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If you're seeing Rhed and think there's a spelling error, think again.

According to Del Terrelonge, the graphic artist who founded Rhed, his Toronto design firm, in 1997, adding an "h" to the spelling of a primary colour was intended to draw attention to his company's uniqueness.

"You add a single letter to a word and it alters its meaning," says Terrelonge, who this year makes a return visit to the IDS after first appearing there 11 years ago as one of the show's first participants. "Rhed is like that. We're about taking a given situation and injecting it with something new, something not thought of before. We're in the business of altering perceptions."

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Over a decade later, selling originality remains Rhed's stock in trade. Multidisciplinary in approach, the company deals in everything from architecture and interior design to industrial signage and ambient music. "We're designers first and foremost, but for us design isn't just something you hang on a wall. It's an experience. It's a synthesis of a number of impressions that make you feel good."

Lately, Rhed has also been putting all its design philosophies and ideas into the arena of residential development, creating architecture that doubles as a lifestyle statement. Langston Hall, created by Rhed in association with its own development firm, Isongreen International, is a 30-unit residence located in Toronto's Entertainment District. It features open-concept layouts, lavish amenities (each of the building's two rooftop penthouses comes with its own outdoor pool) and the latest in environmentally friendly designs, including American willow hardwood floors and Ensol waste-management systems imported from South Korea.

"We're in a unique situation here," says Rico Bella, Terrelonge's business partner and director of Rhed. "We're developers and designers and we're also our own client." The condo (named for American poet Langston Hughes) was the impetus for two additional lifestyle projects that are currently in development: Toronto's soon-to-open Templar Hotel (named for Simon Templar of The Saint fame) and its still-in-the-making resort cousin, Templar Lake on the Mountain in Prince Edward County, about a 90-minute drive east of the city.

The resort will be previewed at IDS, seen as a pod-like prototype combining architecture, interior and furniture design and the sybaritic pleasures of the spa. It's the kind of project that's got Rhed written all over it.

"We're presenting it at IDS because we want people to walk into it and say, "Oh my God, I can't believe they could create such a thing," says Terrelonge.

"We're not your typical condo developers. We're not just selling a property. We're selling an experience in the form of real-world design that makes you look twice."

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About the Author

Deirdre Kelly is a features writer for The Globe and Mail. She is the author of the best-selling Paris Times Eight and Ballerina: Sex, Scandal and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection (Greystone Books). More

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