Design at Riverside
7 Melville Street S, Cambridge, ON
Radiant Dark is a unique and ambitious project initiated by Shaun Moore and Julie Nicholson of MADE. Large scale design exhibitions are more of a rarity in Canada than we might like to admit, especially those conceived and personally funded by the principals of a small, independent retailer.
Radiant Dark was originally mounted for a ten-day engagement in a renovated but as yet unopened gallery space on Toronto’s Queen Street West. On the afternoon of the highly promoted preview, an entire block of historic buildings abutting the gallery was engulfed and subsequently destroyed by fire. As city agencies shut down all access to the fire site and grappled with a massive demolition and safety nightmare, the opening of the aptly named Radiant Dark was postponed for a mere 24 hours, and the exhibition went on to become a beacon for the spirit of the arts in times of adversity.
Radiant Dark as mounted at Design at Riverside represents the work of artists, designers and architects from across the Canada, most of whom would be considered emerging voices in the field of furniture and product design. The current edited incarnation of the original exhibition includes innovative, provocative and stimulating designs that strongly adhere to the theme of radiance, darkness and luxury outlined by the curators.
Design at Riverside is pleased provide a new venue and context for Radiant Dark in Cambridge. The designers ask some provocative questions and seek to imbue their work with deeper meaning beyond the immediate decorative appeal. It is our hope that by hosting Radiant Dark at Riverside we are expanding the audience for the exhibition and providing an opportunity to glimpse a snapshot of the diverse approaches and personalities of some of the future leading lights of Canadian design.
Lastly, I would like to thank Julie Nicholson and Shaun Moore for their unwavering support of Canadian design, their hard work and their willingness to share their vision with us.
Matt Agostinis & Joel Harrison-Off | Joy Charbonneau | Andrea Chin and Amrita Takhar | Connie Chisholm Studio | Coe and Waito | Covello/Reesor | Todd Falkowsky | James Fowler | Pascale Girardin | Jennifer Graham | Bev Hisey | Hoodoos (IDEA: Greg Ball and Shoko Cesar) | Claire Ironside | Dieter Janssen | Loyal Loot Collective | Mazzie Design and Kelly Palmer | Stuart McQuarrie | molo | Joe & Josephine (Katherine Morley) | Gailan Ngan | Andrew Ooi | Propellor Design | Rollout | Tamara Rushlow | Jonathan Sabine | Orest Tataryn | Tsunami Glassworks | Andrée Wejsmann
In 2005 Shaun Moore and Julie Nicholson formed a collaborative design partnership and in 2006 they opened MADE, a retail store in Toronto dedicated to promoting emerging Canadian design. MADE aims to provide a higher profile to outstanding, but underexposed Canadian design through in-store displays and themed off-site exhibitions. Shaun and Julie have utilized their shared backgrounds in showroom management, furniture design and manufacture, and exhibition curation to develop MADE into a valuable design trade and public resource. MADE supports innovative Canadian design of the highest quality, produced on a limited or small scale.
Joel Harrison-Off designs and constructs work ranging from composting toilets to custom furniture. Trained as an arborist, he harvests wood from the urban landscape for use in future projects. Mathew Agostinis is a furniture designer/maker. Currently he is one of the resident artists at The Living Arts Centre, where he creates one-off pieces. Together as the Design Institute they align their skills as craftsmen and commentators.
Joy Charbonneau (B.A.M.Arch) received the Howarth Wright graduate Fellowship in 2004. As an Intern Architect, in 2005 and 2006, she lived and worked in Germany and Amsterdam. Joy Charbonneau currently works for KPMB Architects in Toronto. She designs for both architectural and design projects.
Andrea Chin and Amrita Takhar are Toronto based industrial designers. Story telling and raising awareness are key components in their design collaborations; with a tendency to highlight historical wrong-doing and draw attention to local issues.
Connie Chisholm’s work is characterized by simplicity and minimalist form with strong sculptural elements and technical explorations. Working primarily with domestic woods, veneers and plastic laminates, she occasionally includes fabricated or cast metal components.
Todd Falkowsky is a true pluralist and works across a range of creative capacities. He has developed a keen interest for the creative process and is an expert in analysing trends and anticipating change in the marketplace. An experienced specialist in “designing happiness”, he supports clients across a range of possibilities.
Jennifer Graham’s ceramics are often inspired by traditional textiles and the vessel as object. She uses actual textile elements of pattern, stitching and texture to emboss her porcelain pieces. The delicate construction and raw edges echo the quality of textile. Her repeated use of fabric moulds on hand built forms results in an organic sense of rhythm throughout.
Bev Hisey began her career in apparel design where she taught herself patternmaking, garment construction and sewing. She has operated her own retail store and also worked as a production manager at a childrenswear company. In the mid 1990s Ms. Hisey shifted her interest to furniture, studied upholstery, and began producing a collection of soft furnishings and custom designs for several Toronto home décor boutiques. In 2002 she launched her first home textiles line under her own Bev Hisey label and distributes her work through select design stores across Canada and the United States and directly to designers and architects on-line. She is committed to producing as much of her work in Canada as possible.
Greg Ball and Shoko Cesar are partners on many design projects and co-founders of the Industrial Designers of Edmonton Association – IDEA. Both trained as artists and are now practicing industrial designers in Edmonton. They believe good design can only happen when the design process functions in perpetual evolution.
Claire Ironside has a diverse design career that draws on her environmental and communication design studies. Her interdisciplinary design and art practice is focused on designing and developing: architectural interventions both real and imagined; information based projects and exhibits; sustainable product and craft; and experimenting with materials and mixed media constructions.
Dieter Janssen is a Toronto based architect who teaches and continues a private practice. Much of his explorative work displays subtle wit and thoughtfulness. His toys and products are designed with as much consideration and attention to detail as his larger furniture, interior and building projects.
Mazzie is Melanie Zanker, whose artist’s training has shaped a multi-disciplinary design studio. Mazzie’s key projects are inspired from found objects, integrated into contemporary pieces and spaces. Wood, fabric, plastic, metals and found elements are built into furniture, soft furnishings and custom cabinetry creating textural, thoughtful designs.
Kelly Palmer is both fine artist and scenic artist. Her current focus is to make scenic art a permanent design concept as a fresh approach to wall design. Using wallpaper as a departure point, old designs are recreated as painted surfaces – made to look as if they were always there with a touch of modern ingenuity.
Industrial designer, Katherine Morley develops her works with lashings of concept often followed by a dash of iconography. Her current practice favours ceramic mould making and slip casting. Katherine is a member of the cross disciplinary collective Joe & Josephine.
ROLLOUT is a boutique design company specializing in the custom design and production of lushly colourful and boldly imagined digitally printed wallpapers. Rollout designers see their client’s papers as uniquely imagined one of a kind artworks for their walls. Established in 2005 by Anita Modha and Jonathan Nodrick, Rollout has developed custom wallpapers for galleries, expositions, and commercial and corporate clients in Canada, United States and Australia. ROLLOUT founder, Anita Modha came late to design after having spent much of her youth with lab rats during her undergraduate studies in psychology (before completing a Masters of Environmental Design). Co-founder, Jonathan Nodrick is a graduate of the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design. Rollout started with a free large format printer from Craigslist and an art show where 30 creative friends submitted crazy ideas of what they thought wallpaper could be. It turns out people agree that wallpaper could and should be more.
Designers featured in Art of Wallpaper
Andrio Abero, United States: Graphic designer Andrio Abero was based in Seattle for many years, where he established his own studio, 33rpm in 2000. He worked closely with the Vera Project, a non-profit music and art center for youth, while continuing to produce award-winning work for Seattle’s vibrant music scene. His work has been featured in numerous publications, and exhibitions, and has garnered many national graphic design awards. Andrio is currently based in Brooklyn, NY.
Chloe Perron, Canada: Chloe Perron works in fashion as an applied graphic designer, as well as being a partner in Spoken Design a corporate graphics and environmental design firm in Vancouver. Her illustrative work is inspired by fashion, interior and fabric designs and expressionist art.
Bandit + Rollout, Belgium, Canada: Bandit is a Belgium based stencil artist. His work includes collective projects with Faile and Logan Hicks, as well as the hilarious “Hey Banksy why dont you return my emails” piece at the Cans Festival ‘08 in London. Recent shows include: Famous When Dead Gallery (Melbourne), Black Maria Gallery (LA), Black Rat Press, & Hip Art Gallery (London), El Kartel (Vancouver).
Industrial designer Tamara Rushlow develops her work through intensive technical and material investigations which are reflected in the final form and aesthetic. Every consideration is given to the object, it’s placement and its use; to encourage user interaction and discovery.
Jonathan Sabine trained in furniture design and construction and now designs for the contract furniture market. Experienced with materials such as wood, porcelain and fabric; he is currently exploring methods of steel manufacturing. His design capabilities range through interiors, furniture and housewares.
Orest Tataryn investigates light and sculpture as a sculptural medium, while searching for expressions of reducing material environments to their simplest form. He also works with other artists, designers and architects in executing elements of their ideas that require expression with technologies of lighting such as neon tube type illumination, fibre optics and LED.
Tsunami Glassworks is the combined effort of glass artists Kriston Gene and Eva Milinkovic who specialize in designing and producing sculptural and functional blown and cast glass. Tsunami’s incorporation of art and utility in design creates effective and unconventional works.
Andree Wejsmann explores the relativity of objects in their environment, often using narrative as a tool to investigate the construction of meaning and the permeability of signifiers. Andree’s jewellery making focus results in tiny stories dedicated to detail. Andree is a member of the cross disciplinary collective Joe & Josephine.
List of Works
Agostinis & Harrison-Off Design Institute
black walnut, steel
A wry comment on resources, Log Bench portrays an organic form becoming shaped into a flat, parallel slab. The former log reveals a slab for seating while retaining its erstwhile trunk on the underside. As if a tree were whittled to a toothpick, the bench remarks on what is absent.
Andrea Chin and Amrita Takhar
God Save the Queen
sandblasted mirror, paint
Queen Elizabeth II is the quintessential image of luxury whose shadow looms over Canada. While reflecting on your own image in the God Save the Queen mirror, you may play queen or question the role of a foreign monarch in our constitutional democracy.
This Is a Vase
blown, flame worked glass
This is a Vase was conceived in late November 2007 following the bomb hoax at the Royal Ontario Museum. It aims to take the dark subject of bombs into the realm of wit and delight. This is a Vase takes the shape of a cartoon silhouette of a bomb. In place of a fuse, a single flower pierces through the side of the vase. The meaning of objects change with their context, use with discretion.
Connie Chisholm Studio
walnut, class, LED lights
Display cabinets are often luxurious - made with rich woods, glass and soft lighting. They occupy the area of our home where guests will most likely see and appreciate the objects within, significant for their beauty and/or their emotional attachment. Shadow box references the traditional display cabinet while using light and shadow to explore the idiosyncratic yet universal nature of what we collect and present in our homes.
sisal brush seat with maple veneered bench
The simplicity of the Prairie bench becomes sculpture as much as furniture. The rustic or common element of grass is sheared and edged to the form of the bench. Mimicking the wheat fields and wind shelters that dot the prairie landscape, the bench uses unconventional material in a functional, comfortable manner.
I Want to Make Something Beautiful Part 1
I Want to Make Something Beautiful is a poster intended to be taken home to your street and used to involve yourself in the feel of the neighbourhood. Half art, half public participation, this product expresses a confident message of hope and positive activity.
Something Nice, Tear Off Poster
photocopies on regular bond paper
The tear off poster has a simple message that can be shared, creating a domino effect of positive energy. The poster is designed to be given away for free. Every poster invites the taker to join in on the design event. The graphic file is available for free at www.madedesign.ca, to download and print out your own.
found lighting fixture, porcelain
The Strand Chandelier takes a rescued light fixture with broken glass, missing crystals or outdated appearance which is re-worked into an all white palette. With the application of process and repetition to the salvaged and decrepit, a fresh elegant rhythm is found. The broken, missing and outdated parts are replaced with strand upon strand of white porcelain pieces to create a new, modern chandelier.
In the Woods I
hand knotted 100% wool
In the Woods II
hand knotted 100% wool
Bev Hisey has explored two family heirlooms – oil paintings created by her grandmother; recreated as two large scale, hand knotted carpets. In the Woods I employs a palette of stone, twig and leaf to convey a cool quietness. The super scaled imagery becomes abstracted as the colour is broken down or sometimes exaggerated by areas of deeper pile.
Greg Ball and Shoko Cesar (IDEA)
Hoodoos Series Stools
16mm deglas, LED lights
Ball and Cesar have created two prototype lighted stools, using the same visual language as their original Hoodoo Lamp. The stools emanate rich, warm light and a softness that belies their structure. The Hoodoo series continues to explore elements of the Alberta Prairies through a global approach.
Made in Canada Series
masking tape, wood, canvas
The Made in Canada series is comprised of layers of torn, etched and peeled masking tape of various colours. The image is transferred through a process of laser etching a vector based image onto the taped canvas. Various layers are then peeled up revealing other layers of imagery beneath. The masked area both conceals and defines a terrain through strata of simple tape.
fabric, polystyrene, aluminium
Bird Tents are aviary vacation homes. They are available in many disruptive pattern material options from around the globe, from the “US 6-colour desert” pattern to the “New Zealand DPM”. A select few have been fabricated in silver for use near skyscrapers – provided you can open the window to install it. Made to fit into any context, any bird will find a portable retreat.
Mazzie Design and Kelly Palmer
Combo Synchronic (room setting)
wood, fabric, paint, glass, leather, mirror, aluminium, electrical components
Palmer and Zanker examine the balance of eclectic elements within a room. Aligning their skills in fine art, scenic painting, textiles and woodworking, they construct their penchant for the unconventional with an appreciation for eras past and present. Theatrical images come into play like a stage design; a backdrop for a portrait painting or part of a dynamic, organic space. Dark and lush with bright undertones, Combo Synchronic is a paradox of minimalist design.
Joe & Josephine (Katherine Morley)
slip cast porcelain, glaze
Arctic Bookends reflect on certain human needs, so readily met within Canada yet, remain a great luxury to many in the world. The dark irony is that these luxuries are now at risk to all due to overindulgence, privatization, climate change to name but a few. Arctic Bookends reference the style of Lawren Harris’ paintings of Disco Bay. The slow disappearance of majestic Arctic icebergs here, become a tiny echo, preserved in ceramic.
powder coated, laser cut steel/water jet cut?
Jagged Chandelier employs two layers of richly coated fine steel. It is a modern interpretation of the Venini chandeliers from the 70’s whereby long, blown glass pieces were arranged in symmetrical and layered configurations. Jagged Chandelier revisits the visual effect by layering very simple patterns in a more organic and “jagged” manner.
laminate, ply, fabric, shade, electrical parts
The Ply Lamps are a further exploration of Tamara Rushlows Ply series of vases. The base made from a series of interlocking, fanning and mirroring silhouettes, creates an organic shape reminiscent of Scandinavian modernism. The raw ply edge and the gloss sheen of black laminate on each plane outline the curves of the base.
Beads (pendant lighting)
Beads is a pendant lamp series influenced by the talismanic undertones of beaded objects – bracelets, necklaces, rosaries. The lamps are both primitive and sophisticated; as the objects they were inspired by and the human concerns that created the objects. Vanities, superstitions and aspirations are represented in the totemic scale and presence of Beads lighting.
Desertscape Series (2 pieces shown together)
neon, electronics, felt, acrylic, blown glass
The continuing and evolving Desertscape Series has a central baffle separating two neon tubes, the visible one has a blown glass segment and the hidden one projects a wash of colour through to the space behind. Painted with light, Desertscapes glow and resonate.
mouth blown glass
Tubes are a study in scale through multiples. Each Tube a vase, may be regarded individually or as part of a small or large cluster. The light absorption qualities of Tubes in black, glossy and opaque; maintain an air of dark elegance hinging on becoming decadent.
Joe & Josephine ( Andree Wejsmann)
Why don’t Squirrels need shovels? (cookie cutters)
gold plated copper
Our consumption of luxury is often defined by what we do not have. For many, there is a sense that luxury has become almost commonplace – no more out the ordinary than a cookie cutter. These cookie cutters address the darker costs attached to luxury. A squirrel, a shovel and a diamond speak to the environmental impact of mining.
Squirrels and Hatchets (dividing screen/ window panel)
Damask Squirrels and Hatchets (dividing screen/window panel)
Elaborately patterned silks and papers have historically signalled luxury and affluence. Speaking the visual language of wall paper, imagery is laser cut directly through it’s support material. The burnt edge decorates and traces a narrative that incorporates a message of man’s cost to nature.
by Shaun Moore and Julie Nicholson of MADE, Guest Curators.
As a design product company, MADE strives to serve as a valuable resource for new Canadian design. When we first laid plans for a business in 2005, we met numerous independent designers whose work was both modern and innovative. We were intrigued by the blend of quality (construction and material), concept and functionality. In short order a consistent story emerged, few Canadian designers had access to a formal outlet for their designs.
We opened our showroom for handmade works and small batch production pieces by Canadian designers, architects, craftspeople and artists in 2006. The intent was to create a broad public platform for Canadian design that would allow for the spirit of engagement, encouragement and discussion that we sought for ourselves. We offered a custom product design service and created a dedicated space within the showroom to host temporary installations that would encourage new investigations into materials, technologies and the relationship between art, craft and design.
The surprised or delighted response of visitors to our showroom constantly reminded us that the general public was unaccustomed to seeing “Canadian” and “Design” in the same sentence. This was our impetus to plan an exhibit that would run concurrently with two other high profile design exhibitions in February 2008 in Toronto.
Radiant Dark was conceived as a means to explore the rich, multifaceted, yet often obscured aspects of emerging independent Canadian design. Its title purpose was to bring new ideas and quality designs to light. Designers from all disciplines were asked to examine themes of luxury and darkness. Darkness may reference that realm of perceived obscurity or travel to deeper seated ideas. Luxury and its attendant qualities were a natural compliment and brought richness and context to the mix. Radiance indicates the strength and confidence of Canadian design which can happily withstand the scrutiny of comparison with parallel yet more publicly lauded work being produced internationally
Radiant Dark debuted in the winter of 2008, on the third floor of a recently renovated but vacant building in Toronto. The installation comprised over eighty works which were laid out in a sprawling 6000+sq.ft, dimly lit space. From that initial exhibition emerged the aesthetic and cultural threads that form the current more compact version of Radiant Dark.
Decoration and a heightened awareness of history and materials are used within Radiant Dark to provide the means to broach questions of beauty, social issues and materialism. The independently created objects reflect their maker’s determination to realise their ideas while creating something of meaning and value to others. In a complex, modern world loaded with information, the traditional trappings of affluence holds less meaning for many people. Today, changing notions of luxury and comfort place more value on the offer of fresh, meaningful experiences as the new luxury.
Luxury can also act as a viewfinder to a Canadian spirit via these designed objects. The work of Covello/Reesor and Bev Hisey both explore the creation modern heirlooms and the continuity and longevity achieved through the retelling of a story--one by way of a historical Canadian immigrant experience and other through the reinterpretation of artwork created by a family member. Covello/Reesor use honest (unadulterated), finely crafted materials combined with a simple story (in this case chosen from the Hudson’s Bay Company archives) that reflect time, use and history and result in more complex objects layered with meaning. Bev Hisey has designed two carpets that reinterpret heirloom paintings by her grandmother. Hisey combines digital posterization technology with the ancient craft of hand knotting carpets of pure wool. The super scale and the opposing colour schemes of each design play off each other and further abstract the images of trees. Viewed from a distance, the depicted landscapes are still recognisable and maintain a connection to the original works.
Connie Chisholm’s Shadow Box creates a modern cabinet using traditional construction methods and based on the traditional idea that cabinets are made to hold and illuminate collectables. However, this collection is presented to the viewer only as shadows through semi-translucent glass, yet they read as familiar symbols.
Melanie Zanker and Kelly Palmer wittily bring a combo of historical styles to modernity with a theatrical mash-up of pattern and material that skilfully intertwine craft and design.
Tamara Rushlow offers a reinterpretation of a Venini chandelier with dislocating and layering effects achieved through 21st century technology. Technology and hand made design happily co-exist as a new kind of thoughtful vernacular. There is a feeling that the works here, offer a personal connection with a precise quality at its core.
In the work of Andree Wejsmann. and Rollout, digital technology and modern production techniques are used to create unique, individual products, historically associated with hand craft (jewellery, custom made screens and wallpaper). The outcome is a fusion of technique, decoration and beauty. Their prettiness belies the darker message; of man’s destructive acts upon nature (Andree Wejsmann) and momento moris as decoration (Rollout)
Overall, the pure essence of paper, wood, metal, glass, ceramic and fibre is confidently explored. In certain instances the material itself allows for the determination of an objects’ structure and often, its luminosity or opacity. Lighting as a category is well represented in Radiant Dark and becomes its own presence – reaching beyond just something by which you illuminate a space.
A number of makers including Claire Ironside, Loyal Loot Collective and Agostinis Harrison-Off Design Institute reveal their feelings about Canadian identity through a psychological geography as mapped by the use of Canadian iconography like indigenous materials and maps that emphasize reverent relationships to the land, cultural heritage, and traditional activities like hunting.
Darker thoughts surface as existing forms are taken and presented with a twist that causes you to question their applications and engage your thoughts. Joy Charbonneau delights with a vase shaped as a bomb while Dieter Janssen builds camouflage tents for birds. These are balanced by the relentlessly optimistic graphic works of Todd Falkowsky which are produced inexpensively, in the manner of something throwaway, yet their message is a universal one of positive engagement and continuing interaction.
In a broader context, some universal contemporary realities such a global warming are used as a means of gazing into an uncertain future and confronting larger societal questions. Katherine Morley references Lawren Harris as she addresses the melting of icebergs. Many of the designs can be traced to an emotional attachment inspired by the notion of loss for things (both physical and metaphysical) that look - and feel irreplaceable. This searching places their concerns in a more universal context, one that evokes Canada, yet does not ignore the wider world.
Radiant Dark highlights a world where objects and certain ideals remain loved and valued. They are not intended to be replaced but will continue to engage and inspire and add meaning through use. Radiant Dark represents a blurring of the boundaries between art and design and acknowledges value, knowledge, experience and conscience as integral components of a rich life.