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Fashion Breathes New CasaLife

July 8, 2009
"Adding fashion in unexpected places," Bustle Clothing's Shawn Hewson stands next to his CasaLife creations; his concept sketches are shown at left.

"Adding fashion in unexpected places," Bustle Clothing's Shawn Hewson stands next to his CasaLife creations; his concept sketches are shown at left.

The It place to be on a late June summer night was the much-anticipated reveal of Mi Casa Su Casa Design Expo in Liberty Village’s CasaLife store. More than 1,000 people came to this casa to get a glimpse into the creative process of designing furniture and home accessories from conceptual napkin sketch to condo utility.

The big draw was a unique collaboration between non-furniture designers (such as graphic, interior, and fashion designers including StudioLit, Bustle Clothing’s Shawn Hewson, Evan Biddell, and Sealy Design Inc.) and other well-known creative Canadians such as Chef Roger Mooking and eTalk TV Host personality Tania Kim.

The Expo’s exploration of the creative process showcased the evolution of designs as social and aesthetic concepts coming to life in prototypical pieces. These pieces often reflected the designers’ philosophical perspective about design; Studiolit’s billboard coffee table obviously emerged out of designer Peter Lytwyniuk’s declaration, “Design is not a choice; it’s a lifestyle.”

Studiolit designer Peter Lytwyniuk's Billboard bench prototype

Studiolit designer Peter Lytwyniuk's Billboard coffee table prototype- from napkin sketch to floor display

Studiolit’s coffee table (pictured above) proved to be a crowd favourite. With its changeable poster-sized display at the easy turn of a knob, you can switch up the mood and message of the sleek accessory. Even better, it could easily double as a bench in a modern condo space. Two-in-one furniture that lets us decide how it looks? Now that’s clever design for the active user and space-conscious types. We hope furniture manufacturers are taking note.

Similarly, Bustle Clothing’s Shawn Hewson described his plaid- and tweed-clad mirrors as keepsakes in the consumer’s home or office, reasoning that “Good design results in the user’s desire to care for the product long term.” It’s little stretch imagining these masculine accessories in the dandy’s walk-in closet or grouped on the cottage wall for a warm and rustic feel. While it was a surprise to see this aesthetic restraint in this design- after all, Bustle Clothing is much loved for an upbeat take on fashion- it was interesting to see the designer turn to a more sombre and countryside palette.

Other intriguing designs included fashion designer Evan Biddell’s throne chair (pictured below) which experienced some alterations during the design process. Initially a very literal throne-inspired piece, the chair morphed into a compelling geometric structure. Its sleek style and associated “power” are here rendered useful, tasteful and stylish.

Evan Biddell designs "something with some meat on it," playing with the idea that "a person's home is their castle."

Evan Biddell designs "something with some meat on it," playing with the idea of "a person's home being their castle."

More pictures from the Mi Casa Su Casa Design Expo:

Designs by Christopher Bates for Ultra Menswear:

Tables by Christopher Ba

Tables by Christopher Bates for Ultra Menswear

Napkin sketch of tables by Christopher Bates' for Ultra Menswear

Napkin sketch of tables by Christopher Bates' for Ultra Menswear

Christopher Bates and Whitfield

Christopher Bates with Robert Whitfield

The Mi Casa Su Casa Design Expo was a hit because it explored the design process by bringing in some uninitiated types and asked them to dream big. Can’t wait to see what the next collaboration serves up.

Images courtesy of Studiolit.

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