Things change. We all know that. Sometime for the better, sometimes for the worse, sometimes for both at the same time: it can be hard to discern which at first. Let me give you two very recent examples. First, Toronto appeared on a list created by CNN called “Seven design-savvy cities to watch in 2018” (and based on the website itself, the top of said list). According to them, “When Google’s parent company Alphabet announced in October that its urban innovation unit Sidewalk Labs will develop a 12-acre site in the city into a new, high-tech district ‘from the internet up’ using data and sensors, Toronto became one of the most talked about cities in the world overnight and will arguably be the one to watch in 2018.”
CNN went on to cite the recent unveiling of the Royal Ontario Museum’s restored Weston Entrance by Hariri Pontarini Architects to its Italianate Neo-Romanesque grandeur (very nice), but also goofy things like Meghan Markle’s Toronto home and “hip-hop and basketball,” the latter two probably a nod to Drake’s brand new Pick 6 restaurant, the soft-launch of which included a LeBron James-hosted celeb-infused birthday party for best bud Dwayne Wade.
The reopening of the Royal Ontario Museum’s Weston Entrance gives the public an additional point of entry, while re-connecting the Museum to one of the most prominent street addresses in Canada. ( Image via Hariri Pontarini Architects)
Goofy web lists notwithstanding, their point is accurate: Toronto’s metamorphosis into an international design capital is happening at breakneck speed, and some are not sure if Canadian design professionals are getting out in front of it, being caught up in it, or being left behind.
Effects of the second change may take a little longer for the design community to evaluate. On Wednesday, November 29, during the first day of IIDEXCanada, it was announced that parent company Informa will transform The Buildings Show and Interior Design Show by cleaving IIDEX (the contract furniture component) from the former and adhering it to the latter, under the moniker IDS Contract, effective January 2019. “Incorporating IIDEX into IDS Toronto will create a monumental, all-inclusive design show that will better serve our customers and will be an important resource for the greater design community,” says Tracy Bowie, VP of IIDEX Canada.
There is certain logic to Informa’s decision: IIDEX seemed to have, of late, lost its way to some degree. Certain parts are still good (like the ongoing Woodshop exhibit), others not so much (what happened to all the contract furniture?), so maybe this move and partnering will inject the show with much-needed new blood. Time will tell, but remember when IIDEX was moved from its September slot and conjoined with The Buildings Show in December? Mixed reactions, and arguably mixed outcomes. Let’s hope with this new timeslot and a new name comes a conscientious approach to planning and curating that both taps into and helps foster the exploding possibilities within our design industries.