Toronto design offsite

10 events to catch at Toronto Design Offsite 2014

Toronto Design Offsite (TO DO) is now officially underway - expect to see venues all over the city decked out in design exhibitions, immersive installations, and more by both emerging and established Canadian designers. Take a stroll in the Junction on your day off to contemplate the cluster of window displays, visit the Fermenting Cellar to peruse local artists' reinterpreted kitchen appliances, or enjoy an open bar before presenting your creative work at PechaKucha Night.

Though there are well over 60 things to see and do from now until January 26 (and in some cases beyond), here are ten you definitely don't want to miss.

Opening Party
When: Wed, Jan 22, 2014
Where: SMASH (2880 Dundas St W)
What time: 8pm - midnight
Admission: Free / Pay What You Can
The festival may start today, but the kick-off's mid-week in the Junction. Mingle with some of the designers, enjoy a craft brew or two from Indie Alehouse Brewing Co., and shimmy to the sounds of DJ Joe Blow - hopefully after some pre-party street roaming to catch some of the event's window installations. There'll also be works by Paul Mercer, Yasaman Pishvai, and Jessica E. Levine at SMASH, so RSVP while you still can.

Patchworked in Canada
When: Mon, Jan 20, 2014 - Sun, Jan 26, 2014
Where: Bosley Real Estate (1108 Queen St W)
What time: Mon - Fri 3pm - 7pm, Sat 12pm - 7 pm, Sun 12pm - 5 pm
Admission: Free
Patchworked in Canada is an installation of 1200 six-inch Portuguese ceramic tiles, each one unique in its appearance as well as its origin. TO DO will be the final opportunity to see the quilt-like wall in its entirety; after being shown, they'll be scattered throughout Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver as eclectic treasures in an urban world. Design duo Jasna Sokolovic and Noel O'Connell of Dear Human also made it a point to include a QR code with each tile - so that passers-by can discover the project and share where they found their pieces.

When: Thurs, Jan 23, 2014 - Sun, Jan 26, 2014
Where: Gladstone Hotel Art Bar (1214 Queen St W)
What time: Thurs 11am - 4pm, Fri 11am - 8:30pm, Sat 11am - 10pm, Sun 11am - 6pm
Admission: Free
This weekend, the Gladstone Hotel will be home to CAPACITY: an annual exhibition of design work by Canadian women. Though men dominate most sectors of design, this exhibition garners thousands of visitors annually with its innovative and truly beautiful pieces - like the sneaky chair-benches and handpainted teapots from previous shows. Expect nothing less from this year's colourful roster of participants, including illustrator Shea Chang and sculptor Erin Mccutcheon.

From Nothing, Something
When: Mon, Jan 20, 2014
Where: Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor St W)
What time: 6:30 pm
Admission: $11
For one night only, Hot Docs is premiering From Nothing, Something: A Documentary on the Creative Process. Delve into the minds of accomplished creatives - like musician Sara Quin of Tegan & Sara, Hollywood creature designer Neville Page (Avatar, Prometheus), and Choreographer Keith Young (Rent, Dancing with the Stars) - to discover what it takes to conceive an idea and run with it.

When: Wed, Jan 15, 2014 - Sat, Feb 1, 2014
Where: OCAD Student Gallery (52 McCaul St)
What time: Wed - Sat 12pm - 6pm
Admission: Free
The students at OCAD University never fail to wow us with their work across all fields. However, the annual TABLES, CHAIRS & OTHER UNRELATED OBJECTS exhibition spotlights the furniture design students in all their woodworking, metalsmithing glory. This year, they were challenged to explore furniture as personal expression, as a reflection of social/cultural norms, and as an influence on human behaviour - and I've no doubt they came up with the most remarkable of solutions.

Get Your Hands Dirty
When: Wed, Jan 22, 2014
Where: The Junction Train Platform (2960 Dundas St W)
What time: 5pm - 10pm
Admission: Free
Get Your Hands Dirty is as straightforward as an event name can get. For one day only, collaborate on a 20-foot mural with artists and non-artists alike - through large charcoal drawings of whatever the heck you want. Plus, you can jam out to sweet tunes and sip on hot apple cider. What's not to love?

When: Thurs, Jan 23, 2014 - Sun, Jan 26, 2014
Where: Milk Glass Co. (1247 Dundas St W)
What time: 8 pm - midnight
Admission: Free
Design duo Vincent Joseph Monastero and Matthew Alexander Cherkas of TREATY - combined with the artistic eye of photographer Babak Khairi - are showing at Milk Glass Co. all weekend long. Their work is equal parts clean-cut, experimental, and downright surreal - suffice to say I have absolutely no idea what to expect (but that's what they're all about anyway).

Light It Up
When: Thurs, Jan 23, 2014 - Sun, Jan 26, 2014
Where: Cooper Cole (1161 Dundas St W)
What time: Thurs - Fri 1pm - 7pm, Sat 11am - 7pm, Sun 11am - 5pm
Admission: Free
Let there be light! This weekend, the same movers and shakers who brought last year's Shiny Pretty Things to life (along with a whole slew of other award-winning exhibits) are featuring lamps of all shapes and sizes at Light It Up. Only the best of the best Canadian object designers will be showcasing their ultramodern creations, including Derek McLeod, Bettie Cott, and Joy Charbonneau.

Tableau Vivant | ILLUSTRATION Noir
When: Thurs, Jan 23, 2014
Where: Toronto School of Art (980 Dufferin St, 2nd floor)
What time: 7pm - 9pm
Admission: Free
Aside from the multimedia installation along the main stairwell leading up to the studio, Toronto School of Art is hosting a free, one-night only life drawing session open to the public. But, it's not just any life drawing session - it's a theatrical, sexy-yet-cynical film noir life drawing session (complete with props and dramatic lighting, no less). Bring along your art supplies to interpret the models' tableaus and capture the classic film noir mood.

Closing Party
When: Sat, Jan 25, 2014
Where: Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen St W)
What time: 10pm - 2:30am
Admission: Free
The closing party is slated for the second-last day of the festival at the Gladstone Hotel. After a week's worth of gallery hopping, installation contemplation, artist talks, and workshops, end the design celebration off with a bang (read: drinks and dancing). Then, wind down from all the excitement with a relaxing last look at TO DO the morning after!

Photo via the festival's Facebook page

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