Image via Design Milk
A few weeks ago I found myself just a few hours north of Seattle for a day trip to the annual IDS West Trade Day in Vancouver, CA – a benefit of living so close to a major international city with such sparkle.
Though marketed as a Pacific Northwest-centric show, I was met with quite a bit of surprise when I told vendors I was from Seattle – it seems that most attendees were Canadian. As such, most of the booths were manned by local product representatives and showrooms, which made it difficult to cultivate the initial relationships I always strive for at trade shows.
Instead, I found trade-show-themed-tote-bags-full of inspiration from the many installations and special exhibits included in the show, as well as a few new products to take back to the US with me. More than anything, I was reminded of how invigorating it is to be in the same space as thousands of other designers, and how critical it is to surround yourself with creative people who compel you to excel.
Los Angeles Exchange
Sponsored by Design Milk, the LA Exchange booth featured several designers that we’ve already taken a shine to, such as Eric Trine and Bend Goods. So fun to see Trine’s Octahedron Series and Bend Good’s Lucy Chair in person!
The New Frontier – Young Designer-Makers in the Pacific Northwest
Another booth that featured designers we’ve seen before here at Gather (Chadhaus, Graypants), The New Frontier installation introduced other young PNW makers to the IDS scene, from furniture (urbancase, Knauf and Brown) to products (fruitsuper, Freetime) to some truly gorgeous light fixtures (Peter Bristol, Standard Socket).
A residential product design competition, Prototype featured ten entries from a mix of young designers and students. With competitors ranging from Kurva Design’s Bow Lamp to Ox + Monkey’s outdoor soaking tub SOAK, the winner was a sinuous piece of sculptural seating by Arostegui Studio.
The Modern Kid
There were quite a few little people running around IDS West – not a typical feature of a trade show event. Kids rule the world, even the design one, so “The Modern Kid” installation included a handful design houses that cater to the younger set. West Coast Kids, a Canadian boutique chain (thank goodness they have a great website, for browsing from the States!), showcased joyful and witty accessories (oreo teethers, modern “dollhouses” and miniature music boxes). Collage Collage, a Vancouver creative art space aimed at children and their parents, handed out crisp white graphic pages ready to be colored alongside clever children’s books used as inspiration during art classes. I purchased this one for my 1-year-old.
In an overwhelming field of design houses at IDS West, Hinterland Design caught my eye with its stark yet textural (kind of like the uncharted lands it’s named after) furniture pieces. The woven Tidal Flux ottoman and modular Nurselog were favorites.
One of a handful of custom lighting designers at the show, Propellor’s mix of wood and clean lighting elements drew me in.
Like all Dekton products, Aura can be used in almost any application – indoors and outdoors, from kitchen countertops to stairs. But it can also be endlessly bookmatched, and it’s beautiful – the company’s booth featured a full-size “ultra slab,” measuring nearly 5 feet wide by 10 feet tall, which allowed professionals to see just how gorgeous that veining really is.
These black and white tiles by Tagina are stunning – and they were even more so in person.
Geos Recycled Glass Surface
I’ve always been fond of recycled glass surfaces, but in the past they just haven’t been able to hold up next to other countertop products. Geos is the newest iteration from EOS Surfaces, and based on the pitch I received, it sounds like it’s been beefed up to handle tough kitchen abuse. I even got a sneak peek at a new white-on-white colorway – a modern version I’m sure I’ll be using in the future.
Krion Porcelanosa Solid Surface
I wasn’t familiar with Krion until IDS West, but I’m smitten. The product itself is beautifully clean. A solid surface material made of resin and natural minerals, it’s been used in both architectural (exterior panels) and interiors (countertops, wall panels, custom furniture) applications. A match between modern simplicity and durability, the new Modul Series of bathroom fixtures are sleek application for Krion.
Were you at IDS West? What products or designers did you find intriguing?