AT THE TORONTO DESIGN OFFSITE
FESTIVAL 2018, a group of 12 local and
international artists and designers were brought
together to explore acts of material transformation
and change. Curated by Toronto Design Offsite
Festival, “Matter” was the festival’s fourth annual
“Matter” asked a critical question of its
contributors and visitors alike: What happens
when we take a long-term view of material life?
The items created and exhibited considered
everything, from the history and future of
recycling processes on both a local and global scale
to material memory and the everyday, sometimes
poetic aspects of material use and applications.
From a film on the waste we work to disappear to
the creation of an entirely new material, “Matter”
touched on the multitude of ways we use and
reuse materials on a daily basis.
Funding for the exhibition was provided by
the Ontario Arts Council, and gallery space was
provided by Urbanspace Property Group.
1. SIMON JOHNS, “MISSISQUOI 04,” 2017. GOLD
PLATED STEEL, ASH WOOD, STONE. The Missisquoi
collection is a series of numbered, one-of-a-kind pieces born from
reflections on building contemporary furniture in a natural, rural
environment. The goal is for the furniture to illustrate a conversation
between the fabricated and the elemental, a dichotomy of control
versus imperfection, and our emotional response to such contrasting
material qualities. The table shown here was designed and built
specifically around the geometry of a found stone from the banks
of the Missisquoi River, rendering it truly one-of-a-kind.
2. NICHOLAS HAMILTON HOLMES, “USEFUL/USELESS
META,” 2017. SPALTED MAPLE WOOD. An exploration
of material and form, Useful/Useless represents the raw joy of
dreaming, designing, and building things. It pushes the boundaries
of contemporary furniture by creating forms that may be useful,
but also may be useless; objects created for no purpose other
than beauty that, in the end, will likely be transformed into useful
goods. META is a culmination of a five-piece design series under
the Useful/Useless banner.
3. DEAR HUMAN, “PAPER-ROCK,” 2017. RECYCLED
PAPER HARDENING AGENTS. A new material emerged
during recent explorations at the Dear Human studio. Searching for
ways to push the longevity of paper pulp material, a small amount
of a cement-like substance was added to paper fiber, resulting in
Paper-Rock, a significantly stronger material that also is lightweight
and more sustainable than traditional concrete. The paper pulp
component is derived of post-consumer waste collected from local
businesses that is then dyed with natural pigments. The name
Paper-Rock reflects the final material that tends to resemble granite
or marble, with the paper pulp taking on crystalline qualities.
4. CREATORS OF OBJECTS, “FLATIRON TABLES,” 2018.
RECLAIMED BRICK, TUFFSTONE, TEMPERED GLASS,
CHARCOAL, GFR CONCRETE, BINDER SEALANT.
Inspired by the footprint of the classic flatiron buildings in Toronto
and New York, Flatiron is the first of a series of tables. The designers
took the proportions of the triangle footprint and extruded it upwards
to create a master mold in which they then layered raw materials
like colored crushed brick, silicates, and found glass. The results are
modern and substantial, yet deceptively lightweight.