Highlights from IDSwest 2014

The 10th anniversary of the Interior Design Show West was a fabulous weekend of innovative pieces, design ideas and guest speakers from around the globe

IDSwest was a dream weekend for designers and design lovers alike

Celebrating its 10th year, the Interior Design Show West brought together a community of designers, artists, makers and homeowners to the Vancouver Convention Centre for one weekend of home and design inspiration.

From Sept. 25-28, visitors could find the best of the best in handmade craftsmanship, new designer launches and inspirational speakers from Vancouver, Amsterdam, London, New York, Italy, Montreal, Toronto, Portland, San Francisco, Nevada and Los Angeles.

In case you missed it, BCLiving brings you the show’s highlights: inspiring high-profile speakers, Dinner by Design, a designer help desk + much more.

Click through for the highlights.

The Man Behind the Mask: Bertjan Pot

On Friday night, famed Dutch designer Bertjan Pot hit the Livingspace design stage for his presentation, The Practice of Design.

Taking us through his career in design, audiences had a front-row seat to a history of challenges and solutions, from his famous Random Light (pictured above right) to his latest design, the Prop Light (pictured above left) — unveiled for the first time at IDSwest.

He even ventured to tell the story of his masks. According to Pot, he likes to make masks because he can actually make one in a day, which is a welcome change to how long it takes to bring a design from idea to completion.

He also had tons of leftover chord from a furniture project, but when he sewed it together to make a rug, it wouldn’t stay flat, so he started making masks instead. Each finished mask is photographed three times: once on him, once hanging on the wall, and once on its new owner.

Bertjan Pot, Masks series, 2010

HGTV’s Design Diva Sarah Richardson

Seasoned HGTV star Sarah Richardson took to the mainstage for an hour with her presentation Design Ideas and Renovation Insight Saturday, drawing such a large crowd there were almost as many people standing as sitting.

With five TV series and more than 300 rooms completed, Richardson had more than a few tips for homeowners including:

  • Mix expensive tile with inexpensive tile to create a unique look and cut costs
  • Use wallpaper to wow as wall coverings or as art
  • Going big with lights and decor is better than going too small
  • The bathroom is a great (and safe) place to experiment
  • Don’t be afraid to buy off the rack, it’s great for the budget allowing you to splurge elsewhere and you can use prefab in unexpected ways it wasn’t intended
  • Salvage pieces to add soul to the home and save money
  • Buy furniture, decor and art that you truly love versus pieces to fill that space
  • Above all, feel free to break the rules and experiment

Credit: Table designed by The Cross Décor and Design

Dinner by Design

An IDSwest favourite, Monogram’s Dinner by Design was one of the show’s premier highlights as teams of designers tackled the same challenge: What decor for dinner? Rooms ranged from the over-the-top rose-wall set-up (affectionately nicknamed “The Twilight Room”) to the wonderfully windswept Robert Blaney design (pictured below) featuring broken curtain rods, torn drapery and signs of nature and palm fronds taking over.

Public Decorating Challenge

Throughout the show, people kept flocking to the Whole New Home booth for the wildly amusing design buddy challenge. Participants had three minutes to make over a room pulling decor, pillows, lamps and even wallpaper from a stockpile of accessories on hand. Challengers had a ‘design buddy’ a.k.a. professional designer to help them execute and manage their vision and when finished contestants could share their room’s look on social media for a chance to win $500 in products from the Whole New Home site and an in-home consultation.

Credit: Weyerhaeuser

B.C. Wood at Work

The returning show feature Structure tasked six designers to each produce innovative furniture pieces out of Weyerhaeuser’s Parallam SLS. A long line of the entries could be seen bisecting the show in that distinctly gorgeous parallam, from tables to benches passersby couldn’t help but try out.

Meet the Makers at Studio North

A concentrated dose of craftsmanship, Studio North showcased custom and limited edition designs of furniture, lighting and ceramics from both locals and international designers.
Each maker had his or her own little nook to populate with coveted pieces and many of the designers themselves were on hand to chat with visitors.

Vancouver highlights included bright and beautiful neon signs from Endeavor Neon, local redesigners and refubishers Flock, designer furniture from Vancouver Island’s thankU.ca, and origami lights for the home by Along Came The Fold.

Prototype: The Designs of Tomorrow

A new addition to IDSwest, Prototype is a twice-juried competition featuring proposed products from Western Canada’s talented young designers displaying both to-market and conceptual works.

The big winner of the night was a ventilated wooden door from VanAir Design’s Vick Yau and James Higgins. With a sleek cut running horizontally, this door of the future was developed to tackle problems associated with ventilation in buildings like stifled airflow, noise and the need for less-than-cosmetic air vents throughout the home.

Design Dilemmas Solved

At the centre of the show, one of the most popular exhibits was the help desk. Eager visitors were lined up with clippings, drawings and notebooks for a chance to sit down and chat with a designer for a brief 15-minute appointment – a service so busy people were often told to come back and try later. The What’s Your Design Dilemma booth, put on by Interior Designers of Canada, gave homeowners a chance to approach a designer with burning questions for free and connected local designers to potential clients.

First-looks and New Launches

Sculptor, artist and furniture designer Martha Sturdy was on hand opening night, in signature black, to share her brand new collection of furniture and wearable sculpture (pictured above).

From the furniture to the decor, everything on display was larger than life. Giant log mountain chairs and benches in black echoed Sturdy’s mantra that she’s an artist, not a manufacturer. Beautifully impractical, these aren’t pieces to curl up and read a book on, but an extension of her sculpture. Her wooden pieces were so black they looked almost painted, something achieved through a laborious repeat-burning process.

Portland’s Revolution Design House, known for its geometrically shaped wooden planters, showed off its latest offering, the Madison Candle. The traditional looking candle and stick design is in fact all candle, and stays charming throughout the melting process. The candles aren’t set to go into full-scale production until November or December.

IDSwest visitors also got a sneak peek at never-before-seen Jan Kath rugs (below) prior to the Canadian launch of their international design house in Vancouver. These giant rugs hung up at IDSwest were like paintings in an art gallery and ranged from the abstract to what looked like a traditional Oriental rug caught in a state of dissolve – it would almost be a crime to hide them under foot and furniture.

People Were Talking About

Vintage trailer parked at The District

Much to the crowd’s amusement, right at the entrance of IDSwest’s retail area The District, sat a 1964 Airstream trailer refurbished as Very Hush Hush boutique (pictured above). Hailing all the way from Nelson, B.C., the parked shop was quite the show-stealer and featured a full display of wares inside including jewelry, pottery, textiles and change room to boot.

The every-sized table of your dreams

Onlookers were shocked to see how quickly an unassuming, 17-inch-wide desk at the Resource Furniture both turned into this table for 10. With five leaves it can be expanded to fit any sized party and it comes in glass too. Not surprisingly in an audience of urban dwellers, the space-saving Goliath table was nothing short of an IDSwest rock star. The seating was also equally genius with stools that easily stack inside one another, disappearing seamlessly into one stylish chartreuse ottoman.


Cycle sensation

Visitors may have sought them out because they had a working 3D printer, but they certainly stayed for the Clug: an ingenious bike clamp that lets cyclists easily mount a bike vertically to the wall. ‘Like a hug for your bike’ the Clug is small, cute, colourful and made from a Vancouver company.