Friday, February 24, 2017

IDS 2017 warms up Toronto with design and dance

by Allan Tong
(last update: Feb. 24)

Toronto is a frozen hell-hole in January. Besides paying off Christmas credit card bills and enduring the darkest days of the year, Torontonians have little to enjoy at the start of the year. The Interior Design Show shrewdly fills the void to promote Canadian and world designers of home furnishings while injecting colour and fun into the city.

Last Thursday (January 19), the IDS opened with its annual party, sprawled across the north building of the Metro Convention Centre. Dozen of exhibitors' booths poured bubbly, beer and wine while others offered canopes of everything from beef to falafels. "It's the first real party of the year," said one woman, who works at a bank. "After Christmas, we kind of hibernate, and now we come out."

She paid $61 and dressed up to take in the party that lasted four hours. The unusually mild weather attracted larger crowds than last year. Partygoers danced and drank at the Caesarstone Stage (below) while consumers and industry professionals alike glided from booth to booth with champagne in their hands to admire the latest luxury bathtubs, lighting fixtures, kitchen appliances and bedroom sets. Everyone dressed up, like a red carpet premiere, and leaned towards casual chic. (I'd never seen so many black leather pants in one place.)

Toronto mixes paint and party at the Artist Project

The 2017 Artist Project exhibition opened Thursday night at the CNE's Better Living Centre with a party surrounded by beautiful creations. For $28 ($30 at the door), any art collector, hipster or party animal could have sipped red wine and nibbled on canapes as they admired (or dismissed) the 250 or so booths adorned in paintings. It was booth after booth of paintings, from oils to mixed media, with zero photography and almost no sculpture (a suggestion for next year), created by local artists. Last month's Interior Design Show opened in the same party fashion.

So was the art any good? That depends on your taste. As the photos below attest, styles ranged from the abstract to representational, from traditional to modern.
And the party? There were line-ups for glasses of wine, beer, Crystal Head vodka, Strongbow cider and even Walter Ceasar mix. Bodega Martin Berdugo and Between The Lines drew the healthiest queues for red, wine and rose. Meanwhile, Tabule served the tastiest food and it was vegetarian to boot (falafel balls with hummus and pita), followed by Quesada's Mexican samplers, but some patrons wanted a little more to nibble on (another tip for 2018).