What I Learned at My First Interior Design Show #IDS16

Posted by under Ask the Pros

I’ve mentioned it before on the blog, but my background is in journalism, not real estate. As I venture into this world, I occasionally get to really explore something I know nothing about.

This month, it’s interior design.

I was invited to attend #IDS16, the mammoth Canadian interior design show, and of course jumped at the chance.

The show

Although I wandered around like a lost puppy, I have to admit how welcoming and helpful everyone was. I was expecting a lot of design jargon I couldn’t understand, but the presenters were friendly and spoke in layman’s terms, so I caught up quickly.

The show brought in heavyweight speakers, from Lee Broom and Lynda Reeves to guest of honour Tom Dixon. Over the course of the weekend, more than a dozen industry experts enthused and educated the crowd, talking about everything from architecture to fabrication.

With the help of our expert designer and staging expert Angela, here are some thoughts on trends and highlights from the extravagant show.

White is now

Benjamin Moore predicted their colour of the year as Simply White, and they were right. Basic white was woven throughout the show—by colour experts, designers, product developers, and materials specialists. The entire show had a relative “back to basics” feel, continuing the trend of rustic or minimal design that’s been prevalent in recent years.


Wooden everything

I was pleasantly surprised to see that wooden products were extremely popular at the show, which I wasn’t expecting. The Ontario Wood cabin was an unreal “booth,” with wood floors, walls, stools, accents, and mounted stumps. It even featured a crokinole board, a testament to many childhoods in Southern Ontario. (I sent a photo to my mom and she was pretty excited, I gotta say.)

But it wasn’t only Ontario Wood promoting wood. There were many examples of artisan wood furniture in every corner of the show, showing bending techniques and new ways to pattern wood to make it appear bent. Flooring companies Kentwood and Evoke both had similar ideas with wide-panelled hardwood flooring, both in real wood and lookalike laminate. A breakaway from traditional thin-panelled hardwood, this look also lends itself to a rural, simple aesthetic.

3D printing and innovative materials

Wamerican_standard_ids16hat isn’t surprising is the rise of 3D printing in the design world. As we hear about 3D printed technology and fashion, the new creation method is allowing designers to go further than ever before.

The faucets at American Standard are a perfect example. The water travels through many miniature pipes, allowing for inventive ways to get your water from the tap. From kitchen-sized waterfalls to entwined metal branches, 3D printing will definitely see a surge in the way we think about design, and I’m sure it will change the industry forever once the technology is even more accessible.

Cosentino Group is another using new materials. The organization, paired with internationally recognized designers Elaine Cecconi, Anna Simone, and Daniel Germani, unveiled Dekton, a new material composed of “naturally existing inorganic materials that are subjected to a patented high heat, high-pressure process called Particle Sintering Technology.” Their entire booth was made of the stuff and showcased unlimited design possibilities through its durability and transformative properties.

Also, a mention has to go to Camouflage Heater, a Montreal-based company that’s producing energy-efficient heating through beautifully designed panels. They appear as mirrors or sleek art, but are actually infrared heaters—definitely a hot product. (Ha!)


Independent artistry

My favourite part of the show was the independent artist gallery, a showcase of small-scale talent that has big impact.

While I can’t mention them all, here are a few that made an impression:

Fuel Glassworks uses reclaimed barnwood with molten glass on the end grain. This creates the astonishing effect of ice and snow atop natural wood. They also make a ton of other glass products, so check them out.

jordan_soderberg_mills_ids16Jordan Söderberg Mills created what I called a “crazy mirror” that essentially has multiple coloured planes. It reflects a green and red version of yourself, reminiscent of old-school 3D effects. While my description doesn’t do it justice, it was both trippy and beautiful, and his work should be followed to find out what’s next.

Lastly, artist Shakun Jhangiani showcased her paintings that left me stunned. The works are simple but play with mixed media and images of water and horizons. Her work has been shown around the world, and she works with designers and homeowners to make unique art for the space.

In conclusion

I was apprehensive before arriving at the show, that I wouldn’t understand why it was important or what I was possibly going to say. I’ve nailed talking about real estate, but design is another story.

And also, why is this important to you, as buyers or sellers?

Essentially, I think it’s a good idea to understand these trends and products so you can develop your own sense of home style. Do I think you need to paint your home all white because that’s the colour of the year? No. I definitely don’t. But if you look at how that white is used, and listen to the reasons it’s this year’s colour, you can make your own decisions to create a space unique to your personality.

Interior design is about putting your aesthetic on display each and every day, for you to feel comfortable in your space and for others to understand your perspective. #IDS16 and other shows exist to encourage individuality in a way you might overlook and I’m grateful to have attended.

See you next year!


Photos: Justin Korolyk, Fuel Glassworks, Jordan Söderberg Mills, Shakun Jhangiani

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