features
#042 / 2003

Selene Yuen reviews the interior design show

Tangible identities

Canadian designers at the 2003 Interior Design Show, held at the National Trade Centre, Toronto, February 13-16, showcased some well-crafted new twists on furniture design. Among the sleek and shiny offerings from the giants in contemporary furniture, the Canadian products quietly resonated with unexpected materials, practical storage options and witty ideas.

In addition to the Ontario-based designers highlighted here, a strong contingent from the West included John Bird, Doug Lane and Omer Arbel.

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Space Furniture's Puffy Button Stools are a quirky take on seating. Made of clear-lacquered, laser cut steel, they feature bright vinyl upholstery popping up through the laser-cut openings.
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Goudbot tables by Nienkamper provide a simple storage solution for limited living spaces. The tables have an innovative channel moulded into the top, providing a handy home for magazines, books and remote controls.
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Arc Form, already an established builder for architects and interior designers, debuted their 8' long mahogany coffee table. A sheet of hot-rolled steel forms a striking top, with an upper layer that slides along the length of the table. The table doubles as storage, with generous, customizable cabinets and drawers.
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The approach Industrial Storm takes to furniture has always been a synthesis of then and now, of sensual textures and spare lines. Their coffee table boasts a clean, vaguely Asian silhouette, contrasting with the art-deco richness of creamy goat skin.

Part of the Canadian angst is the challenge to define ourselves as a culture. That angst has affected our design culture as well. However, it was apparent from the Interior Design Show that we Canadians are etching out a tangible design identity, one anchored in a pragmatism that seems ever open to new, subtle ideas.

Selene Yuen and John Saunders are partners in Selenium Creative, Toronto. They design and build furniture for contemporary environments. Their latest design is a media centre for plasma TVs, finished on the back to double as a space divider.
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© furniturelink and Selene Yuen 2003 (text and images)