nuit blanche 2013

Garden Tower in Toronto, 2013Tadashi Kawamata

Garden Tower in Toronto, 2013Tadashi Kawamata

I’ve attended nuit blanche for the past 3 years usually heading out around 10:30 or so to soak up the scene. This also typically means putting on one’s patience hat to wade through the influx of people who take over the streets of this fair city.

Each year I say that I would prefer to go out later in hopes of bypassing the hoards and this year was my year. I met up with some friends at Handelbar in Kensington to catch a show and a couple of drinks before we headed out into the streets around 1:30am.

First stop #46: “Your Temper, My Weather” was the feature at the AGO a video exhibit in which 100 bee-keepers joined in meditation. Additionally, a small portion of the permanent collection on the main floor was open for perusal. 

ocad 04

Second stop #39: through OCAD  installations were curated as part of “Gather”: “Collapsing the idea that culture exists separately from nature, while emphasizing the social relationships that various environments nurture, Gather is anchored by sculptural, kinetic and data-driven works that invite visitors to congregate and interact”.

ocad 03

This was a favourite amongst the group as we wandered the dimly lit hallways from one piece to the next. It was intensely sensory as we easily moved from one experience to the next offering moments of inquisition and discussion. Artists included:

Marc De Pape – Toronto, Canada
Shannon Gerard – Toronto, Canada
Annyen Lam – Ottawa, Canada
Relay Studio (: Andrew Lovett-Barron / Eliot Callahan / Nick Crampton / Adam Carlucci)
Christine Swintak – Toronto, Canada

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Marc De Pape

Making our way east on Dundas we turned south along University to make our way to Nathan Philips. We passed #25 Katharine Harvey’s celebratory “Ferris Wheel” and then #9 “Toaster Work Wagon”, Kim Adams’ collection of double header bikes.

forever bicycle 03

forever bicycle 02

Third stop #1: “Forever Bicycles” by Ai Weiwei: “Comprised of 3,144 bicycles Forever Bicycles forms a complex labyrinth-like monument to the rapidly changing social environment in China and around the globe”. Posted along the pedestrian bridge was #3: Boris Achour’s “The Rose is Without Why”: “Achour uses a poem by Angelus Silesius, theologian and German poet of the 17th century. The poem, written with fluorescent lights, expresses a philosophical dimension and reflects upon the nature of the art and the place of the spectator.”

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Fourth stop #4: Pascale Marthine Tayou’s “Plastic Bags”: “Today plastic bag use is being limited, prevented from further endangering the world’s ecosystem and polluting the environment. This sculpture made with this consumer symbol, a sign of nomad mobility, transforms the bags into a beautiful work of art”.

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Then just as the rain started to come down we crossed under rows of hanging socks at #10 “Clothesline Canopy” by Trinity Square.

Retiring damp from the rain around 4am for some late night eats we night-caped over shared plates of Spicy Shrimp, Shanghai Noodles and General Tao. It was by far one of my favourite years yet as not only was the art captivating but so was the company of both friends and strangers.


iidex 2013


I have attended iidex Canada for the last 5 years and it was back during my first visit to this show that I was beginning to seriously relook at going back school to become an Interior Designer. The show offers the Canadian design and architecture community an opportunity to peruse product, furniture and installations amidst frequent catch-up sessions with new and old colleagues.  Five years ago I felt like a stranger amongst the throngs but this year I attended and perused with my closest design allies.

We rallied together Friday in order to attend the Yabu Pushelberg keynote presentation. Y&P are not only a premiere Canadian design firm but also a global powerhouse with exceptional & beautifully tailored hospitality projects around the globe. They have been inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame and in 2012 were voted ‘The Most Admired Firms’ by the top 75 hospitality giants. The 30 year relationship and collaboration of partners Glenn Pushelberg and George Yabu was candidly spotlighted.


As we settled in moderator Illana Weitzman, editor of enRoute magazine steered us through the hour long conversation. Candid discussion started with the changing perception of the hospitality industry. There is an evolving philosophy on the personal experience developed as soon as one crosses the threshold. It is an exploration of the symbiotic relationship which is crafted not only through design and paramount service but also in the anticipation of attending to the unexpected wants of a patron.  Glenn and George relay this through their definition of ultimate comfort, “not having to think of your needs”. A slideshow of project images flipped in the background as they unintentionally cut each other off eager to share.

What I found particularly interesting was an obvious maturity in their world view and evolving design philosophy. Self-admittedly they are in a position now where they “don’t need any more”, which is partnered with a confidence built on their success. After 30 years of self-invention and looking beyond what is in trend Y&P are at a point now where they can conceptualize freely. Simultaneously while investing, cultivating and imparting their philosophy amongst their team.

Good directors of creative people while being creative people.

After the presentation we casually circulated through the show stopping to chat to vendors and friends. Our final stop was at booth #1811 which was promoting the One of A Kind Craft show but more importantly designed by Mason.


If Y&P represents where we came from Mason displays where we are going. Another dynamic Ryerson grad pairing, Mason created “Glamping” a seasonal and environmental dichotomy. All whimsically explored through graphic floor and wall murals, blow up furniture and full size 3D corrugated cardboard flora and fauna.  A quick spin in the Herman Miller Spun chair and it was time to leave and enjoy a lovely sunny September afternoon.