Your Show of Shows

With over 1,600 exhibitors occupying both the north and south floors of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and 30,000-plus visitors, not to mention a large slate of prestigious seminar speakers, IIDEX is indeed justified in proclaiming itself Canada’s leading design and construction trade show. The two-day event, which ended December 1st, offered a wealth of innovative ideas, from new takes on old subjects to the latest high-tech developments.

The Mutable Office

Sometimes an office-worker needs to mute out all that open-concept bustle and get down to business. Last year’s IIDEX introduced North Americans to Framery Acoustics’s updated version of the glassed-in phone booth. This year, the Finnish firm presented its Framery Q model: a completely enclosed, two-person cubicle that can be positioned wherever the need for privacy exists. Contrasting the Q’s futuristic styling is the Huddle Rustic Shed from England’s Frӧvi. This sound-dampening, sit-down booth, complete with cushioned banquettes, table and plug-in interface, comes enveloped in an ironic, faux barn board exterior and shingled roof that would be perfect for Jed Clampett and his kinfolk. Finally, Italy’s Fantoni showcased its Acoustic Room, a “box haven” fitted with sound- and reverberation-resistant glass walls and melamine panelling. The display featured a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche –“Noise kills thought”– that has been aptly echoed in recent brain-concentration studies. According to Fantoni’s rep, the company’s business in secondary schools and universities alone is up by 80 per cent this year.


What would IIDEX be without a smattering of smashing lights? Of note were Canada’s Eurofase collection, particularly the Aldo Pendant– a 3D, antiqued aluminum box with inset LED strips, cradling a resin tree branch. But everybody was really talking about Dyson’s foray into fixtures. The British company that seems to be taking over the world one industrial design at a time presented its new-to-North-America Csys Task Light and Cu-Beam Duo Pendant. Both are very low-profile and high-tech. The aluminum task light (also available as a floor lamp) rotates 360 degrees, glides up and down via a small counterweight, and receives its power via a thin, flexible strip attached to its vertical post. Just like the larger direct/indirect light Cu-Beam Duo Pendant, it uses heat pipe technology – a rotational system wherein tiny droplets of water are continually cycled through the fixture’s fins – to keep strong LEDs cooled, thereby maximizing their efficacy and life. Both lights are nifty to look at, just like everything else Dyson produces.

Please be Seated

Canada’s Tusch (yes, it is pronounced “tush”) Seating International has an eye for the innovative and attractive, importing residential and commercial seats, as well as other furnishings from some of the world’s brightest designers. This year, the offerings included the Dunas XL Loungecollection, designed by France’s Christophe Pillet. Low-slung and geometrically pleasing, these lounge chairs feel as comfortable as they look. A special nod goes out as well to Pillet’s laptop-ready Lan Side Tables and Tetris Systemmodular bench seating. The latter – upholstered slabs set in a metal sled-frame – can be accessorized with an Auxiliary Table top that slides right over the bench surface. An easy, ingenious way to transform functionality. Also under the Tusch umbrella comes a unique assortment of outdoor chairs created by Poland’s Mac Stopa. Made from sturdy, lightweight polyurethane, the River Collectionboasts waterproof, UV-resistant and easy-to-clean properties – plus a look that is all its own. The Riverside Chair and Riverstone Ottoman are more or less circular lumps, striated like sedimentary rock, that offer surprisingly soft comfort.

Wood Works

IIDEXCanada 2016 gave us not one but two wood showcases. Ontario Woodpromoted locally sourced lumber crafted by numerous hands into furniture, flooring and even a wood-top turntable. Woodshop, now in its fourth year, continued its challenge to local designers in finding recycled uses for insect-threatened ashwood. Notable in the assemblage were Norman Cramer’s Danish-inspired 5◦ Furniture Collection, Matt Ryan’s lozenge-shaped Wicket Pill Table, and Hamilton Holmes’s cheeky Shell Table, an accessory homage to the Eames Shell Chair. And, still with wood, special mention goes to Ontario-based Atmosphère & Bois for its stunning – and beautifully displayed –selection of reclaimed vintage wood.