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Ikea's Varmblixt collection.Supplied

Golden hour

In the middle of a grey winter, Ikea ( is releasing a collection dedicated to exploring the emotion-boosting potential of lighting. Varmblixt was created in partnership with Sabine Marcelis, a Rotterdam-based designer who strives to inject spaces with a sense of magic. The line features lighting systems, including a pendant lamp and a wall mirror that double as sculptural objects, as well as glassware, rugs and more, all inspired by the warmth of a sunset. Ikea is known more for the functionality of its products but the introduction of Varmblixt marks a move into options that can create sensorial effects through design.


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The bar at Le Rock, in Rockefeller Center, created by Vancouver’s New Format Studio.Matthew Williams/Supplied

Raise the bar

With cocktail hour back on the menu, designers are enhancing the way we gather after work through attention-grabbing bars. At Le Rock, the new French brasserie in the Rockefeller Center in New York, Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary design studio Workstead tapped Vancouver’s New Format Studio ( to construct a rather monumental solid bronze version. Weighing in at some 3,000 pounds, the bar was cast in jeweller’s wax to create an undulating surface that evokes a handmade quality. New Format founder Henry Norris says the bar was inspired by the craftsmanship behind the frescoes, sculptures and interior detailing found in the iconic skyscraper. “Rockefeller Center is a monument to craft in a certain way. They commissioned hundreds of different artists to create these pieces that said something about optimism while creating this giant business complex in the midst of a depression,” he says. “The bar speaks to craft in that space.”


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Known for its quartz countertops, Caesarstone has added porcelain and natural stone to its portfolio of surfaces,Supplied

Surface level

Known for its indoor and outdoor quartz countertops, Caesarstone ( has added porcelain and natural stone to its portfolio of surfaces. Revealed at the Interior Design Show in Toronto last month, these additions allow the brand to offer its clients multimaterial surfaces through one supplier. “It’s a full range, we have 100 colours to choose from across our portfolio,” says Lori Shapiro, public relations and corporate communications manager for the company. For the porcelain offerings, Caesarstone has captured the visual qualities of a variety of material types, ranging from impressions of natural marble to concrete and metal. “With the veining, you get the look of natural stone but it’s super durable and it has really high heat tolerance,” she says. According to Shapiro, the porcelain can be installed outdoors, is scratch-resistant and so tolerant of heat that it can even be combined with an invisible induction system for cooking.


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Parall(elles): A History of Women In Design opens Feb. 18, at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.Supplied

Design her-story

A new exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts ( is taking a closer look at the important and often overlooked legacy of women in design. Opening Feb. 18, Parall(elles): A History of Women In Design gathers 250 art works and objects to reveal the vital role that these Canadian and American creators played in developing artisanal craftwork and industrial design. It includes work in ceramic, glass, metal, jewellery, textiles, furniture, consumer products, graphics, fashion and interiors. In addition to retrospective pieces by icons like Ruth Glennie, Judy Chicago and Cindy Sherman and contemporary makers working in Canada, the museum commissioned New York-based ceramicist Molly Hatch to create a custom mosaic of hand-painted terracotta plates to accompany the show.

Investment buy

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Loro Piana Interiors.Supplied

Velvet goldmine

For cozy interiors of the plushest variety, Loro Piana Interiors introduced its 2023 collection during Paris Déco Off. Making its debut at the brand’s Parisian showroom and in a temporary space on Rue des Saints Pères, the new line features the textile signatures of the luxury Italian fashion house including cashmere, wool, cotton and linen, as well as the selection of sumptuous velvet offerings seen on the chairs here. There’s Ballroom, a tactile mohair velvet in a palette of 20 shades, Salon, a new silk velvet that’s intentionally full-bodied, and Parlour, a velvet in cotton that showcases raised stripes and geometric patterns in vivid hues.

Loro Piana Interiors fabrics, price on request through

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