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Things TO DO: Toronto Design Offsite Festival 2017

The Toronto Design Offsite Festival (TO DO) is Canada’s largest cultural celebration of design with over 100 exhibitions and events forming Toronto’s design week, January 16-22, 2017.

Going into its 7th year, TO DO transforms Toronto into a hub for creativity, taking design and art out of the studio and into the urban sphere, bringing people together to celebrate contemporary culture. We provide opportunities for emerging talent, and engage the community with exceptional and accessible public programming.

Here are my day-to-day events that are worth trekking out into the cold and seeing these exhibits live in the flesh.

Monday – TODO kick-off party

This is the night where designers, architects, artists, and craftspeople, will mix and mingle in the historic Church of the Holy Trinity while enjoying, drinks, music, and an installation created by the Design Fabrication Zone, Ryerson University’s interdisciplinary incubator for design and fabrication.


Tuesday – Evolution at Design Exchange

From flora and fauna-inspired underwater eco-turbines to mussel-inspired soy adhesives and bird beak-looking trains to breathing buildings, the natural world has increasingly become a source for design innovation. ‘Evolution’, curated by Sanam Samanian, examines how biomimicry – the design of products, services, and systems that imitate nature’s models – has given new rise to design thinking. More and more, designers are looking to nature for responsible design solutions, which has been fuelled by innovation in technology.

This exhibition showcases a multi-sensory environment that responds to present-day issues that are affecting design practitioners through a survey of products, things, and solutions. Explore how a group of Canadian designers take a closer look at the naturally inspired paradigms, such as biomimicry, and examine their role and influence in the evolution of design and how they are creatively solving man-made issues and conflicts through design informed by nature.

What is the future responsibility of the designer? How are designers evolving in response to rapid technological advancements? What role does nature play? And, finally, can Human Intelligence design better than nature?


Wednesday – Sniff Bar

Pour yourself a fragrant cocktail, awaken your nose.

Meet the perfumer Tracy Pepe, and tickle your nose with fragrant notes of bergamot, lavender imported from Provence. The Sniff Bar is an interactive scent installation that captures the art of scent design, and promises to unlock your mind and open your creativity well beyond your imagination. Every emphasis has been made to create a sublime space for the discerning urban dweller. The signature scent, is among a number of refined amenities designed to elevate the customer experience.

True to apothecary blending, these raw materials are natural, some organic and all to the quality of Tracy’s palette. This is Scent Design.


Thursday – Institute without Boundaries – Reflections

This year’s IwB Students invite you to join them for Reflections, an interactive exhibition featuring their work on Symbiotic Regions. Take in and share unwritten histories of Toronto’s waterfront as we imagine its future. Drinks and snacks will be served

This exhibition is in partnership with Waterfront Toronto as they undertake the largest waterfront redevelopment in the world.


Friday – Interior Design Show

For the 19th consecutive year, the Interior Design Show (IDS17), presented by National Bank, will welcome industry masterminds from around the globe to Toronto during the city’s notable Design Week. The four-day long event will transform the Metro Toronto Convention Centre into an oasis of design from January 19 to 22, as designers gather to forecast 2017’s top trends. Exhibitors showcase design innovations and mesmerizing feature installations that propel creativity to the forefront of conversation.


Saturday – Come up to my Room – Love Design Party

Come Up to My Room (CUTMR) is the Gladstone Hotel’s annual 4-day alternative design exhibition. Each year CUTMR provides artists and designers the opportunity to take risks, to push their ideas, to evoke meaning not just function. For CUTMR 2017, curators Jana Macalik, Christophe Jivraj and Lukus Toane have put together a group of innovative creators that will transform all four floors of the hotel with their immersive installations. We still don’t know what it will look like, what direction everyone took—and we won’t know until the doors open.


Sunday – TO DO Tours: Domestic Architecture for Well-being

New to this year’s Festival, TO DO Tours is a signature event series of designer-led tours that offer access to some of the more recent and interesting architectural projects that make Toronto a great place to live, work, and play.

Informed by our 2017 theme of ‘Living Well’, TO DO has selected a handful of projects that explore the many intersections of design and well-being from both public and private perspectives.

This tour focuses on three examples of recent domestic architecture in Toronto that positively transform space for everyday living, each with a unique twist. With a small footprint, the Solares House by Solares Architecture adapts an older west-end home to create healthy, sustainable, and functional living environments through innovative construction materials and methods. Across the city, Shim-Sutcliffe Architects’ Laneway House takes advantage of underutilized urban space to create a calm, warm, and inviting living environment. Completing the tour is Cascade House by Paul Raff Studio. Altogether, these three houses show the range of ingenuity and innovation that marks the impact of domestic architecture in the world’s most diverse city.


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