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Last week was the annual SIDIM show held in Montreal….as it has been for the last 22 years….

Here is the official history : :

SIDIM was born on December 7, 1989. It was Canada’s premium interior design trade event bringing
together interior designers,architects, specifiers, buyers, business people, consultants, targeted
consumers and the media for three (3) consecutive days of networking in the most beautifully
designed trade show in North America. In fact, it’s Canada’s Design happening in Canada’s
most exciting city: Montreal!

On the 26, 27 & 28 of May 2011, the Main Hall of Place Bonaventure will be transformed
into a contemporary interior design showcase.For this 23rd edition of SIDIM, some 300 companies
and creators from Quebec, Canada, North America and abroad will present the latest ideas,
products and services from their respective architecture and design communities.

SIDIM is a contemporary showcase for the newest trends in design, architectural and building
communities, local and foreign. Our exhibitors arehand picked industry leaders, chosen for their
quality and presentation, using SIDIM to launch new products and services, to reinforce their client
base and expand into new markets.

In a festive atmosphere sparkling with fresh ideas, new concepts, fresh styles and fun, be part
of the 20,000 visitors (industry professionals as well as business people and consumers who love design)
expected at SIDIM’S 23rd edition: Montreal’s design happening!

Before I continue, I want to reflect on an aspect of not just the SIDIM show, but a condition
which seems to be currently prevailing in many/most public venues, such as trade shows, conventions, etc.
Given the continuing stagnation of the economy, as each month grinds on to the next – and last year
business people were saying it couldn’t get much worse – well – guess what? It did……and as the surviving
enterprises struggle to maintain balance and equilibrium, budgets are cut, cut, cut…… budgets for things
like expositions, trade shows, etc. And yet, those whose job it is to organise and promote such events,
can’t – and won’t – do their crying in public……such would be completely  counter-productive.
So – the reality – which we all see if/when we attend such venues is, that fewer and fewer companies can,
or will, spend the dollars it takes to set up, rent booth space, advertise, staff and present – at trade shows.
That leaves only one avenue open for the show organisers – they must fill  the booths – and so they go
further afield – away from the stated purpose of the venue – to find business ventures that, at a stretch, might be
considered as offshoots of the main core of the show. What am I saying here? Simply this – SIDIM, en français,
Montréal International Interior Design Show. Seems clear, right?  The stated purpose/focus
is on/about/for, interior design. Hold that thought for a moment…..

So, Thursday evening I had the pleasure of attending a dinner party with an old and very valued friend –
and professional colleague. Barbara is an architect of esteemed credential…..she has traveled well
beyond her orbit of architecture to become, in addition, a highly respected colour expert consultant in the
world of print graphics. She has other ‘claims to fame’- all enviable. We go back many years – she is a professional
whose intellect and insight I trust and respect. Quite coincidentally she had  attended SIDIM
earlier in the day. I was, naturally curious about her impressions and opinion.
It was my intention to attend the show for most of Friday…..with a media pass, and my camera,
I planned to devote many hours to wandering – talking – interviewing the various exhibitors present.
A substantive investment of time, energy, etc. Her opinion, was unsettling…..
to begin with, attendance generally was worse than sparse……very few people at the show.
Booth space was also scanty – many big chunks of space between one exhibitor and another – not a very broad
spectrum of manufacturers or exhibitors. But more than anything else, she was shocked and dismayed at the
preponderance of 3rd party exhibitors – companies that, at the greatest stretch, have nothing to do with interior design.
For example – an exhibitor that designs and manufactures pepper mills! Other artisans, of which there are a
legion of talent in Québec, with booths set up…… but, again – these were spaces that in years past would have
been filled by fabric companies, sofa manufacturers –  ceramics, floor coverings, etc.
So, she was sorely disappointed – and yet sympathetic to the plight that companies are struggling
with these days to stay afloat.

In many respects, as it turns out, she was right! As I walked through the space, I counted only 3 office
chair exhibitors/manufacturers:
Artopex [www.artopex.com], Herman Miller, of course and EQ3 – which is a chain of retail home
fashion stores! Two chair manufacturers?
That’s it? How can that be?  If you were searching the online show guide for sofa manufacturers,
a few are listed…..one I decided to investigated
is called TOYTOY. Intriguing…..so – go check it out …. http://www.toytoy.ca.
Sofas? Not!  From their web-site, the following:

Each product is made from a simple sheet of recycled cardboard that is pre-cut and printed in
appealing colours, specific to each collection.

The product is delivered flat which considerably reduces assembly and transport costs.
A printed user guide gives all the instructions from

tearing the product out the cardboard sheet to the final assembling.
A one piece conception of the armchair ensures the buyer can easily assemble the furniture,
without the need to cut or glue.

Don’t misunderstand me – it’s a delightful company with a delightful product – but my point is,
it has nothing at all to do with the world of commercial interior design!

There were many such exhibits – and they were interesting. I was not disappointed from
that perspective – simply unsettled as to the state of affairs of our industries, and resources.

All that being said, there were some outstanding ‘finds’- and what I came away with
was more the sense that although there were fewer interior design finished products (sofas, chairs, etc) –
there were a lot of intriguing resource companies.

One such one was THINKGLASS. Their booth was small, simple and yet completely captivating……
a single under-lit slab of glass, about 30 inches wide by 60″ long and FOUR inches thick!
That’s right – 4″ thick – not layered, not laminated – one solid substance!

I was enthralled…..  and, at that thickness it is only $400.00 sq ft

Other examples of their fabulous products in various installations : :

A great product from a great company, founded in 1999 in Québec by artist/artisan Michel Mailhot
and engineer Bertrand Charest.
Stay tuned as DesignPlan will provide regular updates to the fabulous projects that Thinkglass gets involved in.


So – earlier I mentioned a company that manufactures pepper mills…..in that SIDIM  was a curious
venue for such an enterprise, the reality is that Sylvain Tremblay is a grinder-maker extraordinaire.
In a quick conversation with Sylvain (which will hopefully be followed up with a more
in-depth conversation for future inclusion in DP) he pointed out to me his certificate on the booth
display wall that certifies that Tremblay Moulins/Mills is in the Guinness Book of Records as  being
the manufacturer of the world’s biggest pepper mill!

Here are a few of their products::

Next week I will post the photographs I took. These are from their web-site at : :


The following is not about a product, per se, but about a new link to many products….

This is a brand new entry onto the Quebec design scene. It appears that it will provide us all with superb resources.

Check it out – sign up….. http://www.reseau-design.com

NumerArt : :


A great resource that offers a huge range of ready graphics for large wall installations, or, you can specify to use your own images.

: : Sesame Portes Créatives : :

From Sesame Portes Créatives, a whole new way to specify doors – be they for residential
or commercial installations.
The following cutaway illustrates the composition of the various materials and framing
employed in the manufacture of these doors. From panels of glass, fabric, metal, ceramic –
one has only the limits of their imagination to contend with : :

One of the artists/artisans I came across was Caroline Hébert…..a sensitive and innovative creator of glass
sculpture and works-in-glass….

: : Caroline Hébert : :


Have almost run out of space ….. and yet have about 100 photographs to post – will have to be next week……
From the field, Report #4 from our intrepid design intern in Bristol, AmyCarter : :

: : DesignPlan : : Report from the field

I am enjoying the long weekend after a busy week in the office. A tender is due for the corporate
project so I had lots of work to finish.
As well, I was introduced to a new project, attended a design critique, and had a few sales representatives
visit the office with their samples.

The office design critique is a great idea and similar to critiques at college.
The design team presented a current scheme they are working on and asked for our opinion.
It was a hotel project in London and the architects are looking at modular design
for inspiration. During the meeting we discussed the typical hotel layout.
Usually hotel rooms are situated on a window, with the bathrooms on the corridor so they
do not use up any precious window space. See this image I quickly drew.

However, this leaves a cramped room with a slim hallway of wasted space upon entering the room. As interior designers,
we must think of ways to space plan the typical hotel room to create a more open and efficient suite.

One idea that is becoming quite popular is to incorporate the bathroom area into the living/sleeping area.
For example, you could make the bathroom much smaller to just house a toilet,
then put a beautiful bath and sink in the actual living/sleeping space.
Many people may love this modern design, whereas others may not like the thought
of showering in the open.

I stumbled across a London hotel that has blended the bathroom and living space into
one to create a beautiful and luxurious hotel suite.

The Sanderson Hotel website:

This is also a successful idea, to use the back of the bed as a small desk, which also provides reading lamps.
I personally love this hotel design, and think it will be interesting to explore other ways to conquer this common hotel suite problem.

It has been a bit of a rainy long weekend, but yesterday I bought this beautiful hand-made bracelet.
Elsie Belle uses vintage charms to create new pieces of jewelry. This one is called Wish me luck!

Anyway, got to go!

Amy C

: : DesignPlan : :

And so – in summation …… I have no argument with SIDIM in the presentation of this year’s venue…..
their extremely able staff prepared a fabulous show environment. Everybody I came into contact with,
from those in the Media office (Nathalie Gay) and those at Agence PID (Geneviève Héon)
were gracious, concerned and accommodating……what I have issue with is, and it’s truly ’tilting at windmills’,
is the depletion of our professional core – of many businesses’ ability to compete, to get a ‘foot forward’ in
the economic vacuum that exists. And, of course, no one is at fault – not even the GreaterWiseMen  who lead
our politics and our country – for after all, they are all well steeped in the timeless doctrine of, Survival of the Fittest……

I wish us all well in these uncertain and frustrating times, and hope, truly, that we have the resolve and the
energy to return our professions, to the once
proud provenance that they so deserve…..

Until next post…..



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