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Elegantly Corrupted at Radiant Dark

Kicking off Toronto Design Week was Radiant Dark's opening reception of Elegant Corruptions. Curated by MADE's Shaun Moore and Julie Nicholson, their packed showroom showcased the works of contemporary Canadian designers. Rubbing elbows with the industry's hot designers was fun but seeing their work was an exciting feast for my eyes.

This year's theme, 'Elegant Corruptions', juxtaposes the highs and lows found in our culture and transforms them into new and familiar objects. Part art installations, part utilitarian objects, this exhibit shows us some of the best in Canadian design.

With over 30 design firms participating, a few items struck my eye, including some Toronto-based talent.

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Shinny's, featuring hockey sticks formed together as floor lamps, was one of the major draws of this event. Since hockey sticks are now made of fiberglass and other materials, Barr Gilmore uses wooden ones to show us a bygone era while stylishly creating a useful product.

Influenza never looked so attractive. Dirty Dishes are plush hand-woven wool carpets that resemble Petri dish photographs. Bev Hisey combines the softness of wool and the roughness of exposed canvas and these colourful rugs of viruses and bacteria will convince you to bring these type of diseases into the home.

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We're a nation that loves our mounties, loggers and the CN Tower, but imagine them in unfamiliar settings. Corrupted Canadiana's creator Anneke van Bommel explores these symbols with shadowboxed images that give us a different perspective of our culture with a twisted sense of humour.

Modular shelving units made from standard gymnasium chairs, Stacking Shelves by Connie Chisholm Studio are simple, minimalist and useful. Try not to hearken those bad memories of gym class.

A few other pieces are worth seeing and mentioning such as the Dram Chandelier. Did you ever wonder what happened to those dark-coloured tumblers you drank from as a kid? Chances are they were probably used for this chandelier. This beautiful cascade of glassware created by Propeller Designs provides a warm and diffused glow of colours when the light hits them.

Forget flowers on the wall, Vancouver's Rollout Custom Wallpaper can create any design you give them. Their work at Radiant Dark shows a hybrid of the material corruption and consumption while creating a unique art design to decorate your wall.

Radiant Dark's Elegant Corruptions is open to the public starting today until Sunday February 8th. Be sure to attend the "Walk and Talk" on Sunday February 8th, at noon, which will feature eight designers presenting an informal lecture, discussion on their work and craft. It's a free event.

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