Toronto Offsite Design Festival: Interview with Creative Director Deborah Wang

Celebrating the thriving Canadian design industry, the seventh edition of The Toronto Design Offsite Festival (TO DO) is taking place this week (January 16-22, 2017). Creative Director Deborah Wang tells Archello how this event came about, where it’s headed and gives us insight into some of the highlights.

Archello: Could you briefly describe the Toronto Design Offsite Festival and its goals/objectives as a platform?

DW: The Toronto Design Offsite Festival (TO DO) is Canada’s largest cultural celebration of design with over 100 exhibitions and events forming Toronto’s design week, January 16-22, 2017.

Our mission is to advance design and culture in Canada. For us, building a strong and vibrant design culture involves design and designers from outside Canada too. We also want to bridge the gap between design and community, i.e. connecting designers with the public, and vice versa. Our platform provides opportunities for designers to exhibit and talk about their work and research, for people to meet each other and build new relationships, and a welcoming space to test out new ideas, and get involved.

Archello: Are there any designs or designers that stand out to you this year?

DW: With hundreds of designs and designers, this is a difficult question to answer! One of our signature exhibitions ‘Compact Living’ stands out in that it showcases 11 new prototypes forcontemporary compact living, which is an important topic right now.


We are also excited to have Jamer Hunt, from the Parsons School of Design, give the keynote talk at our symposium on design and the pursuit of well-being. He is joined by 11 other speakers addressing well-being from social, medical, design and innovation perspectives.

In terms of getting a taste of design from many cities, our ‘Outside the Box’ exhibition is always a treat. This year we have boxes from 11 cities across Canada and the U.S., representing local design from Vancouver, Los Angeles, New York, and Montreal, to name a few.


Archello: In what direction would you like to see TODO move in the future?

DW: TO DO has grown bigger than we ever could have imagined when we start the festival 7 years ago. It’s become an important platform for showcasing and talking about design. Additionally, through our own curated exhibitions and events, we’ve have provided exhibition and speaking opportunities to many artists, designers and researchers. We want to continue this programming, and build new programs with like-minded partners. Our annual Festival Week will continue to be a key part of what we do, but you may see us popping us in other places too.

You can gain a comprehensive oversight with detailed information about all of the events on this week in Toronto here.

And more highlights below: