IDS23: Moving Parts

Using the theme Moving Parts, Interior Design Show 2023 decided to explore the upheaval the world has experienced in the past few years through the lens of design. How can we design with less climate impact? Where can we look to source and manufacture new parts? How do designs respond to our changes in the way we live?

Moving Parts showcases the innovations and adaptations that address these questions through everyday objects: a table made out of disposable chopsticks (Chopvalue); classic Eames chair remade with recycled plastic (Herman Miller); lounger made out of fishing nets (Vondom); planter that can be shipped flat (Green Theory); storage bench that receives deliveries (North of Modern); furniture designed to be open sourced for the community to build (DesignWith); and the list goes on. Each one has an ambitious story to tell.

Picnic Design was asked to design an exhibit to tie these stories together. In keeping with the idea of Moving Parts and due to time constraints, Picnic Design set out to design an exhibit that involves no building. It may seem antithetical to not build any interior spaces at a show that is all about interior spaces but they were determined to minimize the amount of material generated by the end of the four day show.

Eschewing the traditional exhibition idea of placing objects on plinths in the 60’x30’ space, Picnic Design created a live/work setting that unified all of them, allowing visitors to encounter and enjoy each piece “in situ”. A black and white sectional perspective that is 10’ tall and 60’ long was the backdrop, organizing in sequence the bike lane, front yard, entrance, work area and kitchen. The sectional perspective extends into a 1:1 floor plan that is “drawn” on the concrete floor with tape. The floor plan includes the work area, the living room and the deck. The two drawings together create a space that make sense of the various pieces and literally let visitors to walk inside. By keeping the rendering and floor plan in black and white, the furniture and objects are the only parts that pop in colour.


By the end of the show, all that remains from Moving Parts is a pile of tape, cardboard trees and the rendering on recyclable convert board. The exhibit has come full circle.

Joanne Lam is principal of Toronto-based Picnic Design.