Chance to shine

At 17 years and counting, Toronto’s Interior Design Show has had its ups and, more rarely, its downs. But this time around, everything seemed to fly. So much so, that it was hard to pick just a handful of notables from the busy, buzzing floor of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. We have, nevertheless, given it our best shot. 


Canadian lighting designer Saleem Khattak, owner of Vancouver-based Archilume, introduced a new configuration of energy-efficient LED chandeliers. The Archilume P28 is completely customizable and installed on site – so each installation is one of a kind.


A fun pendulum pendant, fresh off the press and CSA approved. The brainchild of Toronto sculptor/designer/visual artist Eugene Paunil, this standing lamp called Light W8 is structured in maple and walnut, and uses a denim or canvas sock filled with river stones as a counterweight to lift and lower its position.


Just going into production in Toronto, the sleek, prototype Aerelight desk lamp features organic LED lights with three dimming options controlled by capacitive touch. Merely tap any portion of the lamp’s anodized aluminum body to turn it on, down, down and down, and off. BTW, you can also wirelessly recharge your cellphone by simply setting it on top of the base.


New from Toronto’s AM Studio Custom Lighting & Glass is this ’70s throwback – an upright pole with hand-blown glass shades from Karli Sears, available in five different tones. Adjustable, capable of being wired up to an outlet or down to a plug, the Blooming Post Lamp can be placed pretty well anywhere in a home, allowing for instant nostalgic enjoyment.


Deceptive simplicity, faceting and walnut are trends, and they were on display at the National Design Collective sales table at Designboom Mart,  a new retail showcase. The design firm’s Dark + Stormy Night pendant lamp is a nifty, near-geodesic dome made from joining together 20 pieces of precisely cut solid wood and laboriously lathing the whole into a hollow, light-filled sphere. NDC co-founder Heather Lam claims its inspiration was equal parts a Canadian cocktail, Buckminster Fuller, and a book on diamond cutting.


Launched last year, the Belle de Nuit chandelier by Lladró, Spain’s premier porcelain maker, is a whimsical swirl of cheerful, Crayola-like colours that makes you happy just to look at it. LED-wired, available in 12-, 24- or 48-light configurations, and set with charming Porcelain “fabric” shades, this array truly would brighten up any abode. Available in several different colourways.


In many ways, Peter Coolican represents the real reason we walk the design shows – to meet new artists and craftspeople who have something wonderful to express. Based in Toronto, this young woodworker specializes in creating small-batch, limited-run furnishings imbued with a timeless sense of refinement. A stand-out piece is the Palmerston stool. Built from Niagara black walnut, featuring Shaker-influenced tapered legs and stretchers and fitted with a through-tenon, faceted seat curved slightly top and bottom, it is beautiful to behold, to touch, and to perch oneself on.


A further reason to attend shows like IDS is to see what some of our favourite designers  have been up to lately. This time around, the king of quality kids’ furniture, Ralph Montemurro – of Monte Design Group Inc. – presented his Rockwell basinet. This plain, U-shaped basket with washable upholstery cover can either rest in its sturdy chrome frame fitted with gentle wooden rockers, or be lifted out for safe bed-cuddling with baby.


Quebec’s Kino Guérin is another go-to designer. This time around, the master manipulator of bent plywood showcased his Nebula console table, a twisting, turning feat with no feet, offering the ironic premise of flowing motion set in stasis.