You may not have heard of the glossy magazine Interior Design. But if you are a designer in the U.S. or Canada you certainly have; it’s hugely influential. And it just gave a couple of its Best of 2010 awards to Canadian architects and designers. Among the high-rent winners – like a medical clinic at Dubai Mall and a Mandarin Oriental hotel – one Canadian project is a standout: a centre that delivers social services to Toronto’s native population.
There are signs, maybe, that interior designers are aiming for more modest and meaningful goals than they did a couple of years ago.
First, the interior-design titans Yabu Pushelberg won for Toronto’s Avenue Road – which I wrote about for Azure. It’s a high-end-furniture showroom, and it’s very large and visually impressive, but it was built with a deliberate modesty of materials. Black and white, steel and brick.
The talented Johnson Chou won for the HQ of Red Bull Canada (that’s the pic up top). This, too, was apparently done on the cheap, and as usual Chou’s office delivers some unusual twists and curves, blending a faux-rustic faux living room with tech-y, curvaceous partitions.
But the real surprise is Levitt Goodman Architects, and their work on Native Child and Family Services in Toronto. This is a fabulous renovation - a remake of a bland building for a non-profit organization. It’s unusual fare for magazines like Interior Design: it’s not expensive, and it’s not glossy, but it’s both humane and deeply creative work.
There’s one moment – a contemporary longhouse - that was beautiful and iconic enough to grab the attention of both Interior Design and another global journal, the Dutch interior-design magazine Frame. I’m writing about the longhouse for an upcoming issue of Frame.
More on the NCFS centre soon.
Congrats to all.