Do Design | Toronto Design Offsite Festival

Wood Trays by Bookhou

Last week we mentioned we had a few new blog series planned for 2017 and today one of them begins. With Canada celebrating 150 years this year, we are planning to do our part here on the blog by celebrating Canadian design, featuring Canadian artists, designers and architects all year long. And what better way to kick things off than with the Toronto Design Offsite Festival starting next week, (January 16  to January 22, 2017). First off, Do Design.

Do Design

Do Design (January 19 to January 22/17) is a free exhibit showcasing design in the vibrant neighborhood at various storefronts on Dundas Street West (Bathurst to Grace). The exhibit is offering up an amazing array of activities and exhibits. Over the four days ,visitors are invited to experience the street as an all-hours gallery and take the opportunity to explore design in multiple ways.

For 2017 Do Design will be featuring a special collaboration with StopGap Foundation. This street wide presentation introduces several new, deployable ramps to businesses in the area, an interactive ramp project with videos and images, raising awareness about barriers in the built environment.

The combined exhibit and programming highlight diverse forms of design from finely crafted objects to projects of social innovation and are intended to spark conversation about design as a means of creating involvement, community, diversity and connection. Do Design offers unique perspectives, talents and capabilities and points the way to an inclusive culture.  The Do Design program is listed at the bottom of this post. Firstly,  a mini preview of some of the participating designers/studios.

23 Participating Designers/Studios in 26 Venues:
Nate Asis / Azizing Design / Bookhou / Cambium Design / Emma Chorestecki / Kyle Garland / gogo+martin / Handwork Studio / I Love Crow / Jacob Riches / The Laneway Project / Justine Latour / Yorgo Liapis / Erin MacKeen / MiCO / Jacob Riches / Cindy Rendely Architexture / Oasis Skateboard Factory / Lois Schklar / StopGap Foundation / Studio Vine Glass / Guillermo Trejo


Maize Pendant Walnut
Yorgo Liapis is a visual artist and woodworker. His furniture is inspired by the beauty and efficiency of patterns found in nature, the expressions of meaning and “sacredness” in human cultures, as well as the symbiotic relationship between artist and material. His objective is to become increasingly attuned to his intuition so that through his art, he might express some truth about the human experience.
Maize Pendant is inspired by food systems in Mexico. It resembles corn husks, and is a celebration of the beautiful and cultural significance of corn crops.


Deconstructed Chair Wood pallet, spray paint
Guillermo Trejo is a Mexican Artist based in Ottawa. He completed his BFA at the National School of Painting, Sculpture and Etching in Mexico City with a specialization in printmaking, and moved to Canada in 2007. The experience of immigration and distance has shaped Trejo’s work. Since moving to Ottawa, he has earned an MFA from University of Ottawa and has been an active member of the artistic community. He has exhibited at the Ottawa Art Gallery, Saw Gallery and other artist-run centres across the country.
Deconstructed Chair is project that presents Guillermo's "Model #2 Chair" before its thirteen pieces are cut and assembled.  In its abstracted form, the simplicity of the chair's design becomes apparent.  This stencil used to define the components of the chair can be easily transported and set in any standard pallet. This way the chair can be recreated easily anywhere.


Urban Cube Seating Series Khaddar-Woven Cotton and Hand Block Printing with Printed Reflective Tape
Handwork Studio is an initiative of two experienced Canadian designers, Munira Amin and Rachel MacHenry. With ongoing connections in Pakistan, Nepal, India, Haiti and Peru, the studio provides contemporary design services for artisan-based production. Through a network of specialized craft and technical associates, the studio offers design consultation to a variety of artisan focused enterprises including government ministries and trade facilitation offices, import and design companies, artisan organizations and international development institutions. Handwork Studio is committed to design innovation through socially and environmentally sustainable methods.


Copper Birds Copper, wire
CROW is an energetic art and design studio based in Toronto Canada.  Established in 2010, CROW provides custom art/design services and solutions to interior designers, art consultants and architects.  As projects become increasingly complex, CROW combines design skills with art production expertise to offer innovative techniques and materials to create unique visual experiences.


Wood Trays 
bookhou was co-founded by John Booth and Arounna Khounnoraj in 2002 to showcase their individual and collaborative work. They are a multidisciplinary studio that emphasizes natural handmade materials and small production pieces.
John Booth received his education from Queens University and his architecture degree from the University of Toronto. He is currently working with form and structure in both painting and furniture. Arounna Khounnoraj received her education from the Ontario College of Art, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and a MFA from the University of Waterloo. She is currently exploring pattern and image in her textiles and sculptures.  In the fall of 2008 they opened their brick and mortar shop located on Dundas Street West in Toronto.


Oasis Skateboard Factory (OSF), founded by teacher Craig Morrison, has attracted considerable media exposure and received a Ken Spencer Award from the CEA for its innovative program. OSF is one of three programs offered by Oasis Alternative Secondary School, one of 22 alternative secondary schools of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). Students design, build and market skateboards, along with paraphernalia for the skateboard culture, and earn academic credit. Nearly all OSF students graduate from high school.
Be sure to catch founder Craig Morrison speak at Do Design(er) Talks on Saturday, January 21st @ 2pm.


Mocio Folding Chair Solid White Oak, Veneer, Brass, Water-based Varathane
Richard Chan is currently a third year student of the Sheridan College Furniture program with a passion for hands-on craft. His work represents a harmony between the traditional and contemporary. As an emerging artist he hopes to open his own independent practice as a designer of furniture and functional objects, and to craft solutions for any environment.
Mocio Folding Chair was born from the simple goal of crafting a folding chair primarily out of solid wood.  Inspired by a designer from Sweden named Jonas Forsman, who designed the Arc folding chair, Richard began to explore various folding mechanisms. Traditionally there are two popular ways to make a folding chair: one with an A-frame and the other with an X-frame. With Forsman’s design, the seat and the back/armrest folded in sync together, rather than the seat folding up independently.  After creating countless mock-ups and exploring a number of hardware possibilities, Richard crafted the Mocio Folding Chair.

Do Design 2017 Programme:
Do Design(er) Talks - Saturday, January 21st, 2pm - 3pm (free)
May Cafe (876 Dundas Street West)

Join three design practices – StopGap Foundation (Founder Luke Anderson), The Laneway Project and Oasis Skateboard Factory - who will discuss their work and their shared ground regarding community and inclusion.

Public Opening Reception - Saturday, January 21st, 3pm - 6pm (free)

Various venues (Dundas Street West between Bathurst and Grace Streets)

Explore 24 design projects while dropping in at a series of receptions.

Do Design Guided Walking Tour - Sunday, January 22nd, 2pm (free)

Tour Meeting Point: Caldense Bakery, 802 Dundas Street West (gather 5 minutes before start)

Stroll with a Do Design guide who will discuss highlights of the exhibition. Meet designers who will speak about their work. (30-45 min. Some indoor stops, but please dress warmly)

StopGap Sign-in Wrap-up Reception- Sunday January 22nd, 3pm- 4.30pm (free)
Following the tour, stop by to celebrate and put the last flourishes on the Sign-in ramp

Do Look For….
Special feature, the StopGap Sign-in Ramp. Open daily, this inclusive project invites visitors of all ages to leave their mark (sign, write or draw) on a blank accessibility ramp, presented at Hashtag Gallery.

Learn more about StopGap Foundation through images and video showing at locations along Dundas Street West.

23 Participating Designers/Studios in 26 Venues:
Nate Asis / Azizing Design / Bookhou / Cambium Design / Emma Chorestecki / Kyle Garland / gogo+martin / Handwork Studio / I Love Crow / Jacob Riches / The Laneway Project / Justine Latour / Yorgo Liapis / Erin MacKeen / MiCO / Jacob Riches / Cindy Rendely Architexture / Oasis Skateboard Factory / Lois Schklar / StopGap Foundation / Studio Vine Glass / Guillermo Trejo

More details at

Stay tuned for more reports from Toronto Design Week all next week!

Jan Halvarson


Natalie said...

This looks super cool - I just wish I was on the right side of the ocean to go and visit!

- Natalie

Jan Halvarson said...

Natalie - right? so much talent on that side of the country!