15 Great Pieces From Emerging Canadian Designers

Some of the most exciting pieces that Shumatsu Distortion discovers at design shows are those by up and coming designers as well as by those who are relatively new to the greater public eye. Prowling the aisles at the International Design Show in Toronto this year, we found all kids of custom work and limited-edition pieces by Canadian designers and craftspeople, many of which are focused on recycling and upcycling. The one-off and custom furniture, lighting, glass, and other items are always a big draw. These are 15 of our favorites.

Boites de la Paix

These creative wine storage cases by  fit right in with the ever-growing trend of repurposing and recycling. The company scours the North American continent for authentic US army ammunition boxes from the 1960’s and 1970’s, which they convert into these stunning storage and display boxes. At the 2018 International Design Show in Toronto, they also launched a wall bar version. A limited number of the ammunition boxes remain, so the resulting wine containers are also limited in number. Regardless, it is a wonderful preservation of history as they all bear some mark of their history, such as location manufacturing age. Sadly, before this “rescue mission” the boxes were regularly scrapped and destroyed.

Wine storage and display are both possible with these repurposed cases.View in gallery
Wine storage and display are both possible with these repurposed cases.

ANONY

These suspended pendants from , a lighting and product design studio founded by Christian Lo and David Ryanare, are called Highwire. These are a good example of a cool design where the simplicity belies the technology needed to create them. The pendants are balanced through tension, aided by a weighted counterpoint. The lighted discs are made of anodized, machined aluminum and laser-cut diffusers that shine light in both directions. When suspended in an arrangement like this one, the lights are very modern and become the focal point of the space. Even used singly, their cool design makes them stand out.

An arrangement of suspended lights is an artful installation.View in gallery
An arrangement of suspended lights is an artful installation.

Bettencourt Manor

Canadian design firm is known for a fun-loving approach to design & décor. Designers Matthew & Rick Bettencourt, provide design services but also now offer a collection of one-of-a-kind furniture and objects through Bettencourt Manor Atelier. This chair showcases one of the magnificent textiles that is part of the collection they produce. Seasonal collections of curated prints are available as wallpaper and custom textiles. The classic shape of the chair, combined with the edgy fabric, make their offerings very distinctive and truly unique. We really love the way the fabulous print immediately puts the focus on the back of the chair.

Unique textiles are perfect for the back expanse of a chair.View in gallery
Unique textiles are perfect for the back expanse of a chair.

Decimal

These pendants by  are an artful use of new 3D printing technology. The company, based in Vancouver and Mexico City, works with designers across the globe to produce their printed lighting. Different from other types of 3D printing you might have seen, this kind uses nylon powder and lasers to create the structure of the shade. Decimal also created an integrated LED base that fits all their fixtures, meaning that you could swap the fixtures out very easily.

These lights are 3D printed with lasers and powder.View in gallery
These lights are 3D printed with lasers and powder.

Dusil Design

may be a residential landscape company but its take on a barn door is truly a work of design art. Embellished with edgy, multilayered metal work at the bottom, it is stunning statement door. Alica Dusil’s doors are an outgrowth of her creative privacy screens that she creates for the garden. From smaller screens to massive wall-sized pieces, her custom-made works are meant for the garden, the deck, or on a frame. The plasma-cut metal is a natural for interior uses as well.

Barn style doors are elevated with gorgeous metal work.View in gallery
Barn style doors are elevated with gorgeous metal work.

East Van Light

Who knew that chopsticks and an Edison bulb could come together in such a great light fixture. East Van Light, which builds vintage industrial lamps, usually uses premium hardwoods that are locally sourced, but this design is actually made from recycled chopsticks from Vancouver’s restaurants. Developed in collaboration with ChopValue — a product design startup that uses recycled chopsticks — the light is a simple yet engaging fixture that puts the focus on the sticks and the bulb. Interestingly, in its first year, ChopValue recycled 2 million chopsticks from just 13 restaurants.  Nor this is what we call artful recycling!

Recycled, used chopstick form the base of these light fixtures.View in gallery
Recycled, used chopstick form the base of these light fixtures.

Emanuelle Dion

is primarily an upholstery company, but it also provides one-of-a-kind graphic prints that are really fresh and modern. This chair features a pattern called “Under the Steel towers,” which was inspired by the “metal monsters” that founder and textile designer Emanuelle Dion says disrupt the delicacy of the landscape. Judicious use of color keeps the style chic and not overwhelming.  The pattern of the fabric and shape of the chair complement each other perfectly.

Modern graphics are limited edition prints, perfect for modern chair designs.View in gallery
Modern graphics are limited edition prints, perfect for modern chair designs.

Craviations

In what may be one of the most imaginative reuses of industrial parts, transforms parts from former helicopters into one-of-a-kind furnishings and decor. Everything in this picture is made from helicopter parts. The husband and wife team have more than 50 years combined experience in repairing aircraft structures and an artful eye for detail. A bar or drink flight fashioned from the main rotor, a chair from a stabilizer, or lamps from assorted smaller helicopter parts, all are fully functional artworks. These would make great gifts for flight enthusiasts!

Former helicopter parts take on new life as furniture and decor pieces.View in gallery
Former helicopter parts take on new life as furniture and decor pieces.

Lorraine Tuson

When you think about felt in design, lots of things may come to mind, but probably not this marvelous and minimalist hanging sculpture. Designer and artist creates all variety of graphic textiles and cushions in moody geometrics but also makes art pieces like The Pendulum. Crafted from 100% wool felt wrapping, also features leather and brass accents. The suspended piece has a dramatic aura, in part because it is more than 6 feet long. The powerful column is a sculpture that really anchors the space.

This columnar sculpture of felt is an imposing height at more than 6 feet.View in gallery
This columnar sculpture of felt is an imposing height at more than 6 feet.

Mitz Takahashi

Japanese-born designer clean, minimalist sense led to the creation of these unique and unobtrusive shoe holders. Resembling small shelves or ledges, the spare lengths are perfect for storing shoes without cluttering up the space with the typical unsightly shoe rack. The Kougen, which means plateau in Japanese, is an elegant shoe organization solution. It is made from wood and 6mm porcelain tile using tongue and Dado joints in the construction.

Kougen is available in walnut, ebonized oak and maple.View in gallery
Kougen is available in walnut, ebonized oak and maple.

Retrobound

Chicer than a mood ring– and way more fun — this table prototype by features a colored LED lighting element that you can change to suit your mood. The solid maple table is lined inside with white leatherette upholstery, which is perfect for resting feet on. The design features the lighting strip on the side and across the top. Underneath, hidden feet help make the table seem to float. The first prototype was the “People’s Choice” winner at IDS West in 2017.

LED lighting and a modern shape make this a popular prototype design.View in gallery
LED lighting and a modern shape make this a popular prototype design.

Rosa

Toronto design-build company  makes elegant furniture to be used and loved every day. Founder Alex Rosa earned his experience working with other custom furniture makers in Brooklyn, New York, before launching in Canada. This is his Roselawn Bar Cabinet, which has a marvelous design that allows the wood grain of the ash to truly shine. The exacting details include brass knife pivot hinges and pulls. The contrasting base only serves to highlight the cabinet’s design and the dark spaces between the wood.

Exacting workmanship is the hallmark of this stunning cabinet.View in gallery
Exacting workmanship is the hallmark of this stunning cabinet.

Ryspot Design

Whenever a building is built, all those large concrete pillars that are poured must be hollowed out to accommodate plumbing and electrical lines. The core section that is removed is typically thrown out — until now. Enter , which has created these imaginative Core Tables using sections of the core from the poured concrete column. The aggregate that is visible in the cores becomes a design element, lending texture and color to the look. This project is a natural for Ryspot, which focuses on innovative materials usage, and intimately links to the structure of today’s cities.

The concrete aggregate in the cores adds dimension to the table bases.View in gallery
The concrete aggregate in the cores adds dimension to the table bases.

Samantha Sandbrook

Designer Samantha Sandbrook, known for her playful yet luxurious designs for art and furniture, created this ensemble. On the wall is “Journeys,” which consists of industrial powder-coated pipe parts that contain screen-printed and etched acrylic inserts. Underneath sits the Imagine console, Named after the iconic John Lennon song, it features an abstract pattern that pays homage to the societal goals that inspired him. Her pieces decidedly blur the lines between art and furniture, furniture and art.

The undulating geometric console and multipiece artwork pair well together.View in gallery
The undulating geometric console and multipiece artwork pair well together.

Susan

Textural constructions large and small are the funky designs of , a Toronto design studio founded brothers John and Kevin Watts. Focusing on self-expression, the duo creates pieces that explore the reaction that occurs when Styrofoam and is affected by acetone. The liquid serves as a solvent, bubbling and retexturizing the foam into an otherworldly surface. Next, a cement and sand mixture pigmented with iron oxide fills the voids. A metal framework is added for wiring, and then the piece is cast, polished and finished.

A little stumpy and very earthy feeling, the lights and occasional tables are colorful and funky.View in gallery
A little stumpy and very earthy feeling, the lights and occasional tables are colorful and funky.