Skip to main content

1. Cosmic thinking

Intense jewel tones, starry motifs and even astrological elements are coming into play, lending interior finishings an otherworldly feel. German designer Jan Kath, for example, is exhibiting his Spacecrafted collection of wool and silk rugs. Inspired by images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope – as well as the designer’s own experience getting a clear view of the stars in light-pollution-free Nepal – the collection evokes “infinite expanse, distant galaxies, inconceivable depth and an aesthetic that mankind could never create.”

2. Raw Wood 2.0

The latest salvage wood designs – particularly by Canadian exhibitors – amplify rugged wood finishes by juxtaposing them with materials such as glass and metal. Local studio Fuel Glassworks’ Floe end tables, for example, feature a blackened wood beam with a polished-glass top, while Honing Design’s Hagensborg Bench is made of reclaimed red cedar accented with stainless steel. The company 1925 Workbench, meanwhile, is showing reclaimed barn-board sliding doors with hardware made by hand in the designer’s studio.

3. Ergonomics writ small

Work wellness is moving into small spaces. Occupational therapist Matt Gereghty, for example, designed his new standing-desk system when he couldn’t find one on the market that would fit in his condo. “Everything was big, gross and expensive. There were also no desks available that would accommodate my laptop without causing me to crank my neck forward,” Gereghty says. “I brought the idea to my family – which includes an industrial designer, an engineer, a crafty urban planner and a health researcher – and we designed a wall-mounted desk that fits both the size and the aesthetic of modern condos, living rooms, kitchens, etc.” Gereghty and his family make small batches of the desk by hand in Sudbury.

4. The return of warm metals

Gold and brass are still holding the spotlight. Strong examples from the show include Lilo, a twisted-metal and glass table designed by Lani Adeoye of Studio-Lani; the fluid piece is a part of the Prototype exhibit, composed of designs in search of manufacturers. AM Studio, meanwhile, will display its Moonlights chandelier by glass artist Karli Sears, which features hand-made blown-glass orbs with frosted finishes in amber and bronze.

5. Asymmetrical shelving

Manufacturers are moving away from monolithic units and toward smaller, airier, irregular options that have an almost ephemeral effect. Indian designer Yusuf Mannan is exhibiting a prototype of a modular storage system with hooks that hold everything from chairs to hutches, while Khalil Jamal’s Neo-neo Shelf, which has removable components that double as trays, is inspired by Mondrian paintings.

6. Sculptural sideboards

Fuelled by the needs of closet-starved condo dwellers, the sideboard is making a comeback. This year, however, the best incarnations are designed to grab intention, not recede. New York furniture maker Miles & May’s A2 unit features ghosted-walnut drawer fronts with matte-black aluminum hardware, while Christopher Solar’s white oak Tile Sideboard is clad in a mosaic-like pattern of wood veneer with black resin in between to create a “strong graphic statement,” Solar says.

7. The seventies

The retro look this year occupies that sweet spot between mid-century mod and eighties glare. As part of EQ3’s highly anticipated Assembly collection, Montreal designer Zoë Mowat is exhibiting her geometric Dressing Table, “designed to be a bright and colourful counterpart to any daily grooming ritual.” L.A. studio Semihandmade is also bringing bold seventies hues to furniture with doors designed specifically to fit Ikea cabinets.

8. Small-batch production

The Maker exhibit, which showcases North American artisanal designers, is back this year with an almost-doubled lineup of small- to medium-sized, limited-batch manufacturers. Fig40 is exhibiting the Perplex bench, a four-metre-long concrete seat made with Grip Metal, while Coolican & Co. is showing Edwin, its take on the classic Windsor chair – a solid Ontario white-oak piece with brass-peg detail.

The Interior Design Show runs from Jan. 21 to 24 (