy approach. Billy’s motto is, “It just has to LOOK expensive”. At IDSwest, Billy gives insight on designing bathrooms that seamlessly incorporate style and function.

Cheryl Torrenueva, Toronto
Cheryl Torrenueva’s charisma and passion shine through in every project, whether it’s as design contributor of CityTV’s Cityline, as a fierce competitor on HGTV’s Designer Superstar Challenge, or as host of Food Network USA’s Restaurant Makeover. With new TV pilots and more episodes of design shows in the works, Cheryl’s star is on the rise and is definitely one to watch.

Falken Reynolds, Vancouver; and Reisa Pollard, Vancouver
Do you dream of working in the design industry? Interior designers Chad Falkenberg, Kelly Reynolds and Reisa Pollard give insight into how to make your dream a reality. Whether you’re an amateur ready to go pro, wondering how to transition into the field from your current career, or a designer ready for the next step, these panelists will have advice, real-world experience and tips to begin your journey. You’ll come away with inspiration on how to draw on your own unique experience to contribute to the exciting and stylish world of design. 

Gaile Guevara, Vancouver
This panel with Modern 604 designer Gaile Guevara will see creative married pairs sharing the secrets behind successfully blurring the lines between home life and business. Designers who collaborate frequently across multiple disciplines will share their anecdotes to illustrate the benefits of cultivating close relationships with a wide design community.

Jasmine Vaughan, Portland, USA; and Barbara Hyde Evans, Seattle, USA
Top interior designers from the Pacific Northwest, Jasmine Vaughan and Barbara Hyde Evans, speak on Living Big in Small Spaces. Learn how to make the most of a tight space by utilizing smart storage, clever design, and colour and pattern to maximize square footage. Hear anecdotes, get valuable tips, and see photos from Jasmine and Barbara’s real-life projects, and find out how small spaces have big potential.

Kimberley Seldon, Toronto
Kimberley Seldon is known as the face of three of her own HGTV series, including Design for Living, with Kimberley Seldon, and as a regular contributor to CityTV’s Cityline. She is design editor at Chatelaine magazine, editor-in-chief of Dabble, and is the author of several design books. Kimberley is passionate about sharing her knowledge, and teaches professional development to designers, decorators and stylists through her online learning platform, Business of Design.

Nancy Bendtsen, Vancouver; Collin Burry, San Francisco, USA; and Bret Englander, Irvine, USA
Nancy Bendtsen of Inform Interiors meets up with Collin Burry of Gensler and Bret Englander of Cerno for a panel discussion on the Value of Authentic Design. Gray magazine leads this important conversation with Be Original Americas, the leading North American organization which promotes original design. During this intriguing discussion, explore the hidden costs of knockoff furniture and learn about its effects on the industry. You’ll never see a lookalike the same way again.

Sarah Richardson, Toronto
Canadian Entrepreneur, television producer, and interior designer Sarah Richardson is perhaps best known as the host
of several popular HGTV series which air in over 100 countries worldwide, including Room Service, Design Inc, Sarah’s House and Sarah 101. Sarah’s award winning, modern-contemporary designs address the practical demands and real challenges of modern life. The owner of her own interior design firm for over 15 years, Sarah is passionate about design in all aspects of life, and injects her own enthusiasm, passion and effortless elegance into everything she tackles.


Bertjan Pot, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Meet the man behind the mask! Famed Dutch designer Bertjan Pot, who keeps his identity hidden in portraits, is fascinated with technique, structure and pattern. His instantly recognizable Random Light has become one of the most influential designs in recent years. Bertjan’s latest design, Prop Light, will be unveiled for the first time in Canada at IDSwest 2014.

Michael Anastassiades, London, England
Flos designer Michael Anastassiades creates objects that bridge industrial design, fine art and sculpture. He is perhaps most well-known for his lighting products, which often incorporate mirrored materials like glass or bronze, creating the illusion that the objects are floating and interacting with their environment. Michael’s designs have appeared in homes, hotels, and galleries around the globe, including the Grand Hotel Stockholm and Soho House New York. Michael speaks at IDSwest on opening night.

The Brooklyn Exchange, New York, USA
Asher Israelow is a New York native with a background in fine arts and architecture. As a furniture and building designer he builds with ethically-sourced materials, using them as inspiration to tell a narrative for the “modern explorer”. The Brooklyn Navy Yard studio where he works creates only original and limited-edition pieces designed to last for generations.
Volk Furniture is a producer of handcrafted furniture, built with traditional joinery techniques, each unique design is gilded with delightful touches like inlaid vintage typewriter keys, drawers lined with shirting fabric or one-of-a-kind drawer pulls sourced from antique organ stops.
Patrick Weder marries streamlined architectural elegance with sculptural refinement.  He is inspired by naturally occurring forms and enjoys pushing raw materials beyond their practical applications.  For example, in 2001 Weder created combinations of Corian and wood and continues to refine this pairing with the addition of concrete.
Juniper Lighting is a Brooklyn-based design and manufacturing company founded in 2011. The ethos of the company was formed around the belief that good design is essential and holds the power to change lives. Juniper promotes this ideal by staying true to the Juniper tree, after which the company is named:  Each product embodies simplicity and naturalism in form and function, while holding durability and adaptability at the root.

Hannah Malein, London, England
A consultant from Global Colour Research, Hannah Malein is passionate about surface pattern design, textiles, and colour forecasting. She has been a featured speaker at major design shows around the world, and her insight and creative input is sought after by style and design publications, colour forecasters and interior designers. At IDSwest Hannah will use inspiring visuals and palettes to tell colour stories, and gives the scoop on upcoming materials and trends for 2015 and 2016.

Kimberley Seldon, Toronto
Kimberley Seldon is known as the face of three of her own HGTV series, including Design for Living, with Kimberley Seldon, and as a regular contributor to CityTV’s Cityline. She is design editor at Chatelaine magazine, editor-in-chief of Dabble, and is the author of several design books. Kimberley is passionate about sharing her knowledge, and teaches professional development to designers, decorators and stylists through her online learning platform, Business of Design.


Battersby Howat Architects, Vancouver
Vancouver’s David Battersby and Heather Howat join IDSwest to reveal the processes, challenges and secrets to the success of their award-winning architecture firm. With a multidisciplinary approach—the principals have backgrounds in architecture, interior design and landscape architecture—the firm focuses on precise, technical design, always with an eye to practicality and artistic expression, and with an emphasis on sustainability.

Corey Klassen, Vancouver
Interior designer Corey Klassen will visit IDSwest to provide a thorough understanding of the challenges of designing luxury bathrooms. Planning considerations and building code issues related to modern-day accoutrements will be discussed, and Corey will show how to seamlessly integrate solutions to result in high-end design.

Ema Peter, North Vancouver
Photographer Ema Peter has built a successful career shooting architecture and interior design in both residential and commercial spaces. Go behind the scenes with Ema to uncover lighting challenges encountered when photographing these beautiful spaces. Learn how a photographer chooses the best time of day to create the desired mood and atmosphere, and find out everything you ever wondered about light and how it interacts with interior design.

Lee Feldman and Sarah Dickinson, Vancouver
Even the most creative individual needs an effective process to transform a vision into reality, and in this entertaining and experiential session, THNK co-founder and former CCO at Blast Radius, Lee Feldman, chronicles his own experiences working with brands like Ikea, Nike and Starbucks, revealing how he taught them how to think differently and overcome common obstacles. THNK’s Sarah Dickinson joins Lee in this hands-on session as they share where to look for weak signals, how to form connections, set new habits, and provide practical ways to envision a better, more engaging future.

Matt Carr, Toronto
Matt Carr has nearly a decade of design experience at Canadian design firm Umbra, where he reinvents familiar household objects in surprising modern materials and forms. Reimagining everything from wall hooks to photo frames to soap dispenser
s and tables, Matt thrives on brainstorming and collaborating with fellow designers, and enjoys directing student competitions, allowing him to keep his finger on the pulse of emerging talent. Matt’s appearance at IDSwest coincides with the exciting launch of Umbra Shift, an extension of Umbra that focuses on contemporary influences in the design community.  The result is a collection by a roster of established, emerging, and in–house designers that expresses diverse points of view, yet sits together with a shared belief in ideas that are functional, familiar and forward thinking.

Rachel Gallaher, Seattle, USA; and Amery Calvelli, Portland, USA
Industry professionals won’t want to miss this discussion with Gray magazine editor Rachel Gallaher and PR guru Amery Calvelli from Push Plus Minus as they share tips on pitching design publications, and discuss how to successfully tell a compelling story to a targeted audience in order to get published in a magazine. Architects, designers and others in the business are sure to come away with insight and new ideas on how to promote their brand. Questions are encouraged!

Rena Tom, San Francisco, USA
Rena Tom’s talents span many disciplines: she is Market Editor at Anthology Magazine; founder of Makeshift society, a coworking space for creative freelancers; and a consultant to independent makers, brands, stores and organizations. She is the author of the ebook Retail Readiness, and discusses this topic at IDSwest. If you’re a maker-of-things ready to bring your products to market, this session will impart valuable lessons. Rena will show you how to evaluate your business through they eyes of a buyer, teach how to research and approach the right stores, and edit your line for maximum appeal. Find out how to make a compelling pitch and establish a strong relationship with targeted stores.

Sholto Scruton, Vancouver
Industrial designer and founder of his own furniture-design studio, Sholto Scruton has worked with notable firms to create high-quality custom products and environments. An expert on finely crafted furniture, Sholto will share secrets on how to identify well-made vintage and new pieces and will teach what you need to know to choose furniture for your clients’ homes.