toronto design offsite

10 can't miss events at Toronto Design Offsite 2016

The Toronto Design Offsite Festival is returning to Toronto and bringing with it a hefty roster of art-focused soirees and exhibitions. You'll find the festival schedule packed with tried and true favourites (like Come Up To My Room) plus a healthy share of new events.

Here are my picks for 10 events and exhibits to check out at this year's festival.

TO DO Festival Party (Jan. 18)
On the 18th, celebrate the start of TO DO by mixing and mingling with art-minded Torontonians. The Shopify offices will be brimming with designers, architects and artists in celebration of this year's fest. Aside from socializing, you'll be able to check out Installations by designer Jacqueline Lane and throw back a cocktail or two.

Umbra + TO DO Compact Living Product Exhibition (Jan. 18-24)
Umbra is hosting a design exhibition all about compact living. With more and more people moving into condos, space is a luxury that most people just can't afford (I mean, unless you've got enough cash to buy a place like this). Expect to find design pieces that cater to small-scale living but don't sacrifice style.

#ROMInk (Jan. 18-24)
Celebrate Toronto tattoo culture by hitting up this exhibit at SMASH. It celebrates homegrown artists the stories behind their work. If you're considering getting some fresh new ink anytime soon, this event may just hook you up with your future artist.

Outside the Box (Jan. 18 -24)
While the festival does a good job bolstering local designers and artists, Outside the Box, which is now in its third year, gives props to makers from nine different North American cities. This time around the artists are giving their creative interpretations of the theme "multiples".

Come Up To My Room (Jan. 21)
The 13th edition of Come Up To My Room kicks off on January 21, bringing the works of Canadian and American artists, designers and collectives to the Gladstone. If you want to party with art-minded individuals, head to the hotel on the 23rd for the Love Design Party. You'll get the chance to drink and dance in the ballroom and then head out to explore the exhibits. Don't miss Ferris Bueller's bedroom.

Monogram Dinner by Design (Jan. 22-24)
Toronto boasts more than a few impeccably designed restaurants, but this event will take table settings to a whole other level. A mix of local designers and international artists will be taking over the Design Exchange for three days, showing the city how to make dinner more than just a meal with 3D dining installations.

SMORGASBORD (Jan. 22-25)
If you're a Toronto foodie (you know, the kind that already has a few Winterlicious resos nailed down) you'll probably be a fan of this exhibit. It will feature the works of ten designers who created pieces all about eats. I highly suggest dining beforehand.

TO DO Talks Symposium (Jan. 23)
Want to do more than just look at pretty things? Head to MaRS on the 23rd to hear multidisciplinary experts speak about design. Joanna Choukeir, Lindy Wilkins, Karen Oikonen, Selma Durand, Koby Barhad and more will be giving talks on the place of design in society.

Decoding Digifest (Jan. 23)
For those that want to give their minds a bit of a workout there's Decoding Digifest at George Brown College. A series of strategically placed games will be set up in an artist's studio and teams will have half an hour to solve them. If you manage to crack it in the shortest amount of time, you'll win tickets to this year's instalment of Digifest.

Blindfolded Walking Tour (Jan. 23)
Don a blindfold (no, this is not some sort of BDSM trick) and go out for a guided tour lead by philosopher Jonathan Silver. The non-visual walk will have you experiencing the city you know so well in new ways, using all senses but your sight.

What did I miss? Leave your picks for TO DO 2016 in the comments.

Photo from TO DO 2015 via Facebook.

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