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Life Buzzy brands on display at Interior Design Show Vancouver

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Buzzy brands at B.C.'s Interior Design Show

The director of the largest trade fair of its kind in Western North America weighs in on the most interesting and innovative products

The designers with work on display at the Interior Design Show include Vancouver’s own 600sq and Studio Corelam.

'Wood has historically been the one trend associated with the Pacific Northwest," says Jody Phillips, director of Interior Design Show Vancouver, and naturally, this trend has evolved and expanded. The innovators include Vancouver's own 600sq and Studio Corelam, and more than their material connects them. "Designers here have a sensibility that is all their own," Phillips says. "There is an obligation they have to the environment that not every design community has." But the largest international design fair in Western North America, with more than 250 exhibitors, certainly puts more than wood on the table. As the show's 13th edition kicks off today, Phillips weighs in on some of the most buzz-worthy brands and products.

Quake Juan de Fuca table

"Quake reflects how regionality influences how and what designers produce," says Phillips, and the Vancouver-based company's Juan de Fuca table deftly captures a sense of place, and further, it's a sign of fragile times. Inspired by the fault line off the coast of B.C., artist-designer Lisa Turner conceived of a cedar veneer table with a red lacquer edge that is two pieces appearing as one. The Canadian National Capital Commission took notice, and acquired one for the official Crown residences this year. ($12,800; quakefurniture.com)

600sq Hon shelf

Affordable, easy-to-assemble furniture has mass appeal for obvious reasons, and it needn't all be bought from that mammoth Swedish chain. With backgrounds in product design, communications design and fabrication, Matej Rodela, Harry Olson and James Munns of Vancouver's 600sq create with urban nomads in mind. "Living spaces are getting smaller and smaller, and people are constantly forced to move in search for more affordable housing," Rodela says. They bill their Hon shelf as the easiest shelf to assemble and disassemble in the world. Made of hefty birch plywood, it only takes about 60 seconds to put its five components together. ($130; 600sq.ca)

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Studio Corelam Round a bout 2.0

Mobility also motivates Vancouver designer and Emily Carr University professor Christian Blyt of Studio Corelam, so named for the company's core material – a lightweight, less consumptive corrugated plywood Blyt developed while studying at Helsinki's Aalto University. The Tidal Collection features easy to move pieces, including the multifunctional Round a bout 2.0, which can be used as a stool, side table, plant basket or, ostensibly, storage bin for moving materials. ($110; studiocorelam.com)

Koncept Mr. GO! lantern

Smartphones begat smart homes, and the award-winning Mr. GO! LED lantern is one of Koncept's contributions to the advancement of interior design's tech quotient (we'll be living The Jetsons life in no time). The Southern California company's dimmable, portable light is charged by USB and subsequently charges other USB devices (a mobile phone twice over, for one). A curved housing creates a built-in handle, so it's easily carried from backyard to bedside. Made of recyclable aluminum and water-based paint, the design takes environmental concerns into consideration as well. ($450; koncept.com)

BoConcept Ottawa sofa

Minimalism hasn't maxed out, but its new angle is softer. The latest collaboration between highly decorated industrial designer Karim Rashid and Denmark furniture retailer BoConcept, the Ottawa sofa system – which makes its Canadian debut at IDS Vancouver – takes those sought-after clean lines and curves them. Ottawa's real "it" factor, though, is its flexibility and customization. With 10 types of modules available which allow for three different seating directions, the configurations are seemingly endless. (Pieces start at $700; boconcept.com)

Tiny Badger ceramics

Tinted in muted hues and dimpled with geometric shapes, Tiny Badger's ceramics captures two of decor's most wanted attributes in one. Vintage glassware was Heather McCalla's source of inspiration for the collection of slip cast porcelain pieces. "I met Heather at New York Design Week and fell in love with her collection," Phillips says. "My favourites are her bud vases and tumblers." Contemporary ceramists (Italy's Matteo Cibic is another) will be highlighted at the show. ($28 to $65; tinybadger.com)

Hygge & West wallpaper

Hygge & West

Botanicals, art deco, animal-print patterns are in play, and there's a wallpaper for that. San Francisco's Hygge & West teams up with established artists and graphic designers, including L.A.'s Joy Cho of Oh Joy! studio, to develop their papers and fabrics. Sure, one could purchase the proverbial throw pillow and call it a day, but the age of Instagram-worthy walls calls for grander gestures. Thankfully, the company also sells removable, reusable tiles (renters and commitment-phobes rejoice). As far as what's next, Phillips sees a resurgence of traditional floral, toile and damask patterns. ($140 to $190 a roll; hyggeandwest.com)

DXV faucet

Trickling out of Scandinavia, matte black is having a moment on drawer pulls, handrails and faucets, such as DXV's version from their Lyndon range. Vancouver-based interior designers Chad Falkenberg and Kelly Reynolds of Falken Reynolds have opted for it in a few of their projects. "The matte finish makes it more casual; it's sophisticated without being showy," Falkenberg says. "Shiny surfaces can feel like ice or glass, while this feels warmer to the touch." In combination with the standard white porcelain, it creates a refreshing contrast. ($791; dxv.com)

Zanat Tattoo stool

If "global warming" didn't already have a negative, climate-related definition, it might be a fitting descriptor for a growing design trend. Case in point: Zanat's Tattoo stool. Designed by Gert Wingardh and Sara Helder, the practical, stackable stool becomes artisanal and exotic thanks to hand-carvings, either light or elaborate, done using traditional techniques that originated in Konjic, Bosnia and Herzegovina. "They have a one-of-a kind feel, and offer a good layer of both pattern and texture to a room," Phillips says. Adding even more interest, the holes used to handle them aren't uniformly shaped or placed. ($440 to $1,995; switzercultcreative.com)

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Caesarstone clock

Associated with sprawling quartz countertops and grand event installations (including this year's circus-inspired set-up by Spanish artist Jamie Hayon), Caesarstone also dials it down and uses their 30 years of surface knowledge on a beautifully simple clock. The white-on-white rugged concrete version strikes a textural note that's very right now, but one could argue it's timeless. ($299; shop.caesarstone.ca)

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