IIDEX 2015 top 10 favourites

I recently attended the IIDEX show in Toronto. I have to confess I have not often been to this show in the past. For one reason or another it has not been on my design radar. It's a mistake I corrected this year and I'll definitely take note in the future. As a newly minted freelancer I'm looking everywhere for what's new and what's next. Here are my top pics from the show.

Can you believe this is Formica?  This item represents the convergence of two design trends I see coming on strong right now. First, black marble is the new white marble. Dark marble is happening everywhere you look, from cheese boards to cocktail tables to bathroom accessories. So dramatic and bold. I love it. (see also: green marble). Second, I think we are getting over the stigma associated with surfaces that are "faux". Sophisticated designers are seeing the wider applications possible with marble and other stone lookalikes and are embracing them. I think the main reason this is happening is that simulated stone patterns are getting more and more realistic -- and the fact that they're usually easier on the materials and install budget doesn't hurt either. 

Up next in surface news is this delicious business from Octopus. It's called Octoterra and is mad up of recycled galvanized metal over a wood base material. That warm copper colour is just beautiful. The mind reals thinking of possible applications. 

While there's nothing new about this surface -- it's good old soapstone -- I must admit it was my favourite surface find by a mile. I could. not. stop. caressing. it. Actually, I had to look up a few times to make sure no one was noticing my soapstone love-in. Soapstone is a silky-smooth matte surface that's perfect for kitchen counters or sinks. That's actually a dream of mine -- someday, some kitchen in my life will have it! Most people think of it as very soft and prone to wear. But the Brazilian varieties are quite durable. While we have it right here in Canada, that variety is actually the softer type (think Inuit carvings) and isn't suitable for counters. 

The folks at Secto Design of Finland brought their A-game and a whole bunch of very cool pendants. Love the ones that are nipped in at the waist a bit -- that's a new shape in the light pendant world.

And still in lighting, this little innovator is actually a bluetooth speaker and light combined. And it's battery operated, so grab it by the handle and bring it outside with you. The Uma from the Pablo Lighting/Lightform booth is a super chic camp lantern. I like it and I need it for our screened porch in Prince Edward Island.

This installation knocked my socks off, and I see it won a Gold Innovation Award so clearly I wasn't the only one left sockless. It was in the Euro-Line Appliances booth and is called the Kompakt kitchen. Is it ever! In front of your eyes above is laundry, sink, cooktop, dishwasher and refrigerator all in the tiniest footprint. Truly amazing!

Remember I was saying something about dark marble...Well, here we go. Great coffee table from Casa Life

If I had been handing out awards, this would have won Most Beautiful Piece of Furniture. It's the Ramen chair by Marc Weersink. It was part of a special exhibit of items made from the bumper crop of ash available in Toronto now. The artistry in this piece is astounding. The curves, joinery, the way the grain is showcased -- all stunning. And the finish was silky silky smooth.

The Cavern table was also part of the ash wood feature and is made entirely out of reclaimed ash.   It seems very simple from the top view with its main feature being the highly figured ash grain. 

But closer inspection of the table reveals this interesting design where the legs meet the top. The info sheet explained that designer Mark Pylypczak was inspired by the pillar supports in a local industrial building. I had a little Oh Yes, Clever moment when I read that. I have been in countless photo studios that feature similar pillar construction. It makes for a graceful transition point when applied to a table. 

While the show did seem like booth after booth of surfaces and "hard" design elements, I was pleasantly surprised by this wallcovering featured in the Fogo Island Collection booth. If you don't know about the architectural gem that is the Fogo Island Inn then you've been living under a rock. But you don't need to go to Newfoundland to experience some of the design wonders it has to offer. The Fogo Island Collection includes furniture and assorted decorative elements that have been commissioned by the Inn but are available to purchase. This stylized acorn/oak wallpaper in a small scale print was a welcome note of softness and pretty on the show floor. I think it would be a lovely powder room, entry or nursery paper.