FEBruary 10 – March 8
Fashioning Life: Wear your story


Fashioning Life: Wear Your Story creates a narrative at the intersection of fashion, affect, and autobiography. More than a protective skin for hiding or showcasing the body, clothing is a repository for emotion and memory. It is also a powerful medium for communicating and writing a life. 

To illustrate fashion’s potential as a medium for life writing, curator Filomena Natale Gasparro asked 14 women (including Design Exchange's curator Sara Nickleson) to illustrate a crucial experience from their lives onto a simple white canvas dress. Gasparro designed three template dresses using three iconic silhouettes from the '50s, '60s, and '70s, which the women were encouraged to manipulate and deconstruct as they wished. 

Curated by Filomena Natale Gasparro.

Hours: Tues-Sun: 12-4PM, Mon: Closed 
Location: Lobby





Politics of Fashion | Fashion of Politics, guest curated by international fashion icon Jeanne Beker with DX curator Sara Nickleson, explores how fashion is a mirror of society by highlighting how clothing has been used as a tool for communicating identity and political expression. For decades, fearless and passionate designers have used this discipline as a tool to express their own ideologies and create wardrobes for like-minded people.

Spanning 1960 to present day and presenting over 200 works – including Jeremy Scott’s leopard print burqa, promotional paper campaign dresses for Richard Nixon and Pierre Trudeau and Alexander McQueen's military-inspired works – the exhibition spotlights the numerous ways fashion has helped ignite political awareness and how politics have dictated style through the decades. Exploring such themes as activism, consumerism, campaign and power dressing, gender and sexuality, and appropriation, the exhibition provokes visitors to examine how fashion contributes to social progress. 

Visionary works from the archives of Hussein Chalayan, Jeremy Scott, Moschino, PETA, RAD HOURANI, Christopher Raeburn, Diesel and Jean Charles de Castelbajac will be on view alongside items loaned by collectors of Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gaultier, Stella McCartney, Mary Quant and Rudi Gernreich.

Design Exchange presents this provocative topic by taking visitors through a thematic journey in a visually striking environment co-created by acclaimed designer, Jeremy Laing.

Politics of Fashion | Fashion of Politics is generously supported by Mantella Corporation.

Supported by Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport


General Admission: $18.50 + HST

DX Member: $9.25 + HST

Student/Senior: $14.00 + HST

Children under 12 are free

BONUS GIFT: As a thank you for purchasing your Politics of Fashion | Fashion of Politics ticket, you will receive a 12-issue digital subscription to FLARE, compliments of Design Exchange.






Design Exchange is located at 234 Bay Street, Toronto, ON. M5K 1B2 | 416.363.6121


JANUARY 22-25, 2015



Monogram, Casey House and Design Exchange take over Design Exchange’s historic Trading Floor to present an unprecedented culinary design experience from January 22 to 25, 2015.

Join us for Monogram Dinner by Design and surround yourself with 11 dazzling dining installations created by some of Canada’s hottest emerging and established designers, architects and creatives. From lavish and romantic to outrageous and cutting-edge, Burdifilek, Castor Design, Hariri Pontarini Architects, KPMB Architects, Mason Studio, Colette van den Thillart for NH Design, Candice & Alison, Partisans, Sarah Richardson Design, I-V, and UUfie create spectacular installations that are sure to inspire.

All proceeds from Monogram Dinner by Design will benefit Casey House and Design Exchange.

ADMISSION: $5 OR Free with admission to Politics of Fashion | Fashion of Politics











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jUNE 13 – JULY 1



See inspiring and creative designs by the winners of the 19th Annual Sears DX Canadian High School Design Competition. Established by design professor Brian Burns of Carleton University, this competition promotes the study and awareness of design disciplines in secondary schools across Canada. 

The competition invited all high school students studying in Canada to submit their work and awards the best submissions at junior and senior levels in Architecture, Costume Design, Fashion Design, Graphic Design and Industrial Design.

This competition is made possible by the generous support of Sears Canada.



Tapas: Spanish design for food



TAPAS: Spanish Design For Food, curated by Juli Capella and organized by AC/E Acción Cultural Española, explores the fusion of design and gastronomy in Spain. Presenting a rich selection of Spanish product designs dedicated to the world of food, this exhibition highlights more than 150 accessories, utensils and furnishings that show off Spain’s cross-pollination of design, creativity and gastronomy values.
This summer, experience how food and design are interrelated with a rich overview of Spain’s innovative design solutions and contributions to the world of food – currently and historically – through product, art, photography and video. Divided into The Kitchen, The Table, and The Menu, TAPAS: Spanish Design For Food offers visitors a chance to discover traditional objects and their contemporary reinterpretations by such top-notch designers as Patricia Urquiola, Hector Sérrano and Estudio Mariscal.

From its raw materials and preparation techniques to its theoretical aspects and inspired designs, this country’s gastronomic culture crosses boundaries that unquestionably constitute a hugely valuable heritage. 

TAPAS: Spanish Design For Food is organized and presented by:


Media Partner:


MAY 30 –June 8, 2014



The CONNECT: EnAbling Change exhibition celebrates innovative and thoughtful universal design solutions imagined by Ontario post-secondary students. Following a province-wide call, undergraduate and graduate students were invited to submit projects that explore universal design principles in such disciplines as Environmental Design, Industrial Design and Graphic/Interactive Design.

From a device that uses haptic design to allow people with visual impairments to experience and enjoy sporting events, and a mobile accessible kitchen that doubles as a classroom, these award-winning concepts offer unique and inspiring solutions for a more inclusive communities, locally and worldwide.

On display from May 30 to June 8, see the winning entries by students from Algonquin College, Carleton University, Fanshawe College, George Brown College, Humber College, University of Guelph and York University/Sheridan College.

Join us for the award ceremony and reception on Friday, May 30 from 6-9 p.m. to see the winning entries and meet some of the designers. View the winning entries here.


FEBRUARY 7 – MAY 19, 2014
Guest Curated by 
Pharrell Williams


This Is Not A Toy, curated by John Wee Tom and DX Associate Curator Sara Nickleson with Guest Curator Pharrell Williams, is the world's first exhibition featuring a collection of contemporary sculptures, figurines and artworks created by artists including Takashi Murakami, KAWS, FriendsWithYou, Coarse, Huck Gee, and Frank Kozik

The exhibition explores the conceptual toy – a form made solely as an expression of an aesthetic, concept or idea – as an art and design object as well as a contemporary cultural signifier. On display until May 19, visitors dive headfirst into the realm of designer toys as the Exhibition Hall is transformed into a vibrant and whimsical environment, filled with forms ranging from tiny trinkets to enormous free-standing pieces. 

This Is Not A Toy is generously supported by Artworkers Retirement Society, Hal Jackman Foundation, Ontario Arts Council, and Toronto Arts Council. 

Purchase admission tickets for This Is Not A Toy here

OAAG Members purchase TINAT Adult Admission. 


MAR 24, APR 28 & MAY 12 6:30PM

Join us on March 24, April 28 and May 12 for a guided walk through This Is Not A Toy with curators John Wee Tom and Sara Nickleson. Learn about the exhibition’s inspiration, the major contributions made by guest curator Pharrell Williams, and the criteria that guided the curators’ selection of highly collectible toys and the artists behind them.

Admission: $25 at the door

March 24 | Purchase tickets here.

April 28 | Purchase tickets here.

May 12 | Purchase tickets here.

Curators’ Tour groups meet outside the elevator of the Exhibition Hall (Floor 3). 

Photo: Curators John Wee Tom (left) and Sara Nickleson (right). Photo by Arash Moallemi.


FEBRUARY 21 – MAY 19, 2014
emerging designer competition


The exhibition for the Emerging Designer Competition celebrates the future of Canadian design. Following a Canada-wide call, more than 80 creatives in such disciplines as fashion, product design, architecture, interior design, industrial design and graphic design submitted outstanding work to an esteemed jury that included Douglas Coupland, Heather Reisman and Marcel Wanders.

This national initiative seeks to provide a platform for up-and-coming Canadian designers representing all design disciplines to receive recognition and exposure, and showcase Canada’s diverse talent. From February 21 to May 19, DX exhibits selected works by the winner, the Caesarstone People's Choice Winner and the winners in each category, that together represent the best in emerging Canadian talent.










The exhibition for Emerging Designer Competition is generously supported by RBC Foundation and Caesarstone Canada.




TobeUs was born as a vent of a designer who became a father and could not stand the sight of his own children using toys for just a few hours and then destroying them or stopping looking at them.

This is how the idea of TobeUs was born: toy cars made of wood, strong and sweet-scented, beautiful and clever because they are planned by skillful and passionate designers.

TobeUs has become synonymous with a way of design and the creation of new objects, attracting designers who want to design their own TobeUs. It seems that everyone has an idea for a wooden toy car in their drawer. Be careful, though, TobeUs is made by two cuts in a wooden stump that always has the same size. It is a project exercise that imposes clear limitations.

Matteo Ragni has gathered the the projects of the great masters of Italian design and curated “100% TobeUs: 100 Designers for 100 New Toy Cars”. Following a successful run at the Museo della Scienzae della Tecnologia di Milano, the exhibit comes to Design Exchange to show the value of a different future.

Featuring designs by Marcel Wanders, Mario Bellini, Fernando and Humberto Campana, Claesson Koivisto Rune, Matali Crasset, and many more.



OCTOBER 26 – JANUARY 3, 2014


Playing Favourites Part II: Geometry (Textures) features post war and contemporary work in Canada concerned with the exploration of shape, point, line, pattern, illusory and true tactility. Furniture and consumer products; projections and graphics examine how the use and manipulation of the basic elements of design can effect results both formulaic and chaotic. 

Featuring works by Jerszy Seymour, Philippe Malouin, Michal Maciej Bartosik, Frank Gehry, Castor, Tobias Wong, Jonathan Sabine, Patty Johnson, Robin Bush, Zoe Mowat, and Stefan Siwinski among others. 

OCTOBER 2 – 6, 2013
Festival des Métiers


This engaging cultural exhibition provides a fascinating insight into the longstanding traditions and values of Hermès in the crafting of fine objects defined by an uncompromising commitment to the highest standards of quality. Festival des Métiers features intimate behind-the-scenes demonstrations by masterful craftspeople from the renowned Hermès workshops in France, illustrating the methods in which products are painstakingly made-by-hand using techniques passed from generation to generation.

Admission to Festival des Métiers is FREE. October 2 - 6, 2013, 11AM – 7PM Daily.

About Hermès

Hermès was founded by Thierry Hermès in Paris in 1837, as a house of master harness-making and later saddle-making. Since that time six generations of enterprising artisans have explored new markets and new skills. Hermès has continued to grow while remaining a family company, with a uniquely creative spirit that blends precision manufacturing with traditional craftsmanship.


Lingerie Française

​Lingerie Française, a retrospective covering over 100 years of glorious French lingerie, is coming to Toronto this autumn. In this travelling exhibition, eleven renowned French lingerie manufacturers — Aubade, Barbara, Chantelle, Empreinte, Implicite, Lise Charmel, Lou, Maison Lejaby, Passionata, Princesse tam.tam and Simone Pérèle — open their treasures to the public. The unique show demonstrates the influence lingerie products have been exerting on society from the late nineteenth century up until the present day.

The French association PROMINCOR presents this luxurious history of French Lingerie, following stopovers in Paris, London, Shanghai, Dubai, Berlin and New York, from 26 September to 13 October 2013 at Design Exchange.

JUNE 21 – SEPTEMBER 15, 2013


Curated by The Design Museum London in conjunction with Christian Louboutin, this exhibition presents iconic French shoe designer Christian Louboutin, celebrating a career that has pushed the boundaries of high fashion shoe design. This exhibition celebrates Louboutin’s twenty years of designs and inspiration, revealing the artistry and theatricality of his shoe design from stilettos to lace-up boots, studded sneakers and bejeweled pumps. It is a magical journey of style, glamour, power, femininity and elegance.

Watch exhibition films 

Photography: Luke Hayes. Christian Louboutin, Design Museum, London, 2012.


JUNE 6 – 30, 2013


Now in its second year, the Connect: EnAbling Change Design Competition called to all post-secondary students studying design at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the province of Ontario. The program sought outstanding projects that illustrated the idea of design for all: In that the design of products and environments is usable by all people to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation.

This exhibition showcases the innovative winning work from the competition.


MARCH 25 – july 28, 2013
Part I: Light and Sound


The DX has asked some of the nation’s best architects and designers to tell us about the Canadian structures, graphics, and objects that interest them most, from the DX Permanent Collection of Postwar Industrial Design and beyond. Two exhibits over a 6 month period will highlight processes, materials, sensation and the elements of design, linking diverse disciplines for an unprecedented DX:Uncrated.


Part I: Light and Sound features post war and contemporary work in Canada created to stimulate the senses. Projections, objects of lighting, electronics, graphic and textile design illuminate the significance of the aural and visual in dictating the elements of design. Exploring exposure; colour; echo; the interplay of dark and light, silence and noise, this DX:Uncrated seeks to intensify the appreciation of light and sound as not only the mover and the product, but as a means of expression in design.

Featuring work by Guy Maddin, Castor Design, Jeremy Laing and Niall McClelland, Clairtone Corporation, Electrohome and more.


JUNE 7 – 23, 2013


Design Exchange is proud to announce the 18th Annual DX Sears Canadian High School Design Competition. The aim of the competition is to promote the study and awareness of various design disciplines in schools across Canada. This year, the competition provided high school students at both the junior and senior levels challenges that included, a community building using reclaimed shipping containers, a winter coat, a vending machine, or the competition winner's certificate.

This exhibition showcases the winning entries from across Canada.

MAY 13 – JUNE 9, 2013


Digital design and fabrication processes have erasing the old boundaries between designers and makers, craft and industry. At the same time, we yearn for the unique connection between culture, material and making that  traditionally defined fine craft. 

This biennial juried exhibition, organized by the Metal Arts Guild of Canada, presents the work of collaborative teams of metal artists and designer-makers from other creative disciplines. Design Sans Frontiéres proves definitively that creativity knows no borders.

MAY 13 – JUNE 9, 2013
Presented by the METAL COLLECTIVE


Sixteen Canadian metal artists set the table, each offering a different scenario through which to explore the memories, sensual enjoyments and rituals associated with the Table, in all its literal and figurative meanings. The exhibition weaves together ideas about community, consumption, worship and want, as filtered through the perspectives of European, Asian and Indigenous cultures.

Together, the artists offer a feast for the eyes, and an opportunity to contemplate what really nourishes us.


MAY 1 – MAY 30, 2013


"Although I asked the Kenyan students to provide their version of "public" and "private" space according to the 2012 CONTACT Photography Festival theme, the theme for 2013, "photography as an extension of vision", applies more appropriately to how they view their world.

When I first received the images, I was somewhat shocked. In North America we tend not to let humanity infringe upon a "perfect" existential shot. However, the more I studied the images, the more I was charmed by them. Each image says simply, "this is me in my world" and (to capture the song lyric of REM) "I am standing in the place where I live" and their understanding of the photograph as an "extension of vision" is an holistic vision a world separated into two spheres: marketplace and silentplace."

Christopher Nokes, teacher

JANUARY 9 – MARCH 3, 2013

Internationally renowned Graphic Designer Stefan Sagmeister is as celebrated for his commercial work for brands like LEVI’s or his album covers for The Rolling Stones and Talking Heads as he is for his provocative public art installations.

The Happy Show offers visitors the experience of walking into the designer’s mind as he attempts to increase his happiness via meditation, cognitive therapy, and mood-altering pharmaceuticals. “I am usually rather bored with definitions,” Sagmeister says. “Happiness, however, is just such a big subject that it might be worth a try to pin it down.” Centered around the designer’s ten-year exploration of happiness, this exhibition presents typographic investigations of a series of maxims, or rules to live by, originally culled from Sagmeister’s diary, manifested in a variety of imaginative and interactive forms.

Stefan Sagmeister The Happy Show
is organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania.

Stefan Sagmeister The Happy Show
is curated by ICA’s former Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director Claudia Gould.

ICA is grateful for primary sponsorship from The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage through the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative. Additional funding has been provided by ICA’s Leadership Circle. We are grateful for the support of The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; The Dietrich Foundation, Inc.; the Overseers Board for the Institute of Contemporary Art;  friends and members of ICA; and the University of Pennsylvania. General operating support provided, in part, by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund. ICA receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. ICA is also grateful to The Chodorow Exhibition Initiative Fund for support of the exhibition’s tour. (as of May 1, 2012)

To view The Happy Show sponsors, please click here.


Knolling Canadian Design

What's Knolling, you ask?
“Knolling”: The process of arranging like objects in parallel or 90-degree angles as a method of organization.
The term was first coined in 1987 by Andrew Kromelow, a Janitor with Frank Gehry’s furniture fabrication shop. At the time, Gehry was designing chairs for Knoll, a company famously known for Florence Knoll’s angular furniture. Kromelow would arrange displaced tools at right angles on all surfaces, and called this routine knolling, inspired by Gehry's then-client. Not long after, American Sculptor Tom Sachs spent two years in Gehry’s shop as a fabricator and adopted use of the term. Today, Knolling is integral to his studio process, having coined the rule “Always Be Knolling” (abbreviated as ABK).
“Knolling is essentially a method of organization and an interesting way to display objects. The smaller items within the DX’s Permanent Collection aren’t often given prominence, so this is their chance to be seen in a fun, albeit very composed way. Permanent collection items are knolled alongside those on loan from Chromoly, Castor, Paige Russell, Science + Sons and more."
Curated by Sara Nickleson, Director of Collections and Acting Curator

Know Your Knolling: an internet guide
Teach yourself all you need to “knoll” through these blog, social, and video-based websites:

Knolling Video by Tom Sachs

Vertical Urban Factory

Can factories be re-integrated into urban centres and present sustainable solutions for future self-sufficient cities? A renowned exhibition and research project presents the history and provokes the future for urban factories coming to the DX from New York via Detroit. It features a timeline comparing industrial technology, social issues, and factory design over the centuries. There is an in depth look at over 30 factories – illustrated with over 200 photographs, diagrams, drawings, models, and historic films. Both historic and contemporary examples of urban factories are displayed including – American Apparel in Los Angeles and the VW “Transparent Factory” in Dresden Germany (designed as a marketing tool). If entrepreneurs and urban planners reconsidered the potential for building factories vertically in cities, this will in turn reinforce and reinvest in a natural feedback loop leading to a new sustainable urban industrial paradigm. Visitors can imagine how the city would be if we brought factories back into urban centres – with additional skilled jobs and vital mixed uses. Local manufacturing is a significant topic in today’s economy – this exhibits shows concepts for the future. Cleaner and greener production could make vertical urban factories the engines of urban revitalization.

Curated by architectural historian and critic, Nina Rappaport.

With contributions from
Duggal Visual Solutions
Elise Jaffe + Jeffrey Brown
Israel Berger Associates
Santiago Calatrava Architects
Chilewich Sultan
Netherlands Architecture Fund

A project of New York Foundation for the Arts

SEPTember 13 – november 13, 2012
Considering the Quake:
Seismic Design on the Edge


Many speak of architecture as both a science and art, but few ever truly witness the “science” part of architecture. Behind the building’s skin lies much of its initial premise, developed between the union of architect and engineer; an intersecting communication, creating unparalleled synchronicity when each profession just plainly gets it right. What if we could bring these two seemingly disparate elements under the roof of one comprehensive exhibit; and do this through the principle of earthquake engineering? A domain thought of most singularly under an engineer’s autonomous control. Exhibit will display various projects that surpass conventional approaches to seismic design and portray the relationship between the architect and engineer (will feature full scale seismic technology, architectural and structural models, renderings, animation and other multimedia platforms). Design meets practical application. Examples: From ARUP's Hermès Building featuring the work of Renzo Piano Architects in Tokyo, Japan and their York University Subway Station with Foster and Partners in Toronto, to Daniel Libeskind's Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, to Cast Connex's seismic technology that will be included in New York City's World Trade Center 3 design.

Curated by Dr. Effie Bouras, Postdoctoral Fellow and Professor Ghyslaine McClure, P.Eng, of McGill University, Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics.

With contributions from the Canadian Seismic Research Network.

Photo: Hansha Reflection House, Japan. Designed by Kevin Lim / Studio SKLIM.
Photo by Jeremy San.

JULY 11 – SEPTEMBER 2, 2012

This exhibition offers an intimate look at the design of one of Canada’s most celebrated treasures – the National Ballet of Canada. The exhibition is organized thematically – highlighting the various ways in which the ballet as an institution is designed through hundreds of items from the ballet’s archive. The exhibition provides a private invitation into the world of one particular company. Unique to this exhibition is that the players themselves – the designers, dancers, creative directors, amongst others – are invited to comment on the process of designing costumes, dance, lighting, sets and so on. This back stage pass offers viewers a rare opportunity to engage with the theatricality, innovation, glamour and beauty that is the National Ballet of Canada.

Photo: Celia Franca as Swanilda from Coppélia (1955). Photo by Ken Bell. First performed October 22, 1952. Designed by Kay Ambrose.


JULY 11 – SEPTEMBER 2, 2012


A supporting exhibition of 60 Years of Designing The Ballet

The iconic tutu remains among the most coveted and imitated articles of clothing in Western culture. In celebration of its 60th anniversary, The National Ballet of Canada has engaged friends, audience members and professional designers from across the country to participate in this interactive and international art and community-outreach project. The Tutu Project features pieces by Canadian fashion designers such as David Dixon and Juma, artists like Julie Moon and Tania Sanhueza, and jewellery designer Shay Lowe. Many tutus have been created collaboratively by visitors to TIFF Kids International Film Festival, Toronto Fashion Week, Word on the Street, Toronto Pride, Canada Day Celebrations in Ottawa, Share the Magic and members of Kids Corps. The Tutu Project also includes costumes from great moments in The National Ballet's history along with original pieces created by artists from Dance Victoria, The Port Theatre, Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Alberta Ballet, Giles Deacon for The English National Ballet, designers from the Fashion Design Council of Canada, and staff designers from The National Ballet.

For more information about The Tutu Project, click here.

The Tutu Project is generously sponsored by the Volunteer Committee, The National Ballet of Canada.



AUGUST 9 – 23, 2012
BRAVOS: Groundbreaking
Spanish Design

BRAVOS: Groundbreaking Spanish Design is an innovative exhibition that unleashes the mastery of a new generation of Spanish designers. Curated by Juli Capella, BRAVOS offers the opportunity to experience product design from 21 of Spain’s most talented industrial designers including Jaime Hayon, Patricia Urquiola and Nacho Carbonell.


MAY 3 – JUNE 30, 2012
Lynne Cohen: Nothing is Hidden
Scotiabank Photography Award


This exhibition showcases the photography of Lynne Cohen, a Montreal-based artist whose work captures institutional and domestic interior spaces including living rooms, factories, spas, retirement homes, laboratories, offices, showrooms, shooting ranges, and military installations. Her work has been featured in more than 50 public collections across Canada and around the world. Cohen is the first recipient of the Scotiabank Photography Award, Canada's largest contemporary photography award for an established Canadian artist.



JANUARY 23 – APRIL 1, 2012
Stephen Burks: Man Made Toronto

Stephen Burks: Man Made Toronto features the work of New York industrial designer Stephen Burks and his studio, Readymade Projects. Burks can be considered a design activist, whose work challenges the way that we think of traditionally crafted objects and contemporary design.

Burks collaborates with artisans in the developing world to transform raw and recycled materials into clever, functional products. Linking these products with the distribution and marketing of global design brands such as Artecnica, Cappellini and Moroso, Burks brings social, cultural and economic benefit to people in remote locations. In doing so, he also introduces new forms and aesthetics to contemporary design in the industrialized world.

For Man Made Toronto, Burks invites the Toronto public to consider basket lamps, shelving, tables and other interior products that he developed with Senegalese basket weavers in a village outside of Dakar. As authentic hybrids of two cultures, these products seem simultaneously fresh and familiar.