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The Blue Party – The Interior Design Show 2004 – February 12th.


TRIBE Member
Ok, this is the romp to which I would never make it out to if it wasn't for a hook up from alexd. I enjoyed the affair a lot more than I thought I would, since I mostly asked for the passes as a surprise for my interior designer girl and figured I will just tag along and see what the fuss is about. Well, there was a shitload of cool stuff to look at, and I don't mean just the inanimate objects, either. But being an interior design philistine, I decided to let my girl Anna do the review of that one. She went for it, and you can tell the woman's got her passion for the work:

Arriving at the Interior Design Show’s Blue Party at the National Trade Centre, you would think that you’re going to a come-back concert for some middle aged super star, just by the sheer magnitude of people, spotlights and traffic. But that’s not the case here. At closer examination, you become surrounded by design and atmosphere beyond your expectations. The Interior Design industry likes to party and they are known for typical party fare which usually include; an endless supply of free food, free alcohol, great entertainment and of course amazing surroundings. This event was no exception. Food, drinks and good music make for one great party, but once you got past all of that, you were in for a taste of progressive, extraordinary, and inspiring examples of we call Contemporary Canadian Design. Although still in its developing stages and yet to be recognized world-wide, Canada does have its own design flavour, one that reflects the multiculturalism present in our society. As an attendee of this and similar trade shows for the past seven years, I know where to find these examples amongst numerous exhibit booths showcasing everything from interior finishes to every possible invention you might need to make your home a personal sanctuary. To any consumer, your wildest interior design dreams start at this show. Nothing really stood out for me this year except for the Kline furniture booth. Kline is an up-and-coming furniture design company from Ontario who debuted their first line at the show; stylistically unique and modern with a Jetsons-like quality. I had a sneak preview e-mailed to me the week before the show and when I saw the pieces in person, I was truly impressed.

Being a seasoned Interior Designer, I know that the best examples of progressive Canadian design can be found at the Concept Spaces Exhibit, with this year’s topic, “What makes you wealthy?” Here, three interior design firms were given 600 square feet of space to showcase their investigations and interpretations of what makes us wealthy in today’s consumer-driven world.

As we entered the first exhibit by Bruce Mau and his internationally renowned multidiscipline design firm, we were stopped by written word on a wall, which began our reflection on what truly gives wealth to our lives. In further exploration of this exhibit, you entered a space entirely plastered with black and white imagery, mostly of people, on every piece of furnishing down to the forks and plates. My first interpretation was that our belongings are a reflection of who we are…but we already knew that, so I searched for deeper meaning, which was difficult as the martinis were a flowing. I left the space empty, the words inspiring but the design leaving a void…materialism showing our reflections, yes, but what about our reasons for these materialistic choices…do they matter…are they valid…this exhibit, although stirring, needed a Part 2.

The next exhibit was presented by Core Architects, who based their design on life’s essentials; sleep, bathe, eat, play. A fine example of refined interior design, the space was functional enough to the fulfill life’s essential needs, with optimal use of tactile materials, eye pleasing forms and soothing atmosphere. Unfortunately, being that there was so many people and so little room, the experience of this space ended very quickly, not allowing for further interaction. And this was a space you wanted to interact with, a bed to sit or lie on, a working shower, a cozy fireplace and of course a functioning bar…all gone too quickly with only the token of a glass given at the exit with the “essentials” inscribed on it. (BTW it is also typical at these events, to receive marketing tools, vis-à-vis functional gifts, case and point)

The last exhibit was that of PLANT, an architecture firm that truly pushed the boundaries. Calling their space “conversation piece”, we were embraced by this environment immediately. Their interpretation of what makes us wealthy is our interaction within and amongst that which is simply material. In essence, the ritual of conversation, our most basic form of human interaction, is priceless. Picture the space; what looks and smells like a cedar log cabin, one entire wall consisting of pilled cut logs (probably from a sustainable forest for any “green heads” out there), a very long, rustic, wooden, rectangular table with wooden benches on either side, big enough to seat at least 40 people; an endless supply of bread to go with the 15” diameter chunk of parmesan and flowing beer served to all! The atmosphere was incredible! We were in there for about 20 minutes. It eluded a warm, comfortable, inviting atmosphere that truly influenced human interaction and of course conversation. This was the most successful concept space I had ever experienced. There was nothing particularly new about it. It was progressive through the new interpretation of very basic, highly functional, existing design elements. The space proved that wealth does not necessarily translate into nor depend on expensive, high end design.

When you attend an event where food will be provided by some of the best restaurants and caterers in Toronto, there is no need to comment…obviously it was fantastic. Yet there is one thing that stands out from the whole evening…cored strawberries filled with Amarula Cream Liqueur…truly heaven on earth! As for the entertainment, music throughout the evening comfortably faded in the distance, until the Yakudo Drummers took the stage. Their sound resonated throughout the exhibit floor, and you couldn’t escape the draw of the tribal rhythm.

In my endless effort to educate as many people as I can about the value of design in our lives, this is event is just a stepping stone and worthwhile for everyone. A venue to learn and explore what is available to you in the world of interior design. The design of our environments, which may seem as dispensable and avoidable entities of lives, is shown at these shows to truly have influence over our behaviour and quality of life.

Other performers:
DJ Cesar Murillo,
R&B group “In Essence”, and
DJ Colette

written by: Anna Kowalczyk.

whew, did you get it all?:D She forgot to mention that the Amarula bartender handing our the cream-filled strawberries was well fit. No, seriously...

Shouts going out to Greg Hartec and his girl Shirley. Good seeing you guyses.
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