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Emerging talent brings design innovation to a hungry audience

Karen Kang, National Director, Informa Markets, Toronto

At Interior Design Show Toronto we’re nurturing a design ecosystem that offers ways for customers to connect with their industry at every level of their design careers. And focusing on emerging designers is one of the strongest ways we can bring diversity and innovation to the show, which in turn creates excitement and engagement within our audience.

Some 15 years ago we created our Studio North and Prototype areas in the event to give young, emerging designers space on the show floor. Each year we curate these areas to allow over 50 young graduates or start-up design firms a chance to showcase their work to the North American design community. Typically, the design on display ranges from accessories, furniture and lighting to textiles, wall coverings and surface design.

As well as covering part of the cost, we organise a panel (consisting of international media and one well-established designer) to critique the work on display. The winners of “Best Studio North Collection” and “Best Prototype” get complimentary entry to the following year’s event, and previous exhibitors have gone on to take larger areas elsewhere in the show floor as their business has become more established.

Time and again we are told by our trade and consumer audiences a like that these areas are favourites. They are hugely varied and you get to see design work that is innovative and experimental. And the participants thank us for creating a space where they can display their work to an audience that genuinely appreciates their design journey.