From Japanese design objects to kaleidoscopic bartops, here's what to see at IDS Vancouver 2017

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      With nearly 200 exhibitors and a jam-packed speaker schedule boasting names like Italian designer Matteo Cibic, blogger Kate Arends, and local luminaries Gillian Segal, Kelly Deck, and Karin Bohn, IDS Vancouver is shaping up to be another memorable year.

      But like any IDS Vancouver veteran will tell you, the design-centric fete—the biggest one of its kind this side of the 49th parallel—can be a mind-boggling experience if you don’t know where to look first. Luckily for you, we’ve narrowed down the 13th annual event’s top attractions in a convenient list, so you can arrive confident with a game plan in hand.

      Detours are not only encouraged, but welcome. (We suspect that there are more than a few design objects that are bound to catch your eye.)


      From left, artist Bobbie Burgers partners with Studio RENS and Brent Comber collabs with OS & OOS for IDS Vancouver's newly introduced program, the Mix.
      IDS Vancouver

      The Mix

      Plot twist: it turns out one of this year’s top features at IDS Vancouver doesn’t take place at IDS Vancouver at all. Sort of. A new addition to the fete’s lineup, the Mix will see three local luminaries working alongside Dutch designers OS & OOS, Studio RENS, and Sabine Marcelis to build a trio of collaborative installations on the event grounds.

      Offsite, they’ll be conducting talks that explore the connection between West Coast and Dutch design, while offering curious citizens an exclusive look into the studios of participating designers Bobbie Burgers, Brent Comber, and Martha Sturdy. Entry to these events requires a wristband.


      Contemporary Japanese studio we+ will showcase goods like its wax-and-resin Drought chair in the Tokyo Exchange.

      Tokyo Exchange

      Each year, IDS Vancouver looks across borders and beyond the Pacific to curate its international installation, the Exchange. The exhibition’s debut in 2014 looked to Brooklyn; 2015 shone a light on L.A.; and last year, IDS organizers expanded its search overseas to welcome a lineup of Dutch designers into the city. Now, Tokyo is taking centre stage.

      Curated by online design mag Design Milk and designed by local firm FSOARK Architect Inc., the gallerylike display will showcase works by Japan’s we+ and Design for Industry. Expect pockmarked wax-and-resin chairs, experimental clocks, and bold handbags fashioned from the same material that makes up kitchen cabinets.


      London-based artist Camilla Walala's installation for London Fashion Week 2016 featured her signature use of colour and geometry.
      Camille Walala


      Take five with a tipple at IDS Vancouver’s central bar (yes, there’s a bar), a vibrant space that will incorporate Ann Sacks tiles and a jolly 18-metre mural designed by renowned artist Camille Walala.

      The London-based designer is known around the world—and among her 90,000-plus Instagram followers—for her geometric and kaleidoscopic prints that decorate everything from galleries and high-fashion boutiques to house boats and music-festival backdrops, and you can bet that she’s bringing the same eye-catching (and photogenic) energy to IDS Vancouver.

      Looking for more Instagram fodder? Check out Stone Age Folk, Spanish artist Jaime Hayon’s collab with Caesarstone that joins carnival-like elements and handcrafted stone.


      Local design studio Origins' Checkmate board is one of 15 in-progress works that will be exhibited as part of this year's Prototype competition.


      IDS Vancouver’s annual competition among up-and-coming designers is the spot to catch the city’s next generation of creative minds at work.

      Browse new, innovative, and not-yet-on-retail-shelves objects like the Checkmate, a stripped-down chess board that reimagines each piece as its allowed path of movement; the Ava Byte, the indoor-garden equivalent of the Keurig machine (simply pop a “plant pod” in and watch the greens thrive in the self-watering and self-lit environment); and the Loom, a LED-powered fixture that was a finalist in last year’s LAMP international lighting competition.

      Once you’re done, head over to Studio North, a marketplace of limited-edition and custom works by Canadian and international designers, including last year’s Prototype winner, ChopValue.


      Browse design objects from London Fields Shoppe and other local vendors at IDS Vancouver's cash-and-carry market, the District.
      IDS Vancouver

      The District

      If you’re itching to take home a souvenir, head over to IDS Vancouver’s District, a cash-and-carry marketplace offering a curated selection of locally made home-and-design goods for the kitchen, vanity, living room, and beyond.

      Among the goods available will be nightbourhood-centred candles by Vancouver Candle Co.; boho-chic wood hangings by Saige and Skye; and industrial lamps by East Van Light. For the closet, you’ll find tailored button-ups by Power of My People and geometric and architectural jewellery by LanaBetty, Konzuk, and others. 

      IDS Vancouver takes place at the Vancouver Convention Centre’s West building from this Thursday (September 28) to Sunday (October 1). See event listing for details.

      Places to go nearby

      Approx. 15 minutes away