Although overall quality levels in virtually every product category have been progressively declining over the past two decades (thanks to consumerism's obsessive pursuit of the cheapest price), I am actually starting to see a pendulum shift back towards quality - at least in the furniture market.
While the teeming masses won't be abandoning the checkout lines of Walmart anytime soon, I am finding that more prospective clients have become extremely savvy on what true quality craftsmanship is with respect to fine quality furniture.
It is quite satisfying to work with clients who can respect the merits of dovetails and mortise and tenon joinery, while appreciating the difference between a piece of furniture crafted from real walnut as opposed to something that's simply been made with a "walnut finish" (i.e. a lesser wood stained a walnut colour).
Of course, for these discerning individuals the challenge then becomes finding suitable designers and makers of this high quality work. For anyone who happens to be in the Toronto area next weekend an excellent opportunity will present itself at the Interior Design Show (IDS11).
The Interior Design Show is Canada’s largest contemporary design fair. Since its inception it has welcomed over 550,000 visitors, close to 5,000 media, and provided a marketing platform for almost 4,000 individual designers, studios, firms and companies.
The IDS also makes its presence felt on the international design stage by inviting world renowned industry leaders to speak, opening the exhibit floor to foreign companies and designers and inviting international media to attend. Keynote speakers at this year's show will include international stars such as Paris-based Jean-Marie Massaud, and Canadian television personalities such as Sarah Richardson.
In my mind the most interesting part of the IDS show is the Prototype and Studio North displays, which always offer the most extensive representation of forward-thinking, edgy Canadian design from across the country.
This year's exhibitors will include:
Alain Belanger from Montreal with his sculptural art furniture;
Award winning Toronto based furniture designer Jean Willoughby;
Canadian glass artisans Tsunami Glassworks;
Montreal based wood artist John Glendinning;
Talented furniture designer and maker Dylan McKinnon of Toronto;
The inimitable designer and artisan Zac Ridgeley;
And emerging talents such as local newcomer Kevin Wiggers.
Studio North and Prototype are self-contained exhibitions held within the larger Interior Design Show (IDS11) , which runs from Thursday January 27th though Sunday January 30th.