Grand Cru/ation

  Nov 11, 2016 - Jan 3, 2017 
 Union Station's West Wing | 65 Front St. W.


Coffee – the universal beverage of early-risers, afternoon break-takers, and evening social butterflies everywhere – is irresistible. The coffee break is ubiquitous, and for those seeking respite from the daily grind, it is a cherished ritual.

This Summer, Design Exchange, in partnership with Nespresso, invited designers, artists, architects, engineers, inventors, and innovators at professional and post-secondary levels to rethink, rework, and re-imagine the conventional coffee break in a new design competition.


Grand Cru/ation challenged entrants from Ontario and Quebec to submit proposals for an aluminum structure that would facilitate interaction during moments of rest, and incorporate a small recycling receptacle for the countertop to encourage the recycling of Nespresso’s cru capsules. An esteemed panel of judges including Janna Levitt of LGA Architectural Partners, Pascale Girardin, Interior Installation Artist, Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge, Manon Asselin of Atelier TAG, Brad Keast of Osmington Inc., Sylvie Charette of Nespresso Canada, and Shauna Levy of Design Exchange, came together to carefully go through each creative submission and decide on the Grand Cru/ation grand winner Lilly Otasevic's Break~Wave.


The project is made up of one multi-seating sculptural structure. The inspiration for this minimalist form was found in the simple shape of the Grand Cru coffee capsules. Round and slightly conical, this shape features a wavy top. The wavy design reflects the organic properties of liquids. Specifically, velvety smooth and discreetly wavy coffee.

Besides aesthetical and symbolic aspects, this undulating top surface features practical, varied, seating experience. One area is concave while the opposite is convex. This creates different seat heights that would accommodate people of different physical height and body anatomy – taller people might find it more comfortable to take a seat at higher seat area.

The structures can be grouped to create a lounge-like area where people could gather, pause and relax, breaking for a moment from their busy schedules.

Lilly Otasevic

Lilly Otasevic was born and raised in Serbia, (then) Yugoslavia and now calls Toronto home. She completed program at High School of Industrial Design in Belgrade, and studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade. Lilly moved to Canada in 1994, and since then has exhibited in Canada, U.S., and the Middle East. Even though she is a trained painter, Otasevic’s main body of work consists of sculptural work. Her art is driven by her interests in nature and higher order of things in the universe. Her growing up in a society with recycling practices in the early ‘80s, has influenced Lilly’s interest in ecology and environment since childhood. She is using various materials presently focusing on reclaimed bricks. Lilly has successfully completed several large-scale public art sculptural, as well as industrial design projects in Ontario

Now through until January 3, 2017, you can view the winning design as part of a new DXSatellite exhibition in partnership with Nespresso at Toronto’s Union Station.


D X P a r t n e r s

Discover v2com newswire, our official media partner for Grand Cru/ation. This international newswire distributes design, architecture and lifestyle projects to over 70,000 influential journalists on a daily basis. Reach out to their team of experts to get your projects distributed internationally! 

v2com: a passion for communicating about architecture and design


Design Exchange is proud to share the story of Julie Payette, co-founder of v2com newswire. In 2008, she and business partner Pierre Bélanger created the first international newswire specializing in design, architecture and lifestyle.

How did you start promoting architects and designers?

JP: I’ve always thought it was important to make people more aware of design and architecture, and especially the creative talent behind them. It’s not enough to have a project or product seen by a large number of people, it’s also important to know the people behind the concept and its execution.







More than 20 years ago, I started working in specialized media relations focused on international design and architecture. I was one of the first people doing that in Canada, and promotion in the industry was in its infancy. The first challenge was to convince professionals that it’s important to make yourself known both here at home and around the world. Over the years, we’ve helped raise their profiles.

Why did you create a newswire specializing in the design, architecture and lifestyle sectors?

The idea originally came from my partner, Pierre, while working on media relations for volume2 (our communications and public relations agency). He was looking for a more effective way to get our press kits out to journalists.

A major goal was to give media outlets a way to come and get our press kits at their convenience, quickly and efficiently. We also wanted professionals in the design, architecture and lifestyle sectors to have access to an affordable promotional platform.

Why do design professionals need media exposure?

First, it’s important to have a certain amount of visibility in order to keep up with the local and international competition. Media exposure in the design and architecture industries is among the most effective and profitable. An article or an interview in the media – newspapers, magazines, web, radio, TV – is objective recognition from a third party, which is very often influential among target clienteles.

However, it takes a lot of work for an architecture or design firm to do its own media relations and build and keep up-to-date the network of contacts it needs. Publishers’ processes are always changing, contact people change jobs, new magazines are launched, and so on. And that’s where we can help.

Why does one project garner media attention and not another?

Media relations is obviously not an exact science. But by observing the results obtained for all the press releases posted on v2com, we have been able to establish a relationship among certain decisive factors that influence the media interest received by a news item: the type of news, its relevance, originality, exclusivity and, of course, the quality of the press materials and the number of images illustrating the project. So a project that has never before been publicized, that has a unique aspect, and has a well-crafted press release and several professional images, will attract more media attention.

What advice would you give to design professionals?

Broaden your horizons. All too often, I still hear designers say they only want local media coverage because all their clients are local. And yet, several foreign magazines are sold and read locally. What’s more, having an international profile helps attract and impress local clients and enhances the company’s reputation. The key thing is to target the best publications, wherever they are. In the digital era, borders are dissolving faster and faster.


v2com was founded in 2008 by Pierre Bélanger, Julie Payette and their team to facilitate the discovery of design news and offer a quick and efficient affordable tool for the media, at very affordable costs for the clients.






Perspective: The View from Here

A unique perspective of life with mental health conditions
  On Now
  DX Studio: 234 Bay St.

This special exhibition in the DX Studio space is a culmination of creativity that aims to raise awareness around mental health issues and the ongoing process of recovery. Perspective: The View From Here aims to empower those who feel powerless, to give a voice to those who feel voiceless, and to instill hope in those who feel hopeless. On a larger scale, this project serves to engage local communities in a dialogue about mental health.

Generously supported by:  

This exhibition was born out of a DX Community Outreach programming partnership with CAMH’s LEARN and Photovoice initiatives. This Summer, DX Instructor Emilia Prius, teamed up with Occupational Therapists, Peter Mastorakos and Natalie Yiu at CAMH to lead workshops on image design and photography.

Launched during Mental Health Awareness Week (October 2-8, 2016), this exhibition conveys themes of hope, personal journey, transformation, acceptance, and awareness, bringing to light issues that require ongoing dialogue and attention to encourage education and end stigma. On view during regular DX hours.

DX Community Outreach

Design Exchange Community Outreach programs offer unique, inclusive, and accessible experiences to a variety of diverse audiences in Toronto’s high-priority neighbourhoods.

For more information on upcoming programs or to find out how you can get involved, please contact DX Programs Manager, Brigitte Huard: brigitte [at] dx.org or 416-216-2138.


Using cameras and storytelling, Photovoice is a program that encourages participants to explore their own feelings towards mental health and the recovery process.

The Learning Employment Advocacy Recreation Network (LEARN)

LEARN is a community-based service dedicated to helping young adults who have experienced their first episode of psychosis. LEARN provides a wide range of supports that aim to foster hope, facilitate personal recovery and help people return to everyday activities including working, studying, developing life skills, and socializing.


Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

CAMH is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research centres in its field. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues.

Photo prints available for purchase:



For more information or if you’re interested in purchasing artwork, please contact Natalie Yiu - natalie.yiu[at]camh.ca or (416) 535-8501 ext. 77309


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Design Exchange acknowledges the support of: