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July/August 2010

Weird & wonderful Best of Milan Form + function in the kitchen


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July/August 2010

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COVER — 16 Ron Gilad’s Wall Piercing, part of Flos’s Soft Architecture exhibition in Milan.

Contents 16 FEATURES

DEPARTMENTS

MILAN OR BUST — 16 Not even a volcanic ash cloud on top of a recession can keep a good design show – the incomparable I Saloni – down. By Shauna Levy

INSIDE — 8

Form + function — 22 New kitchen systems and the fixtures, faucets and appliances that make them work. By Erin Donnelly BUBBLICIOUS — 27 At Go For Tea, bubble tea goes grownup – with a little help from a sophisticated interior by 2pi R Design. By Leslie C. Smith

WHAT’S UP — 11 WHO’S WHO — 32 LAST WORD — 34 Draw back A new publication of notable designers’ sketches inspires putting pencil to paper. By Karolina Olechnowicz

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July/August 2010 VOL.47 NO.5

Publisher

Martin Spreer Editor

Michael Totzke Managing Editor

Erin Donnelly Associate Editors

Janet Collins, David Lasker, Rhys Phillips, Leslie C. Smith Contributing Writers

Shauna Levy, Karolina Olechnowicz Art Direction/Design

Ellie Robinson, Lisa Zambri Advertising Sales

416-510-6766 Circulation Manager

Beata Olechnowicz 416-442-5600, ext. 3543 Reader Services

Liz Callaghan Production

Jessica Jubb 416-510-5194 Senior Publisher

Tom Arkell Vice President of Canadian Publishing

Alex Papanou President of Business Information Group

Bruce Creighton Head Office

12 Concorde Place, Suite 800 Toronto, ON M3C 4J2 Telephone 416-442-5600 Facsimile 416-510-5140

Your inspiration !

Canadian Interiors magazine is published by BIG Magazines LP, a division of Glacier BIG Holdings Company Ltd. Tel: 416-442-5600, Fax: 416-510-6875 e-mail: info@canadianinteriors.com website: www.canadianinteriors.com Canadian Interiors publishes seven issues, plus a source guide, per year. Printed in Canada. The content of this publication is the property of Canadian Interiors and cannot be reproduced without permission from the publisher. Subscription rates Canada $36.95 per year; plastic wrapped $39.95 per year (plus taxes) U.S.A. $69.95 US per year, Overseas $95.00 US per year. Back issues Back copies are available for $10 for delivery in Canada, $15 US for delivery in U.S.A. and $20 overseas. Please send payment to Canadian Interiors, 12 Concorde Place, Suite 800, Toronto, ON M3C 4J2 or order online www.canadianinteriors.com For subscription and back issues inquiries please call 416-442-5600 ext.3543, e-mail: circulation@canadianinteriors.com, or go to our website at: www.canadianinteriors.com Newsstands For information on Canadian Interiors on 足newsstands in Canada, call 905-619-6565 Canadian Interiors is indexed in the Canadian Magazine Index by Micromedia ProQuest Company, Toronto (www.micromedia.com) and National Archive Publishing Company, Ann Arbor, Michigan (www.napubco.com).

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ISSN 1923-3329 (Online) ISSN 0008 - 3887 (Print) G.S.T.#890939689RT0001 Glacier BIG Holdings Company Ltd. Customer Number: 2014319 Canada Post Sales Product Agreement No. 40069240 We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund (CPF) for our publishing activities. PAP Registration No. 11092


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Inside

The Milan connection

“We are publishing at a time when there is an increasing general awareness of the environments in which we live. In the Western world, there is also a growing aesthetic appreciation of visual things…” So writes the editor of a brand-new Canadian design magazine. Brand-new 46 years ago, that is: though those words could describe the state of design today, the excerpt is taken from the first column by the first editor of Canadian Interiors (April 1964). The editor in question, David Piper, recently donated 14 years of issues to us, and we’re delighted to have them. Perhaps the most notable Canadian project to appear in the pages of CI during its first year was the Canadian exhibit at the 13th annual Triennale di Milano, the design exposition founded in 1923 and held every three years (August 1964). It was a quintessentially Canuck cottage designed by Ottawa-based architecture firm Schoeler and Barkham, with interiors by Jacques St. Cyr. In her report on the Triennale, CI assistant editor Madge Phillips predicted it would win the expos’s Gold Medal. It eventually did. To be so honoured in Milan – then and now the mecca of design – was an extraordinary feat. By the ’80s, the Triennale had morphed into Milan’s design museum (though, curiously, its name stayed the same). Taking its place as the city’s signature design event was an annual, week-long exhibition of furniture, founded in 1961. The first coverage I noted in the pages of Canadian Interiors was in the June 1971 issue. In a review of the expo, held the previous September, Iris Nowell reported that 1,552 exhibitors had taken part and visitors had totaled 49,403. Cut to this issue. In her review of what is now known as I Saloni, held this past April, Shauna Levy reports that over 3,500 exhibitors took part and visitors topped 329,000 (“Milan or bust,” page 16). “In the last 10 years, I’ve missed only three shows,” says Levy, cofounder of the Interior Design Show and vice-president of MMPI Canada. “On each visit, I’m greeted by an explosion of creativity and innovation. I leave inspired, rejuvenated and filled with renewed passion for the design industry.” c You know, I’ve never been to Milan, butPage maybe AdInt.July2010_Canadian Interiors SPARK 6/24/10 7:13 AM 1 2011 – when I Saloni turns 50 – will be this Canadian’s year. I Michael Totzke mtotzke@canadianinteriors.com

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What’s Up

Clockwise from left Ocean Front Residence, by Mitchell Freedland Design; Vancouver Convention Centre West, by MCM Interiors; Terminal City, by SSDG Interiors; Homburg Penthouse, by Ingenium Design Group.

JULY/AUG. B.C.’s very best More than 300 designers, architects and friends gathered in Vancouver on April 21 to celebrate good design. The occasion was the 27th annual IDIBC Awards of Excellence, held at the Vancouver Playhouse. InterfaceFLOR provided the red carpet; radio personality Joanne Sutton hosted the event. For this year’s competition, the Interior Designers Institute of British Columbia received 72 submissions – each project completed in 2009 – in nine different categories. In the end, 21 projects in seven categories were awarded; among the winning entries were four Gold

awards, seven Silver and 10 Bronze. Best in Show went to Ocean Front Residence, which also won Gold (Residential), designed by Mitchell Freedland Design. The project – a newconstruction master suite – is a 1,250-square-foot addition to a modernist beach house, located on a steep site with spectacular views. The challenge, according to the designers, “was to complement the minimal structure, while infusing a sense of warmth and originality to the new environment.” The floorplan was a direct response to the panoramic views and the building’s trapezoidal footprint; naturally, the lounge and bedroom were to engage the view. The IDIBC handed out three

other Golds. Ingenium Design Group won for Homburg Penthouse (Residential). “Through an uncomplicated, purposeful approach and utilization of a controlled and audited palette,” the submission notes, “we created an austere and polished backdrop to showcase exclusive details while emphasizing key features with accents of saturated colour.” MCM Interiors won Gold for the Vancouver Convention Centre West (Institutional & Educational Spaces). Located on Vancouver’s downtown waterfront, the building “was designed to integrate the natural ecology of the waterfront with its architecture,” by minimizing visual barriers and showcasing B.C. woods. Also taking home a Gold was SSDG

Interiors for Terminal City Club (Hospitality). The clients wanted to distinguish the club from other private business clubs, by providing sanctuary and a place of retreat, while also attracting younger members. “Honouring Tradition, Embracing Tomorrow” became the project tagline. SSDG also won a Bronze for Crossroad Dental (Healthcare + Personal Services). Other multiple winners included Stantec (one Silver, three Bronze), Box Interior Design (two Silver), Splyce Design (one Silver, one Bronze) and Heffel Balango Design Consultants (one Silver, one Bronze). For a full list of winners, visit idibc.org

july/august 2010 CANADIAN INTERIORS 11


IIDEX ahead Here it comes again, one of our favourite events – IIDEX/ NeoCon Canada, the country’s most comprehensive exposition and conference for the design, construction and management of the built environment. Held every september, IIDEX is now in its 26th year. and with the transfer of its ownership to the recently strengthened IDC (Interior Designers of Canada), the 2010 edition promises to be bigger and better than ever. a pair of expos-within-theexpo make a welcome return: the green Building Festival and light Canada Expo & Conference. IIDEX and the green Building Festival (established in 2005) enjoy a strategic partnership in the creation of the most comprehensive exposition focused on sustainable products and services for the built environment. It includes an international conference and expanded product exhibits. a partnership between IIDEX and the toronto chapter of the IEs (Illuminating Engineering society), light Canada is the country’s largest lighting expo and conference. It showcases the latest in interior, exterior, commercial 12 CaNaDIaN INTERIORS july/august 2010

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and architectural lighting products, plus lamps and lighting controls; it also highlights advances in sustainable lighting, lED technology and new materials. also returning in 2010 is Material World, showcasing the latest new and sustainable materials from around the world. a special exhibit, yP Picks, features yabu Pushelberg’s favourite materials from the design firm’s award-winning projects. Plus, this year’s think: Material, the interactive exhibit, includes a special feature called Fractal garden – showcasing the merging of landscape architecture and design from jardin de Métis, the renowned international garden festival held every year at Reford gardens in grandMétis, Que. always a big draw at IIDEX

is the international keynote series. this year’s speakers include arik levy (Design), the Paris-based designer, technician, artist, photographer and filmmaker; Craig Dykers (architecture), senior partner/ director of snøhetta in Oslo and New york; and avi Flombaum (Innovation), co-founder of New york–based Designerpages.com. all this plus new products from over 300 exhibitors; retail, hospitality and publicspaces pavilions; receptions, tours and more. Held at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, the IIDEX/NeoCon expo runs sept. 23 and 24, while the conference runs from sept. 22 to 25.

Clockwise from opposite top The interactive Think: Material exhibit at Material World; a busy aisle at the Green Building Festival, which includes an international conference and product exhibits; the illuminating Light Canada, the country’s largest lighting expo and conference.

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14 CANADIAN INTERIORS JULY/AUGUST 2010

In late May, German appliance manufacturer Miele launched a new product for the Canadian market, with an elegant cocktail party at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music. The S2 is Miele’s newest vacuum design and joins the company’s “family” of S-series vacuums. The third canister vac to join the clan, S2 is billed as the baby of the family, weighing in at just 12 pounds. The company hopes it will be a hit with Canadian condo-dwellers who want the convenience of a canister vacuum, without the storage problem it presents. Guests at the launch were greeted at the door by a gigantic version of the normally compact S2, followed by a tiny toy version. The full series of the company’s vacuums were available to take for a spin; around the room were examples of the company’s vacuum products, which date back to 1927 and evidence an impressive ingenuity in design. On hand for the event was managing director and co-proprietor, Miele & Cie. KG, Dr. Markus Miele, direct from Germany. Dr. Miele, who is the great-grandson of the company’s founder Carl Miele, talked about the company’s 111-year history, which was, along with the vintage products, also on display via several touch screens throughout the room.

Dr. Miele also discussed at length the focus the company was placing on the Canadian market: “Based on what I have experienced firsthand about your great country, I believe that Canada appreciates quality. I believe that Canadians, more than ever, are emerging from this recession with a newfound view that we simply cannot afford to buy cheap anymore. We are increasingly beginning to question our throwaway culture. Our economies can ’t sustain it, nor can our planet sustain our indulgence in discounted quality. Seeing the economic, societal and environmental costs of discounted quality, today’s consumers value the Miele brand proposition.”

Dr. Markus Miele (left), great-grandson of the company’s founder, introduces Miele’s new product for the Canadian market, the S2 vacuum (above).


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Milan or bust Not even a volcanic ash cloud on top of a recession can keep a good design show – the incomparable I Saloni – down. —By Shauna Levy

WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBOURHOOD Spanish-born, Netherlands-based designer Nacho Carbonell created an installation featuring 20 versions of his famous chair-table. Due to varying materials, each one has its own unique identity, but all happily co-exist in one “neighbourhood.” Says Carbonell, “I like to see objects as living organisms, imagining them coming alive and being able to surprise you with their behaviour. I want to create objects with a fictional or fantasy element, which allow you to escape everyday life.”

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Some visitors to Milan may call the 2010 I Saloni “a transitional year,” pointing to empty exhibit spaces; claiming there were less parties; accusing manufacturers of reworking the old rather than introducing the new, or of resorting to the stable of commercially safe designers like Philippe Starck, Patricia Urquiola and Marcel Wanders. However, despite the recession’s European migration and all flights coming to a grinding midweek halt due to Iceland’s volcanic ash storm, attendance still reached over 329,000, a seven per cent

increase over last year. More than 3,500 design businesses and designers used I Saloni – both onsite and offsite – to market, promote and sell their products. This translates into 500-plus furniture manufacturers who filled the 22 buildings of the main event, Salone Internazionale del Mobile. Several hundred more occupied the four buildings dedicated to Eurocucina (the kitchen expo, which alternates annually with Euroluce, devoted to lighting). Another building featured FTK - Technology for the Kitchen

(appliances); yet another housed Satellite, offering up emerging designers and schools. In addition, the Fuorisalone (offsite events) have mushroomed to more than 400 permanent showroom exhibits and pop-ups by both established and emerging brands, as well as non-design brands vying for the attention (and dollars) of the passionate psychographic. Zona Tortona, established nine years ago as a platform for alternative design, is one square kilometre of rentable temporary spaces hosting 250 exhibits. Straying slightly from its roots, the area now welcomes such established brands as the Poltrona Frau Group. Tom Dixon’s eponymous brand introduced a flash factory where fans could immediately purchase an already assembled or flat-packed vase or candleholder. Even Audi exhibited, courtesy of a new installation (Lucid Flux) by LED-lighting-designer-to-the stars Moritz Waldemeyer (credits include Rihanna’s on-stage attire). New this year, Ventura Lambrate, founded by Netherlands-based Organization in Design, occupied a series of old factories. Installations featured such design schools as Eindhoven Design Academy. Dutch designer Maarten Baas rented an apartment that served as a hangout for international groupies. Known for his museum-worthy, handmade limited-edition pieces (i.e., the Burnt Series), Baas launched the democratic Analog Digital Clock, a 99-cent iPhone app that looks like an old-school alarm clock – but with the silhouette of a man behind the numbers, manually changing them. Other offsite highlights included Nacho Carbonell’s Diversity, presented by gallery-owner Rossana Orlandi, where the artist took the same chair-table and presented it in 20 iterations, ranging from gravel and thorns to hair. Milan Fashion Week may receive more ink than Design Week; yet it is design’s 329,000 visitors (not fashion’s 10,000) that allow Milanese hotels, restaurants and taxis to clear close to 50 per cent of their annual turnover. The vibe in the city was positive – and not just because of the copious amounts of Veuve Clicquot poured for ash-stormstranded visitors, but also because I Saloni showed ample solid commercial product coupled with enough eye candy to make buyers buy, bloggers blog and design junkies chatter. july/august 2010 CANADIAN INTERIORS 17


AROUND THE BEND B&B Italia’s Bend Sofa by Patricia Urquiola appears as one monolithic form – but combines and bends to form a range of options, with irregular-shaped backrests and contrasting colour seams. bebitalia.com

DESIGN FOR THE BIRDS A high note of new design venue Ventura Lambrate was Netherlands-based Frederik Roije’s Breed Retreat, an architectural henhouse. “To eliminate the estrangement from our origin, respecting nature will be necessary,” says Roije. “Designing a special place will give nature its place, even in urban society.” roije.com

FLOS GOES UNDERCOVER Italian lighting leader Flos showed the revolutionary Soft Architecture, which makes use of technology by Belgian manufacturer Under-Cover. Ron Gilad’s Wall Piercing features LED rings that pierce right through the wall. flos.com

18 CANADIAN INTERIORS july/august 2010

AMERICAN CLASSICS Emeco’s classic U.S. Navy Chair (designed in 1944) and fellow American icon Coca-Cola have come together. The 111 Navy Chair is made from 111 recycled plastic Coke bottles; approximately three million 20-ounce plastic bottles will be annually recycled for these chairs. emeco.net


COLOUR PUNCH Serving as a contrast to the fair’s proliferation of shades of ivory and cream, Paola Lenti’s breathtaking offsite presentation, using beautifully vibrant and energetic colour combinations, was pure eye candy. Joy is a new Mini-Me collection for kids, in Paola Lenti’s famous knits and felts. paolalenti.com

A FIRST FOR ESTABLISHED & SONS Among the 30 new products pumped out by U.K.-based Established & Sons is Edge, a task light that pushes the boundaries of lighting technology. Created by architect Amanda Levete, in cooperation with Philips, the ribbon-like lamp is the first task light that uses OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology as its light source. establishedandsons.com

ILLUSIONS OF GRANDEUR Art meets function in the Balancing Boxes table by the whimsical Swedish design trio Front. Giving the illusion that they are haphazardly stacked one atop the other, the powdercoated boxes provide unique storage. This table is one of the few new products Front has designed for Italian furniture manufacturer Porro. porro.com

VIVA ITALIA! To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy (1861), Gaetano Pesce created the Sessantuna table for Cassina – a series of 61 differently shaped tables in the Italian flag’s red, green and white. Each table represents a part of the country; when all 61 are placed side by side, they recreate the entire Italian peninsula. cassina.com

july/august 2010 CANADIAN INTERIORS 19


IN THE BLACK Kartell presented 16 new products, all in black. Patricia Urquiola’s Comback Chair transforms a traditional wood Windsor chair into an elegant, contemporary plastic chair. kartell.com BY THE TIME WE GOT TO WOODSTOCK Closet systems take a back seat this year to furniture in the Poliform My Life concept. Designed by Jean-Marie Massaud, the Woodstock modular coffee table comprises geometric volumes that can be combined or used individually, and is available in 28 lacquered colours and natural woods. poliform.it

MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS Always the showstopper, Moroso presented several new pieces – including Tokujin Yoshioka’s Memory Chair. The chair is covered in a dome of fabric made from a recycled aluminum; its shape contours and takes form as it is used. moroso.com

A TWIST ON TRADITION Dutch Designer Richard Hutten is no stranger to rethinking tradition (i.e., his crucifix table). In an offsite exhibition, his Playing With Tradition carpets morph a traditional Oriental carpet into something coolly contemporary. richardhutten.com

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Form function New kitchen systems and the fixtures, faucets and appliances that make them work. —By Erin Donnelly

Ship shape Alno debuted its newest kitchen, Marecucina, at Eurocucina this spring. the very nautical looking island counter seems to float in the middle of the kitchen and features sleek white skirting cabinets, wood details and modern chrome hardware. A “mast” that runs up from the centre incorporates built-in lighting. For more modest-sized kitchens, Marecucina has been translated to a more standard configuration, with the counter against the wall. alno.de

Warm up During New york’s ICFF this past May, Italian company gD Cucine previewed its new showroom. Among the products introduced to the North American market is Fiamma, a system designed by giancarlo Fabro, which merges warm sepia-toned walnut with clean modern lines. Fiamma is characterized by large, unbroken expanses of wood and wide, horizontal, almost slatted banding of the walnut. gdcucine.com 22 CANADIAN INTERIORS july/August 2010


Thinned out the lAX series, from l.A.-based MAsHstudios, has introduced a new dining table created to be the perfect table for eating and entertaining. seating up to eight, the table is composed of sustainable engineered English walnut, with thin lines of white powdercoated steel peeking out at the joints. A super-thin edge is achieved by using integrated metal stiffeners to reinforce the tabletop. laxseries.com mashstudios.com

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Single-handed Kohler’s Purist collection of bathroom faucets and fixtures has been a favourite from the company for years. this spring, a kitchen version was unveiled. Boasting the same minimal and modern design the other Purist components are so well known for, the kitchen version features a single-lever handle on the side of the faucet, with a pullout spout and pushbutton diverter. It’s available in Polished Chrome, Vibrant, Polished Nickle, Matte Black and Vibrant stainless finishes. kohler.com

Pocket it Bulthaup introduced an extension to its b3 system at this year’s Eurocucina. the b3s is a tall unit with pocket doors that operate with a sliding mechanism and hinges from a manufacturer that also makes hinges for Ferrari and Porsche. With a simple touch, the unit’s doors will smoothly slide internally. With no plinth panel, the doors reach close to the floor for a seamless look. Inside, aluminum housing to conceal appliances is an available option. lignum drawers and/or shelves are also available in oak or walnut. the b3s is versatile and beautiful enough that it could be used in any room of the house, not just the kitchen. bulthaup.com

Combination lock Miele’s Combisets allow for custom configurations of cooking surfaces, giving the user the option of gas, electric and induction heat all in one kitchen. Wok burners, grill surfaces and even tepan yaki iron griddles are further options. the matched depth of each available component creates a streamlined application. With one or two to infinite components installed, the Combisets are ideal for the tiniest to the largest kitchens. miele.com

july/August 2010 CANADIAN INTERIORS 23


Warm welcome Tribe, designed by Marcello Cutino of BCFdesign, is one of Scavolini’s newest systems. Displaying a contemporary architecture in the bright colours and strong forms the company is known for, Tribe also incorporates some features that may be unexpected from the Italian manufacturer. Bronzed finished metal (for door hardware), matte granite countertops and doors optioned in a Dark Brown Oak veneer are some of the warm new elements. The system also offers coordinating tables and chairs. scavolini.com Act natural Boffi’s Aprile system was designed by Piero Lissoni with CRS to exhibit the value of using natural materials, with treated wood finishes, stainless steel and stone in a variety of thicknesses. Carcasses are anthracite grey or graphite oak wood effect, while doors are in M+ Lacquer or Silcover, in the company’s full range of colours, wood veneer, thermally treated acacia, polyester and Corian. Tops are also in many variations, including stainless steel, black granite and Carrara marble. boffi.com

24 CANADIAN INTERIORS july/august 2010


Fluid movement Fluid has added two sinks to its product line-up: Arc and Point (shown). these sinks are efficiently shaped and sized to maximize counter space and feature rear-positioned drains that allow plumbing below to increase usable space below. Manufactured from high-quality 316-gague stainless steel, they offer green points as well – the Burnaby, B.C.–based Fluid is part of the sustainable solutions International family of companies. fluidfaucets.com

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Laser show last year, thermador launched sensor Dome, a new technology for induction cooktops. the patented feature utilizes infrared sensor technology to monitor the temperature inside the pan or pot, and then adjust heat accordingly to maintain the perfect level. the sensor Dome is available on the entire induction cooktop line, which is now offered in a silver mirrored finish as well as classic black. the knob retracts when not in use to maintain a smooth surface. thermador.ca Open door New this year for Bosch is the French Door with VitaFresh refrigerator model. the VitaFresh system ensures ideal temperatures are maintained, and features drawers that each allow individual temperature control. the split, glass shelving is fully adjustable and the fridge also features lED lights and hidden hinges. bosch.com Colourful character Faucet maker Zucchetti has introduced some new finishes for its kitchen faucets that are ideal for a contemporary aesthetic. the six innovative colours and textures are: White lacquer, sky lacquer, Black lacquer, Madras red lacquer, gold and Ruthenium. zucchetti.com

july/August 2010 CANADIAN INTERIORS 25


The DXAs are Canada’s only design competition to judge design by results: balancing function, aesthetics and economic success. A jury of leading business executives, designers and community leaders will select winners in 12 categories including architecture, engineering, fashion, graphic design, industrial design, interior design, landscape architecture and urban design.

Will L uck y 1 3 be yo u r y e a r ?

Thanks to all who entered the 13th annual Best of Canada Design Competition. Watch for winners to be announced in the special Best of Canada issue this fall. Keep an eye on canadianinteriors.com for information on the awards celebration.


—By Leslie C. Smith

Photography by Tom Arban

BUBBLICIOUS

At Go For Tea, bubble tea goes grownup – with a little help from a sophisticated interior by 2pi R Design.

july/august 2010 CANADIAN INTERIORS 27


For many, the mention of any sort of Asian tea ritual may bring to mind a quiet spectacle of flowing silk robes and intricate ceremony. But since the Taiwanoriginating bubble tea phenomenon hit North American, you might be as likely to think of young adults with punked-out hair and hooked-up laptops, bonding over brightly coloured beverages studded with tiny balls of starchy tapioca. (Thus the “bubble” appellation. Who’d have guessed that tapioca, of all things, would ever be viewed as a desirable edible, let alone cool?) Gaining in popularity since the ’90s, bubble tea has moved well beyond Asian borders to invade shopping malls and plazas throughout Canada and the U.S. And now it’s poised for greater respectability, thanks to the owners of Go For Tea and their sophisticated new spot. Jennifer Liu and Katy Kuo’s first outlet, in Markham, just north of Toronto, features the achingly bright lighting and cheek-by-jowl bar seating that’s pretty much standard in bubble tea joints. However, their newly built second outlet in Scarborough, slightly east of the city, has achieved a far loftier ambition. Recognizing that their original teenaged clientele is now older, the owners wanted to offer a suitably grown-up environ in which customers can sip, chat and maybe take a little nosh. So they hired 2pi R Design, itself a relatively young Toronto design firm – headed up by Steen Lin, who spent last spring and summer prepping the tea house for its grand opening. “The clients wanted Go For Tea to convey a whole new experience from what customers are used to,” Lin says. “It’s located in a very typical plaza, like every other one in Scarborough, but this was to be the unexpected.” 2pi R Design’s take on the clients’ request was to create a theatrical interior – highly theatrical in the literal sense, given the space’s 26-foot-high ceiling – contrasted by cozy and intimately lit banquette tables. “We really wanted to stress the verticality of the space without letting it overwhelm the human element,” says Lin, unconsciously emphasizing her point as she leans back against the dark grey fabric of a banquette, cradling her five-month-old daughter, Ellyn. The main dining area, where we are sitting, has been carefully designed to give 28 CANADIAN INTERIORS july/august 2010


Overleaf Veiled intimacy permeates Go For Tea, perhaps an unconscious perpetuation of the “mysterious East” mythology. Low lighting and semi-transparent banners allow customers to catch mere glimpses of each other. Even the busy tea bar at the back is hidden behind a high Cippoline marble counter.

Left The entrance’s staggered series of open “window frames” – a handful of which double as magazine racks – actually help obscure Go For Tea’s main view of the mall parking lot, as well as signal to guests that something quite different lies beyond. Above The secluded VIP seating areas feature design elements that set them apart visually from the rest of the space, including slate-veneer walls and light mobiles created by Toronto’s Commute.

july/august 2010 CANADIAN INTERIORS 29


the illusion that every seat “is almost an individual little niche, pocketed into an overall dimmed space.” Though the restaurant’s exterior is clad in glass, charcoal fabric blinds cut the outside light to a minimum, so that even in broad daylight one feels an otherworldly twilight has descended. Each dark marble table is lit by its own overhead circular halogen spot, while, in a vertical balancing act, halogens hidden behind banquettes wash softly coloured light up the slabs of textured Gobi plaster that form the four surrounding interior walls. To hide overhead mechanicals as well as offer some spatial relief, the ceiling is dropped here and there, in stages of 22 or 23 feet. Interestingly, every dropped piece creates its own separate plane, intersecting but never touching another. Further horizontal counterweight comes from the room’s squared central dining area, built from broad planks of distressed oak, which rises a full three feet up from the main, grey-shaded concrete floor. Although literally centre stage (which adds to the dramatic intent behind the room’s design), the 20-odd diners here are partially curtained off from the other 130 people the room can seat by framed translucent banners, pastel florals silk-screened by Toronto’s Moss & Lam studio. The rising rectangularity of these forces the eye upwards, to a mass of pendant Edison lightbulbs, their filaments shining like stars in the gloaming. Even higher, mahogany-clad beams dimly join each other in a crosswise pattern, echoing the four veneered pillars that rise to meet them in support. “We wanted to anchor the space, and to give it an air of mystery,” Lin says, pointing out that even the bubble tea bar off to one side is shrouded from the patrons’ view by a high counter wall of blond-streaked Cippoline marble, just as the five semi-private VIP dining areas around the back are hidden by tall partitions. “Visual privacy was a key point to keep in mind when the space was planned.” The intriguingly lit central stage at once commands the eye and cleverly sections off the lower seating area, tricking the observer into seeing less where there is more. Lin describes the look as “uncluttered spaciousness, like a maze where one can sense the presence of other people without really seeing them.” Optical illusion is present too in the 30 CANADIAN INTERIORS july/august 2010


main entrance’s serried ranks of glassless, floor-to-ceiling wooden “windows,” which become at once part art installation, part magazine rack (filled with trendy publications), part practical screen of the uninspiring parking lot view beyond. Finally, fittingly, one discovers the traditional touches underlying the room’s spectacular contemporary surfaces. The crossed wooden beams overhead, for instance – a sketched-in reference to ancient Chinese carved wooden ceilings. The Zen-like, almost calligraphic silk banners. The inherent harmony of four pillars surrounding the four-sided stage. The Gobi walls, a few hand-drawn lines offering a minimalist take on mah-jongg’s four prevailing winds. The wind sure appears to be in the right quarter for 2pi R’s take on the nouveau tea house. For bubble tea and design connoisseurs alike, Scarborough’s Go For Tea is definitely the go-to place. c I

Left 2pi R has relied on lighting to set the stage: literally, in the case of the restaurant’s raised central section, with its dramatic Edison pendants. High overhead, halogen spots carefully pinpoint each café table, while recessed LEDs offer a coloured upwash of the textured Gobi walls. Above Framed translucent banners, custom silk-screened by Moss & Lam, create walls-that-are-not-walls, part of 2pi R’s stated intent to impart “a layered threedimensional artistry.” Even the real walls of Gobi plaster have been given extra dimension with stylized depictions of the four winds.

july/august 2010 CANADIAN INTERIORS 31


Who’s Who

1

Spring flings —By David Lasker

2

James B. Fowler at Gladstone The Gladstone Hotel, that restored vintage pile on Toronto’s Queen Street West, has an ambitious art and design incubator program that saw a May launch for James B. Fowler’s exhibit of his felted textile works in the hotel café. Fowler, former chair of fashion at the Academy of Design, has his own company, TEXT’LL, which makes art from recycled textiles.

2

1

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1—Sarah Nasby, artist and jewelry maker; and Shaun Moore and Julie Nicholson, co-owners of Toronto design boutique MADE, and curators of the exhibit. 2—Marnie Harnden, director at RM Group Canada, sets up companies and does trademark registration; textile artist James B. Fowler; and Cathy McDougall, who paints dogs for Woofstock, the canine-themed festival each spring at St. Lawrence Market. 3—Textile artist Grant Heaps, whose quilts previously graced the space; photographers Walter Segers and Michele Crockett, and Air Canada flight attendant Christopher Weaver.

Mini dealership launch Why does the new Mini Toronto flagship auto dealership, at the foot of the Don Valley Parkway, evoke the towering BMW flagship nearby? Roland Rom Colthoff was the architect for both: as a Quadrangle partner, for BMW, and now as principal at Raw Design, for Mini. The spring launch drew 500 people and boasted slot-car racing and an ice-cream truck. (Photos by Lindsay McBurney) 1—Karl Lohnes, decorating expert on CTV’s Canada AM, and Michelle Mawby of Lucid Interior Design and hostess of Discovery Channel’s Junk Raiders. 2—Austin Powers (who drove a Mini) impersonator Del Morgado. 3—The client, Steve Quinn, co-owner of Quinn Automotive Group and its six Mini dealerships, with Raw Design co-founder Roland Rom Colthoff.

OAA Windsor convention opener The Ontario Association of Architects held its annual conference, The Changing Face of Architecture, at Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino, in May. We saw many familiar faces at the opening reception. 1

2

32 CANADIAN INTERIORS july/august 2010

3

1—Bruce Hinds, professor of environmental studies at OCAD University, and Tonu Altosaar, partner at B+H Architects. 2—Frank Di Roma, project designer at Ware Malcomb; Elizabeth Vandertuin, principal at XCI Design & Architecture; and Michelle Gibson, architect at Thunder Bay–based Kuch Stephenson Gibson Malo. 3—From Autodesk AEC Division: Caesar Ruest, BIM Solutions executive; and Pierre Hoppener, Ontario territory executive, building solutions; with architect Gerrie Doyle, OAA president and principal at AIPM; and from cladding manufacturer Dryvit: John Smith, national sales manager, and Joseph Amodeo, corporate accounts manager.

3


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july/august 2010 CANADIAN INTERIORS 33


Last Word

Draw back A new publication of notable designers’ sketches inspires putting pencil to paper. —By Karolina Olechnowicz

If you could flip through the pages of the mind of Ernest Hemingway or Pablo Picasso, what would you see? We marvel at their end products – brilliant fiction and timeless works of art – but the development of the initial idea can be just as captivating. For the past two centuries, artists and thinkers alike have jotted down their visions, ideas and sketches in anonymous little black notebooks. It was a practical tool, encouraging and compelling rough note taking. This iconic device became the pedestal of the great works of art we know today. The highly recognizable books were originally made by a small French bookbinding outfit and sold to the literary and artistic avant-garde in Parisian stationery shops, but since 1997 have been produced by the Italy-based Moleskine. Lately the company has forayed into filling the pages as well. Following the success of its Hand of the Architect last year, Moleskine has recently introduced a new book specifically

highlighting hand-drawn sketches from today’s prominent designers. The Hand of the Designer, released in conjunction with the 2010 Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, contains 462 reproductions and hand-made sketches from 150 internationally recognized designers. The book arouses thought, creativity and inspiration with the work of designers such as the Bouroullec Brothers, Michael Graves, Hella Jongerius and Karim Rashid. The Hand of the Designer celebrates the power of freehand sketching in the ever-evolving age of AutoCAD and is also a fundraising initiative for the FAI (“Fondo Ambiente Italiano” – Italian National Trust), specifically to support Villa Necchi Campiglio, an example of Rationalist architecture built in 1932. Located in the heart of Milan, the villa was designed by the Milanese architect Piero Portaluppi and donated to FAI in 2001. With the look and feel of a Moleskine notebook, the publication creates a reminiscent connection to the sketchbooks of design’s history. It is bound in the dimensions of the Moleskine A4 Folio collection with all the brand’s trademark features: a hard rounded-edge cover, elastic band closure and ribbon place marker. One unique and quite noticeable change from the classic sketchbook is the book’s stark white cover. Packaged together with The Hand of the Designer is a black Moleskine Folio 120-page companion. The blank pages invite the modern creative professional to draw freehand and feel design come to life. In a design age where clicking a mouse has become the norm, this little black book reminds us of the simple satisfaction of putting pencil to paper. Hey, it worked for Picasso. c I


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Canadian Interiors July/August 2010 Edition  

Canadian Interiors is Canada’s leading magazine targeted at interior design professionals. Since its launch in 1964, the magazine is a must...

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