IDS Vancouver, the Pacific Northwest’s largest interior design show, took place September 26-29 at the Vancouver Convention Centre West, attracting close to 40,000 participants. And given the show’s overarching theme of sustainable design, it seemed synchronistic that on Friday more than 100,000 people were concurrently marching through downtown Vancouver in a Climate Strike.
IDS Vancouver director, Jody Phillips, says spending the last five years traveling around to international design shows and witnessing the waste generated by booths and installations, which often end up in landfills once the shows conclude, resulted in her wanting to do things differently. “I don’t want to make grand statements that I can’t adhere to, but I am setting some mandates about how we need to do better and the things we’re prepared to do this year,” she says.
IDS Vancouver’s central bar feature, Restock, was designed by Measured Architects in partnership with Unbuilders (a company that takes apart homes and repurposes the materials, such as old-growth wood) and Powers Construction. The bar pavilion was designed to show a “proportionally accurate visual account” of the materials removed from a standard Vancouver lot (when a home is demolished). Fifteen percent of the exhibit was made from salvaged old-growth-timber, and 80-85 percent from black building paper representing recyclable materials. Red PVC sheets made up the last 5 percent of the bar feature, representing materials that are not able to be recycled and are destined for landfill.
Now in its 15th year, IDS Vancouver was definitely a show for thinkers and visionaries, with the entrance feature, A Sense of Place, designed by the hugely talented London-based artist, designer and illustrator Emily Forgot in collaboration with Benjamin Moore. Inspired by the work of Canadian modernism, and architects such as Arthur Erickson and Ronald Thom, the installation included 14 original artworks in colors ranging pastel pink to vibrant green.“They’re quite abstract,” says Forgot. “So you’re not really meant to be able to pinpoint what you’re looking at.”
Food was also definitely a theme this year. Attendees got to enjoy an iteration of the Edible Futures exhibit, “a series of thought-provoking art installations from around the world that invite visitors to reflect on our shared food future.”
In addition, the SEEDS exhibition by Dutch food and “eating” designer Marije Vogelzang, in collaboration with quartz brand Caesarstone, took show-goers on a sensorial journey as they were asked to choose—and swallow—one of two seeds (referencing the red or blue pill scene from The Matrix). Through audio dialogue, the seed then talked to the participant, from their belly, as he or she moved between the different exhibition pods. To reach each pod, participants had to wind through a “forest” of thick ribbons, hung from above. One of the pods was a grinding table, where the seed got quite upset at the idea that its “friends” were being ground. “I like to make these childlike fantasies. Places to explore,” says Vogelzang.
Los Angeles design was definitely in the spotlight at IDS Vancouver. Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung, the husband-and-wife duo behind Poketo, a design retailer and event space that has four locations in L.A. and is considered a hub for the creative community, spoke on the do’s and don’ts of running a creative partnership. And the incredibly likeable architects Catherine Johnson and Rebecca Rudolph of Design, Bitches shared their refreshing approach to design projects, as keynote speakers at the event.
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Read more: 10 Questions With... Jody Phillips