Jan 17 - Apr 28
  DX Ground Floor  |  234 Bay Street

From flora and fauna-inspired underwater eco-turbines to mussel-inspired soy adhesives and bird beak-looking trains to breathing buildings, the natural world has increasingly become a source for design innovation.

In January, Design Exchange hosts Evolution, an exhibition by Toronto curator Sanam Samanian that examines how biomimicry – the design of products, services, and systems that imitate nature’s models – has given new rise to design thinking. More and more, designers are looking to nature for responsible design solutions, which has been fuelled by innovation in technology.

This exhibition invites visitors into a multisensory, imaginative environment that responds to present-day issues that are affecting design practitioners through a survey of products, things, and solutions. Get up close to experience Mahtab Oskuee’s intricately crocheted curtain embedded with responsive sensors; be awed by Brent Cordner’s new honeycomb-inspired architectural material; and have your mind bent by the interactive architecture of Philip Beesley (who has collaborated with the acclaimed Iris van Herpen). Plus, see contributions by Fugitive Glue, Mesh Cities’ Robert Ouellette, and Design Tennis.



Visitors will explore how Canadian designers take a closer look at the naturally inspired paradigms, such as biomimicry, and examine their role and influence in the evolution of design and how they are creatively solving man-made issues and conflicts through design informed by nature. Evolution asks, what is the future responsibility of the designer? How are designers evolving in response to rapid technological advancements? What role does nature play? And, finally, can human intelligence design better than nature?

Evolution is generously supported by Ryerson University’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, The Social Collective, and Armin Youseffi.

Save The Dates

Evolution opens to the public on January 17, as part of Toronto Design Offsite Festival (January 16 to 22) and runs until the end of April 28.  

On January 22 , join us for a free Kids’ Day where we’ll offer hands-on activities that demonstrate how nature and design intersect.
Details: Sunday, January 22, 1-4PM at Design Exchange (234 Bay Street)

In February,  join the curator and participating designers for an energetic and engaging talk about the intersection of nature and technology, how it’s influencing their work, and the how it’s changing design. Date to be announced soon.


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


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