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Ids 08: Arne, Tom and the Others

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Inspiring speakers, creative novelties and high attendance were all part of the 10th edition of Toronto's Interior Design Show (IDS), which has now come to an end; listed below are some of the show's main attractions.

On the first of three days, designers gathered together as prestigious guests were invited to present their work.

The biggest names in design and architecture passed through Toronto, and this year's star of the show was Britain's Tom Dixon, who explained in a very simple form (and with a touch of cynicism) the way in which he approaches his trade today.

Realistic about the challenges ahead, he recounted his journey, including his beginnings as a sculptor welder, the founding of Eurolounge, his seven years with Habitat as artistic director and his recent offering of free seats in London as well as his work as director of eco-responsible designing for the Finnish company Artek.

The audience also received a lesson in erotic object design. This may turn out to be a promising niche, given his unhappiness with design.

Also in the limelight that day was Belgium's rebel of contemporary design, Arne Quinze, an off the-wall, self-taught artist who attracted attention about ten years ago with some colourful foam furniture. Today, Arne Quinze is at the helm of Quinze & Milan, a studio with some sixty employees who still design furniture, but who mostly turn his wildest ideas into reality. These ideas often consist of structures made of wooden beams that fasten to existing buildings, infiltrate interiors or, like the one raised in the Nevada desert for the Burning Man Festival, end in a blazing inferno.

A visit to his website lets you appreciate the extent of his work, the assemblies are often conceptual and sponsored by industry manufacturers, such as Belgium's Jaga, the truly visionary radiator manufacturer.

IDS also allows us to see what's happening in terms of Canadian creation. For example, Azure magazine organized an exhibition featuring 10 innovative Canadian creators, including two Quebecers, architect Pierre Thibault and ceramist Pascale Girardin.

Girardin also exhibited in the Studio North section, showcasing an impressive luminous circle, made of resin rather than ceramic, created in collaboration with the Lumid company from Quebec. Studio North boasts some of the top artisans as well as innovative ideas currently at the prototype stage. Also noteworthy were the magnificent soft-cornered dresser by Question Objects, the experiments by Luflic (a chair made of sleeved tubes) and the special Canada origami lamp.

IDS is neither huge nor pretentious, but it is positioning itself more and more as the meeting place for Canadian design, focusing on creation and attractive everyday items.