Issue 4, 2021: Fresh Starts

Published four times a year, Designlines is your guide to design in Toronto. An invaluable source of information and inspiration for design-oriented consumers, each issue is packed with the latest on products and showrooms, residential design, and the city's wealth of design talent.

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4 Issues

in this issue

2 min
safety goes stylish

Designing a dream home is never easy. The sheer number of decisions one has to make about the materials, colours and decor is daunting – fun, but daunting. White oak or walnut? Contemporary or classic? Modern or mid-century? It’s easy to get caught up in those details. But as you research, compare and shop around, a word of warning: don’t forget that your home has to be safe, too. According to the Canadian National Fire Information Database, 80 per cent of fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms – and in many of these cases, missing batteries are to blame. The risk of fatality gets cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms. Meanwhile, 300 Canadians die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning, while it’s estimated that a…

1 min
brick by brick

The fabric of the city is made up of us all – the sum of its people and their combined energies and vision. We all impart something. This issue is about clean slates, new homes and fresh ideas, all with a bit of gritty, spunky, can-do spirit. Inside, you’ll find a couple that has crafted a dream home from the ground up, a builder giddy to move into his masterpiece with his family, and a father–son building team manifesting their vision of what a home can be. In “Urban Update,” we walk up University Avenue, discovering its embedded history, deeper meaning and new look. The median (a vertical park, if you will) has been undergoing massive changes over the past couple of years, each island weaving its own tale of local…

2 min
one thing

It started with her. She had been with Odami’s Michael Fohring and Aránzazu González Bernardo for years, but the couple had moved on and replaced her. Reluctant to put her on the street in winter, they let her stay – maybe better accommodations could be found; maybe she’d find a new home. But then something happened that neither of them expected: they started to feel sad about the idea of letting her go – which is odd, because “her” was just their old mattress. Fohring and González Bernardo didn’t consciously anthropomorphize their old mattress – sorry, “her” – until they were ready to throw her away. Inconvenient as it may have been, their weathered pile of fabric and foam had become family. Odami’s Pet Objects, a study in form, material and…

2 min
unquestionably an icon

There’s perhaps no more recognizable lighting design than the PH series by Poul Henningsen. You know the one: its series of nestled shades, occasionally offset by others inverted above, is synonymous with Danish design. Part of that familiarity is a result of its longevity. Manufacturer Louis Poulsen first put the PH series into production in 1926 following its gold-medal showing at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. The Danish government had asked for an entirely original design for its pavilion, saying “every copy or imitation of old styles will be barred from the exhibition.” And so they – and the world – got one, but Henningsen didn’t arrive at his tiered design by accident. His famous shade system was arrived at logically, through study. “The aesthetic question…

1 min
hot ticket

In the midst of a disruptive year, MOCA put a deceptively challenging question to 21 artists and collectives: What feels most urgent to you today? The unique responses are articulated in a broad series of works for GTA21, including site-specific sculpture, industrial design and interactive pieces. Still, affinities emerged in themes of ambivalence, inheritance and mutation. “We really wanted the energy and the positionality to come from the artists and work,” says November Paynter, artistic director at MOCA. “And when we started structuring the exhibition, it became revealing that there were certain issues and questions that were very much in dialogue.” Some pieces spark discussions with one another. Taken together, Sahar Te’s Listening Attends, a covered truck replete with ominous, enveloping audio, and Kara Springer’s Do i have to build you a…

1 min
angles and curves

Go with the Flow If you’re a Leslieville local, don’t worry: Biblio Lofts won’t upset the low-key vibe. The NVSBLE Developments mid-rise, designed by BDP Quadrangle, subtly nods at the nearby architecture, maintaining vintage Toronto’s low-slung stature and red brick face. Still, modern details abound. At ground level, the luxe Commute-designed interiors – including the studio’s characteristic lighting – are framed by a series of double-height arches. The motif is repeated up its modest seven storeys and terraces, lending a little more movement to the bustling ‘hood. BIBLIOLOFTS.CA Surface Tension Like so many Partisans projects – including Bar Raval and Grotto Sauna – the studio’s vision for Yonge and King is a sinuous one. Designed in collaboration with BDP Quadrangle, the 66-storey 55 Yonge would see a podium-and-tower design wrapped in a continuous,…