IDS West Conference

As a Canada novice, my first Vancouver experience will definitely bring me back to the Great North. Not only is the city impeccably clean and beautifully designed, but the people are some of the most generous and genuinely kind in North America. And while this metropolitan city is probably best known for its recent gig as host to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Vancouver hosts many innovative events, including the One of a Kind Show, the PuSH International Performing Arts Festival and most recently, the Interior Design Show West (IDS West). I was lucky enough to be invited to the IDS West Conference this year, and I am excited to share with you some of the great things I saw. — Stephanie

Photo by Stephanie Todaro, Pig by Ladies & Gentlemen Studio

Read the full post after the jump . . .

The IDS West Design Conference marked its seventh year in Vancouver this past September 29 to October 2 weekend. Starting as a venue for local Vancouver designers to showcase their work specifically designed for small and compact spaces, the IDS West Conference quickly expanded to include international designers of all caliber and genres. Today it is one of the largest design showcases in Canada. Vancouver native, design enthusiast and IDS West founder Jason Heard created the event as a means to showcase some of the up-and-coming and established innovative design talents in the Vancouver area but never imagined the event growing to the size it is today. “I really had no idea what I was doing, but these people believed in me,” Jason said in our quick chat.

In its seventh year, this conference now boasts more than 110 retailers, 30+ manufacturers and 75+ independent designers. Some of the most influential architectural and interior design names — including Ross Lovegrove and Montauk Sofa — as well as the most innovative design concepts and young emerging talent from across the globe gathered to showcase the best in their field. With so much talent, it was hard to narrow down my choices, but some of my favorites from this year included:

Fleet: These lovely ceramic creations are the work of Vancouver-based designer Zoe Garred. Among her ceramic goods, Zoe also crafts wood bowls, lamps and assorted jewelry. She was also just nominated for the Western Living Designer of the Year Awards.

Identity: This Canada-centric t-shirt brand has recently branched off into the home-goods realm with a series of pillows and throws. Designer Meghan Irish chose to make her first line of throws and pillows out of recycled army blankets with a unique graphic printed on each one.

Rubbish Rehab: One designer I took particular notice of was Chloe Chinn of Rubbish Rehab. She and her husband, Kevin, are responsible for some incredible upholstery work in their Seattle studio. Working with fine artists, Chloe and Kevin offer their clients refurbished vintage chairs with one-of-a-kind fabrics.

Dina Gonzalez Mascaro: Canada-based jewelry designer and artist Dina Gonzales Mascaro has a collection of some of the most unique and graphic jewelry that I have ever seen. She uses a majority of sterling silver to create large, sculptural pieces, including my personal favorite: this gigantic rabbit ring.

Re-Fab —Design for Sail: The most interesting, innovative and eco-friendly exhibitor at IDS West had to be the Re-Fab: Design for Sail section. In collaboration with Architecture for Humanity and, several local designers were challenged to repurpose the Teflon-coated material from the legacy sails of the former Canada Place structure into functional designs. The results included a series of light fixtures and an impressive canoe.

Image above: The Dirty Apron Cooking School dining room

Not only was the design on point this weekend, but the dining certainly impressed, as well. Brunch at Café Medina, lunch at the Dirty Apron Cooking School, dinner at Cento Notti at the beautiful Opus Hotel and an evening of milkshake cocktails at Society were all I needed to help me understand the culinary culture of Vancouver: DELICIOUS!

I just wanted to give a special thank you to HethPR for allowing me to see the best this city has to offer. And thanks to IDS West for an inspiring showcase of design. And an extra-special thanks to the city of Vancouver for my first taste of our great neighbor to the north, eh?

  1. Charmaine says:

    I went to this show too. It was pretty awesome. Did you see the guy that carves giant size spheres out of wood.
    Come back to Vancouver anytime. I’ll tell you the best places to go.

  2. andy says:

    the gigantic rabbit ring is readry beauty! that’s so wonderful if i have one…

  3. Brandy says:

    So glad you had the opportunity to check out some great spots in Vancouver while here and that you enjoyed them!
    Hope to see you back here soon.

  4. I was so impressed by this year’s IDSWest show! Glad you enjoyed your first visit to our corner of the world…we love it here too!

  5. LeeAnne says:

    Where did the chalkboard pig come from? I can’t seem to find attribution here, and I’d love to buy it. Thanks!

  6. IDSwest was amazing this year, so much talent and amazing design! Vancouver is a fabulous place, and I’m happy to live here, so I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed it here too!

  7. I also loved the IDSWest Show. I managed to get in on the ‘trade’ only day, Friday. Had a great visit with many designers… Meghan from Indentify was awesome! My Daughter even bought a pillow to take home with her.
    Dirty Apron is an amazing cooking school… Mmm first time I ever cooked Lobster
    I am surprised you did not go to Chambar for dinner? Lamb Tagine to die for!

  8. tracy a says:

    oh i love vancouver and all it has to offer! what a fabulous city and some very fabulous design elements! (sorry to have moved away, but still call bc home!)

  9. Alisha says:

    The giant wood spheres that Charmaine mentioned were awesome. That upcycled steel table with the sphere at one end made my heart skip a beat. Also loved the landscaping company that used moss and succulents to decorate their booth. <3 LOVE

  10. Zernike says:

    Where did the chalkboard pig come from? I’d love to buy it too. It would be perfect for my husband!!

  11. Joelle Ciona says:

    Glad that Design Sponge made it to IDS West!!! Wanted to add that the designer Dina Gonzalez Mascaro was awarded the the 2011 Western Living Designer of the Year Awards “One to Watch” for fashion! And also just received the BC Applied Arts Achievement Awards! She has a studio/shop in Vancouver called JewellerBau at 2408 Main Street. If you need the giant rabbit you can find it and other marvels there. and blog

  12. JS says:

    You’ll have to check out the Eastside Culture Crawl – another design event not to be missed. It happens late in November each year and is when the hidden talent of Vancouver comes to the surface.

  13. avital says:

    The One of a Kind show is really just a copy-cat of the Circle Craft Christmas market that has been happening FOREVER. Circle Craft is waaay better.


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