Toronto Design Offsite Festival 2014

The Toronto Design Offsite Festival is an event that I look forward to every year. You get design. You get art. You get art about design and design about art—basically, if you enjoy art or design in any capacity, even if only during an annual, drunken stumble through Nuit Blanche, TO DO will have something for you. On top of all that, most of the exhibitions are either free or very affordable and feature a mix of established and emerging artists who engage with a diverse set of themes in eclectic settings. Here are some of the events I’m looking forward to this year:

Come Up to My Room

Photo: Come Up To My Room

Although it’s not really billed this way, Come Up to My Room feels like one of the gala expositions of TO DO, and it’s a personal favourite. This year, artists and designers will take over the Gladstone Hotel with installations and “unexpected prototypes” that engage with themes of “trust, risk, and collaboration.” You can see and hear some of the exhibitors talk about their works in progress on the CUTMR website. It’s a steal at $10 ($5 for students).

From Nothing, Something

A documentary about the creative process screening for one night only at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. If you’ve ever wrestled with the wacky alchemy of designing, drawing, writing, coding, building, making (hopefully) awesome stuff, this might be for you. Plus, the Bloor is great. Any excuse to drink beer in a movie theatre is fine with me.

Eames: the Architect and the Painter

I have a strange fascination with couples who manage to work, play, and live together. In this documentary, the couple in question is Charles and Ray Eames, two of the most influential design thinker/practitioners of the last century. If you had a chance to see the film about the Vignelli’s last year at Hot Docs, this will be an interesting counterpoint.

Digital Promises

Photo: TO DO

If, like me, talk of 3D printers and their potential for revolutionizing our material and social worlds sets your imagination alight with possibilities of self-manufacturing robots, “printed” limbs, and Star Trek-esque food replicators, you might want to see this show.

Nations are Narrations

Photo: Nicole Tarasick

Maps are very “in” right now. We seem to be living through a period where people, especially urbanites, renegotiate their relationships with the built environments they live in. I enjoy placemaking in its many forms, from urban art installations like TO’s own murmur to the Leslieville toque I got for Christmas. This exhibition by Nicole Tarasick, one of the designers behind STYLEGARAGE, is a series of prints on a 1957 Atlas of Canada.

The festival runs next week (January 20th to 24th) at venues all over downtown. 

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