Friday, February 23, 2007

Sneak Peek in Style: Interior Design Show 2007

Last night champagne flowed and painted-white cirque-robats glowed while media types mingled in an interior design fantasy world at the preview for the Interior Design Show 2007. I was fortunate to gain entry into the magical kingdom for a sneak peek at the fanciful design in store for us this year.

As expected, the usual design stars - Debbie Travis, Lynda Reeves and Brian Gluckstein - will be there peddling their wares, but none seemed to offer any notion of innovation or inspiration, except perhaps what we can expect the next hot colour of the season to be. Travis' "no photographs please" living space was decked in spooky black and orange. All I can say about that is "Boo!"

Moving away from the dens of domesticity, local Toronto designers were making a splash. Here are my top picks for Toronto design talent.

1. Adept with porcelain, artist Ken Gangbar, creates fluid sculptures and installations for clients from TO to HK. If you want to give ceramics a whirl too he offers workshops from his studio in Liberty Village.

2. Everything Queen East shop Up to You showed, I wanted to buy. Coolest are the wood carved clothes hangers depicting New York, Tokyo or Paris skylines, though they are $120 a pop and there's no deisgn for TO. There is an "I Heart ______(blank)" sticker though. That's where TO can go.

3. I was seriously blown away by the modern stand-alone apartment and eco-friendly fireplaces made by Ecosmart. No gas, no hard connection. Great for any place that needs a little warming up.

4. Utillity in a tile? That's where Utilitile comes in. I found these walnut wood tiles in the prototype section. Following form and function is truly the way to a Danish girl's heart.

5. Simple, practical shelving by Sheridan made a big statement. The statement is "I'm fun, and smart, dammit!" Made by, and for, students so it's got to be.

The Interior Design Show takes place this Saturday and Sunday at the Direct Energy Centre, CNE Grounds. Tickets are $16 online or $18 at the door.

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