The Interior Design Show 2024: Honouring Design History And Its Future

The Interior Design Show 2024 celebrated the best in global and Canadian design for its 25th edition.

The 25th edition of the Interior Design Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre was nothing short of spectacular. Design lovers were treated to a truly immersive experience, with the “wow” factor in play throughout, from the emerging designers’ booths to those of the legacy brands.

Since 1999, IDS has become a catalyst for Canadian design, and, during the past two decades, innovation and inspiration have been at its heart and soul. Solving the problems of tomorrow and crafting seamless functionality fused with comfort have always been its guiding pillars.

But as society is changing, so are the issues of the world! And, Canadian designers feel a deep responsibility to create products that are also transformative.

Companies like Roche Bobois, whose boldly colourful and simplistic Bombom outdoor furniture caught the eyes of all who walked by, evoking sense of happiness and wonder. Montauk Sofa’s jungle-style collection wrapped guests with a unique feeling of Amazonian warmth. Signature Kitchen Suite appliances that combine purposeful design, precision and luxury were put to the test with a live cooking demonstration courtesy of celebrity chef Mark McEwan.

Among the many prominent attendees at the show, Alison Brooks, the founder and creative director of Alison Brooks Architects in London, U.K., honoured City Life with an exclusive interview. She delved into her roots and shared her thoughts on how the design world has done a better job of being more sustainability-conscious.

“It’s great to see the sort of homegrown talent and the manufacturing and design happening in Canada. We’re headed in a direction, which focuses much more on the process, in terms of sustainability. We have begun to change the way we extract materials and how we process them,” says Brooks. “This is an optimistic time for designers as their work is a response to our time’s social and environmental issues.”

When Brooks was growing up in southern Ontario, her mother always pointed out beautiful historic buildings and farmhouses in the countryside. Little did she know that those shared moments of appreciation would deeply resonate.

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At 16 years old, when Brooks put pencil to paper in her architectural design and drafting course, she knew design was the work she could happily do for the rest of her life. She had found her true calling.

With her keen eye for space and form, she soon learned that design goes beyond appreciation for the aesthetic. Rather, it has the power to move people emotionally and psychologically.

“Making life beautiful through design is the quest every architect and designer is trying to achieve,” says Brooks. “Design is like art. It’s possible for a chair or a rug or a lamp or a building to open people up to new experiences and see the world differently.”

Because of that, history and memory are a critical part of the creative design process. For people to respond and believe in something, the creation is dependent on the cultural memories of the time or location it embodies.

Brooks adds, “Cultures sort of spring from a certain place. I always start with a lot of research and use that as a source for reimagining what a place could be, how it operates and how it connects with that unique collective memory.”

That is what the Interior Design Show is all about. It is an invitation to see how design history has influenced what the future will hold and how it will change our lives.

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Marc Castaldo

Marc Castaldo