It can be hard to know how to get out and adventure in the city in the January cold. If you’re into design though, you’re in luck! And it’s hard not to be fascinated by design; design affects everything we do. From being in the office, to out in the city, to in our own home, every facet of modern life is mediated by design.
That’s why the DesignTO festival exists: They’re Canada’s largest celebration of design, hosting over 100 projects each January. It’s the perfect way to see, experience, and learn about the city and its rich tradition of design. From shop owners and businesses, to museums and galleries, to schools, and to independent designers, DesignTO a truly city-wide festival that has the capacity to attract and engage so many people from here and abroad… even in the depths of winter.
Now known as DesignTO, The Toronto Design Offsite Festival began in 2011 with 7 events and exhibitions. They’ve since grown to be an important platform with 100+ projects each year. These projects are the perfect way to get out and about in the new year to see some spaces that are usually off limits, experience unique work by internationally renowned artists, celebrate at some gorgeously decorated dance parties and more!
Here Are 5 Ways To Get Exploring With DesignTO This January
Learn at the Design TO Symposium
Go for a Ride With Bus Tours
On Saturday and Sunday afternoons of Festival Week, a Toronto arts and culture personality leads you on one of four guided bus tours to exhibitions at Harbourfront Centre, Artscape Youngplace, and more locations to be announced. Each guide brings their unique insight and expertise to their tour, with special stops selected by the guide. All tours will start and end at the Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen Street West. Meet in the hotel’s lobby for a 1pm departure.
Come Up To My Room
DesignTO has longstanding ties to the Gladstone Hotel’s annual alternative design show. Jeremy Vandermeij and Deborah Wang were curators of Come Up To My Room before they launched the first iteration of the Toronto Design Offsite Festival (now DesignTO) in 2011. The Gladstone’s GM Christina Zeidler is part of that story too—she was in the original network of seven people who came together to form a group of like-minded individuals who were all directly involved in the “early days” of what would become Toronto’s design week. Now in 2019, Come Up To My Room continues to feature exciting experimental art and design exhibitions that take over the top 3 floors of the hotel, and these exhibitions are still a huge part of the city-wide DesignTO festival.
Get a peek at private offices with DesignTO office tours
Ever wondered what else the world of workplace design has to hold? DesignTO’s office tours are your key to access the private spaces that are usually off limits! Check out the offices of Deliotte and get an exclusive peek into Campari Canada’s unique Palm Springs-meets-Italian Futurist office space in Liberty Village, designed by Toronto firm I-V.
Meet the International Artists at DesignTO talks
In connection with the exhibition ‘Surface Tension’, Alexander Groves and Azusa Murakami of the internationally acclaimed Studio Swine will discuss their work using water, demonstrating how combining water conservation with art engages the public with water scarcity and creates a connection to something commonly overlooked.
And Of Course, Party
It’s not a true international festival without at least two legendary parties. The Love Design Party kicks off this year’s festival on January 18th (in the Gladstone Ballroom, alongside Come Up To My Room) while the TO DO or Die Party wraps things up at the Garrison on January 26th!