DX Community:
City of Experiences

  On until Feb 22

As we move through the 21st century, the experience of life in the contemporary city has surpassed classic urban development models. We are living in the 50/50 (some might say 80/20), a fluid presence between the virtual and physical worlds. One of the major issues we face is how to adapt and interpret ideologies, structures, and systems in this new way of living, to modify the definition of cities to encompass the experiences of the invisible cities that extend beyond physical infrastructure. As the digital landscape evolves, humans have more opportunities to intersect with physical and digital realms as they navigate the city and its experiences, creating a series of micro-interactions that occur across and throughout urban spaces.

Imagine a city without buildings—a city designed around experiences.

The underlying goal for the City of Experiences project is to continue questioning how cities are constructed and who they are constructed for. The popular discussion around the smart city and tech-utopias is not new, although maybe the technology used to drive them is. What is needed now, is to stop waiting for the acceleration of technology to determine how we will live. Instead, we should be active in creating the necessary platforms for society to imagine what experiences they want in their lives, and how these experiences can drive new methods for design. The City of Experiences is a project that through different experiments and engagements will continue to explore this hypothesis.


This exhibition showcases work by students and faculty from the School of Design at George Brown College. Through a series of workshops and experiments, they have reframed how cities are designed.



Save Our Souls Shelter 

  Dec 20, 2018 to Jan 15, 2019

Save Our Souls proposes the re-use of a by-product of this crisis: the hundreds of thousands of life jackets discarded on the shores of Lesbos by refugees who have landed on the island.


Souras sees the life vests as building blocks, and his igloo-like structure (which employs Velcro to hold the jackets together with six structural poles) highlights how architecture can make good use of recycling and offer solutions to human rights violations, even if only in the form of shelter.


The project aims to create awareness, but also has a bigger end-goal: Souras has created larger igloos that he hops can provide comfortable temporary shelter. He recently told Azure magazine that he also hopes his project will inspire Yamaha, the makers of the jacket, to get more involved in this solution.




The exhibition for the Emerging Designer Competition celebrates the future of Canadian design.

Following a nationwide call, more than hundreds of designers in such disciplines as fashion, product design, architecture, interior design, industrial design, and graphic design submitted outstanding work to an esteemed jury of national and international design leaders.

Peggy Sue’s work tells stories through quality garment construction. The fabrics and fibres of her designs can all be traced back to the farm they came from, the mill that spun them, and the artisan that made them. Every aspect of her work demonstrates her commitment to sustainable, resilient, and innovative solutions.

DX exhibits selected works by the winner, and large-scale images of projects by the Caesarstone People's Choice Winner and the winners in each category, that together represent the best in emerging Canadian talent.

Admission: FREE!

Our winners were hand-selected by an esteemed judging panel that included: Diego Burdi (Burdifilek), Paul Filek (Burdifilek), Diti Katona (Concrete), Omar Gandhi (Omar Gandhi Architects), Nancy Bendtsen (Inform Interiors) and Shayne Stephens (Saks Fifth Avenue Canada).




Northern Touch
Things You Didn’t Know Were Designed in Canada


Free Admission
  Now - Sept. 16
  DX Ground Floor  |  234 Bay Street

Think fast: name something designed by a Canadian. If the Blackberry, Umbra’s Garbino, and an all-plastic Thermos come to mind, you’re correct

But did you know land-demining boots, the world’s fastest bike, and the first completely electronic stethoscope were designed in Canada? Northern Touch presents a survey of housewares, furniture, lifestyle objects, and gadgets from Design Exchange’s Permanent Collection that highlight design innovations in Canada from the last half of the twentieth century to present day.

Northern Touch offers a small window into the national studios, facilities, and labs where innovation in design and technology has taken place. Canadian makers, designers, tinkerers, and start-ups continue to push the envelope, changing the landscapes of and approaches to where and how we live, eat, work, learn, and play.


  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



Perspective: The View from Here

A unique perspective of life with mental health conditions
  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

IKEA Then & Now

  Oct 21 - 30 2016
 Third Floor Exhibition Hall
 DX: 234 Bay St.


For 40 years Canadians have welcomed IKEA into their homes. Join us at IKEA Then & Now from October 21st to 30th and journey through the decades to see how IKEA has helped to shape life at home in Canada.

From humble roots in Älmhult, Sweden through to the present day and beyond, IKEA Then & Now is the story of IKEA in Canada – featuring products from IKEA customer’s homes!


At the exhibit there’s lots to see, do and experience. Find out more about how IKEA works with democratic design, its unique take on design that focuses on not just making things, but making things better. Experience the ball pit – for adults and children alike – or see yourself on the cover of the 2017 IKEA Catalogue. You could also win a trip to Sweden, just by visiting the exhibit.






The exhibition for the Emerging Designer Competition celebrates the future of Canadian design. Following a nationwide call, more than hundreds of designers in such disciplines as fashion, product design, architecture, interior design, industrial design, and graphic design submitted outstanding work to an esteemed jury of national and international design leaders. 

This year, hometown Toronto hero and internationally acclaimed Alexander Josephson was awarded the top prize for his innovative and influential approach to his field. Josephson is the co-founder of architecture collective PARTISANS, whose projects have made headlines in and graced the pages of the most authoritative design and architecture publications including Wallpaper*, Dezeen, Domus, ArchDaily, Designboom and Azure. His firm, which erected a literal cabinet of curiosities to display prototypes, sketches, and models of projects for 2015’s Dinner by Design at DX, has worked on iconic projects such as the Union Station revitalization, Bar Raval, the Grotto Sauna, and other notable work in Toronto, across Canada, and abroad. 

From December 8 to Janaury 31, DX exhibits selected works by the winner, and large-scale images of projects by the Cosentino People's Choice Winner and the winners in each category, that together represent the best in emerging Canadian talent.







234 Bay Street, Toronto

Tues-Fri: 9AM–5PM
Sat & Sun: 12-4:30PM 





Classic Plastics


"There's a great future in plastics," says Mr. McGuire to Benjamin Braddock in 1967's The Graduate. The plastic revolution – embraced after World War II as the new miracle material – began in the kitchen where it replaced metal shelves in refrigerators, was used for Formica countertops, and replaced wooden handles of electric irons and kettles. Plastic offered a dramatic new look to furnishings in the 1960s, and like aluminum and moulded plywood, it transformed design in the last half of the twentieth century and was influential in Canada's first wave of design.

Plastic became a key environmental issue in the 1970s, causing designers to move away from the material. Technology developed for the car industry paired with efforts to protect the environment, gave the material new life in the 1990s. New thermoplastics (a material, usually a plastic polymer, that becomes soft when heated and hard when cooled) can be reformed for greater strength and versatility, use less energy for processing, and are cleaner to produce. Recycling has made plastic acceptable, and improved moulding techniques initiated by computer aided design and lower tooling costs, introduced a new look for polypropylene – the same material Karim Rashid's Oh Chair for Umbra is made out of.

On display, find rare objects from Design Exchange's Permanent Collection that illustrate how this once newfangled material inspired and influenced designers from 1945 to present day, and transformed the spaces where we live, eat, and play. 


Exhibition Curation + Coordination | Tara Akitt and Simon Letourneau
Admission | Free


On Display @ DX: Magic Molecule, Christopher Chapman & Hugh O'Connor, 1964, 9 min, NFB






What do Jacques Guillion’s Cord Chair, Clairtone’s G2 Stereo, and Jan Kuypers’ Helsinki Desk have in common? They are all objects designed in Canada and made using manufacturing processes learned from the wartime aircraft industry. Opening September 17, DX Uncrated: Icons In Wood, highlights the post-WWII shift in Canadian furniture production from artisan-style shops employing cabinetmakers to furniture cut, formed, and assembled on production lines by factory workers.

Until the mid-twentieth century, the industry was characterized by the ownership of small plants by local families, often for generations. Many of these artisan-style shops employed cabinetmakers in the guild tradition, with a single worker cutting, planing, and finishing the lumber for each object by hand.  During WWII, a number of Canadian furniture makers, such as Electrohome of Kitchener, Ontario, lent their skills to the aircraft industry through the fabrication of components for warplanes.

Following WWII, fast-growing families created a huge demand for new furniture. Meeting the need at prices consumers could afford required ingenuity, and a radical shift began. Several aircraft manufacturers, including Canadian Wooden Aircraft and Aero Marine Industries, switched to furniture production, recognizing that plywood processes could be perfect for this modern consumer. Furniture was now cut, formed, and assembled on production lines by factory workers, rather than handcrafted by cabinetmakers. Production managers, marketing staff and industrial designers became key forces driving the industry and Canada’s adventurous talents used moulded plywood to unite modernist concerns with efficient production and original design. 

Curated by Sara Nickleson, Curator and Director of Collections

Design Exchange Permanent Collection celebrates Canada's rich industrial design history from 1945 to the present, and will be expanding this fall to welcome new accessions. Spanning more than five decades, the collection includes more than 600 industrial design objects and archival materials including furniture, housewares, textiles, electronics, and lighting.

234 Bay Street, Toronto

Tues-Fri: 9AM–5PM
Sat & Sun: 12-4:30PM 



jul 8 – OCT 12
smarter. faster. tougher.
Presented and commissioned by panamania, presented by cibc



Hit the road – or take a trail – this summer to experience some of the most revolutionary fitness fashion and performance gear that’s helping competitive athletes and active lifestyle enthusiasts’ get healthy, train and win big!

Sport is ubiquitous. It touches almost every aspect of our lives from health, fashion and culture to technology, design and architecture. With a history that spans little more than a century, sportswear has evolved rapidly due to an interwoven association with technology. Opening on July 8 and on until October 12 in The Distillery District, Smarter. Faster. Tougher. Presented and Commissioned by Panamania, Presented by CIBC dives into the evolution of sportswear and uncovers how technology, fashion, nature, and culture have contributed to the rapid innovative growth of athletic clothing, equipment, and wearables.

Curated by Marie O’Mahony, a professor of Digital Futures at OCAD University this exhilarating exhibit examines cutting edge advancements in sportswear and its wider cultural, social, and aesthetic significance. Divided into four sections – ethnography, nature, fashion, and performance – find dozens of looks and gear from UmbroRip CurlBioracer, Mountain HardwearValiantDescentePuma x Cedella MarleyFred PerrySpeedoTommy Hilfiger, Canada Goose x eepmon, Blue Glue, Loudmouth GolfMarloes ten BhömerStella McCartney x Adidas, and more. See innovations such as a 3D printed bikini, shark-resistant wetsuits, cardigans that incorporate bulletproof material, and shirts with heart rate monitoring systems.

Plus, a fifth interactive zone provides an opportunity for visitors to explore some of the most exciting new materials and technologies that have been developed for use in sports. And, a special app designed by Digital Futures at OCADU can be used throughout the exhibition via a smartphone or tablet to access more information, images and videos. 

39 Parliament Street, The Distillery District

Mon: Closed
Tues: 11AM–6PM
Wed-Thu: 11AM–8PM
Fri-Sun: Noon–6PM





MAY 14 – AUG 30
363 King Street WEST

This mind-melting exhibition brings some of the world’s most innovative and challenging large-scale, never-before-seen 3D printed projects to Toronto for an unprecedented presentation of the intersection of design, art, science, construction, and community.
Curated by Sara Nickleson, DX Curator and Director of Collections, 3DXL marks the museum’s first major offsite cultural experience. In a glass box at the corner of King Street and Blue Jays Way, the exhibition will provide an immersive opportunity for visitors and passersby to experience 3D printing.
Massive projects on view include a central component from DUS Architects' 3D Print Canal House in Amsterdam (which was recently visited by President Barack Obama). Swiss architects Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger have created Arabesque Wall, an strikingly intricate 3D printed building component made from sandstone. California’s Emerging Objects erects Saltygloo, the world’s first 3D printed pavilion printed entirely from locally harvested sea salt, while Toronto's Denegri Bessai Studio sets up its Mangrove Structure, a airy alcove constructed using flexible rods and 3D printed connectors.
Plus, we’re flipping the switch on 3D printers for live and interactive installations and workshops, hosting talks and events with the industry’s most forward-thinking minds; offering 3D printing camp sessions for young, inquisitive creatives; and so much more.

363 King Street West, Toronto

Mon: Closed
Tues: 11AM–6PM
Wed-Thu: 11AM–8PM
Fri-Sun: Noon–6PM

General Admission: $11+HST
DX Members: $5.50+HST
Seniors/Students: $8.25+HST
Children under 12 years old: Free




MAY 9 – JUN 14
out of water and onto the runway with tfi


The Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI) has partnered with Nickelodeon and Viacom to present the SpongeBob Design Challenge, a new national design competition. 

The design challenge took place during the TFI New Labels® 2015 annual fundraiser on May 4 where five Canadian designers showcased their art-to-wear pieces for a chance to win the $10,000 cash prize. The runway design challenge was to create a bold, high-fashion couture gown inspired by SpongeBob SquarePants and his Pantone colour palette.

Ryan Alexander Smith

Lise Godel
Masha Ruginets
Matthew Gallagher
Tanya Théberge

Brenda Emslie, Director, The Room, Hudson’s Bay Company
Shauna Levy, President, Design Exchange
Carmen Martinez, Head of Hardlines, Canada, Nickelodeon and Viacom
Felipe Vega, Creative Director, Canada and Latin America, Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products
Susan Langdon, Executive Director, Toronto Fashion Incubator

DX Head Office, 234 Bay Street, Toronto

Mon-Wed, 12 - 4PM
Sat & Sun: Closed



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


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.






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











Chestnut Park Realty  |  DAC Group  |  Elte  |  PHD Media  |  Manulife  |  Richelieu  |  Stone Tile  |  TE Wealth  |  Umbra









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 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.


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. 

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

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.

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

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.


DX Headquarters is
located at 234 Bay Street, Toronto

DX will be closed 
April 4, 9AM-1PM
April 19
Call 416.363.6121


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