Arcana Headlines 25 Years of Toronto’s Interior Design Show

From ambitious smart-home technology to innovative outdoor escapes, IDS's 25th anniversary delivered a blueprint to the future of design.

Arcana Arhome

To mark its quarter-century anniversary, Toronto’s Interior Design Show returned to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre’s North Building. Known for its full-length-glass views of the city’s downtown core and its 1980s brutalist structure, the convention centre has been the venue for many past editions of IDS. But what made this year so exceptional was the sheer volume of design innovators who filled the centre.

This year’s edition welcomed a host of leading brands from Canada and around the globe to comprise an exceptionally diverse roster of design trailblazers. The four-day exhibition included more than 80 keynote speakers, over 200 exhibitors, and six feature exhibits, many of which spotlit Canadian companies, artists, and designers.

“We’re so happy to be a part of IDS, because we meet people from all across Canada,” says Emily Grundy, division manager of design at Sherwin-Williams. Throughout the weekend, Grundy spoke at IDS’s Colour Forecast 2024, where she explored the drivers influencing future colour and design trends, including global, technological, historic, psychological, and economic factors.

 

 

“This year, we did a funky theme with an artist, Laura Foster, to represent each hue,” she explains. The exhibit she references is a series of chairs that Foster painted in striking abstract designs to represent an array of hues developed by Sherwin-Williams. “We have blues and greens, reds and purples, earth tones, and our more delicate colours at the far end to offer a full spectrum.”

While Sherwin-Williams might be a household name, others, such as Moorgen, were introducing their innovations to most Canadians for the first time. “We’re a smart solution product out of Germany,” sayss Matt Nelly, a representative from Moorgen. “We offer a smart panel that allows you to control every element of your home from A-Z, from your thermostat to lighting to window coverings. But what makes Moorgen special is the design. All of our panels are made in collaboration with celebrated architects such as Zaha Hadid.”

Hadid’s design is distinctive and angular, distinguishing Moorgen as a smart-home solution both in its technology and design. But as intriguing as Moorgen’s smart solutions may have been, by far the most popular exhibit at IDS was grounded in an escape from technology and an embrace of the natural world.

 

 

 

Arcana’s architecturally striking cabins have enamoured Canadians since 2021. The company promotes the relationship between humans and their natural surroundings by offering prebooked cabins located deep in Ontario’s wilderness. The reflective stainless-steel material coating the outside of the cabins allows them to blend in with the forested surroundings and provide a new kind of immersive stay in the woods.

Since launching, Arcana’s popularity has exploded, born initially out of the public’s need to travel safely after pandemic lockdowns and sustained by a renewed appreciation for Canada’s natural beauty. But at IDS, the intrigue surrounding Arcana (and the seemingly never-ending line around its exhibit) centred on the company’s latest development: Arhome.

 

 

 

Arhome offers a similarly immersive design-forward guest dwelling but will now deliver preassembled cabins available for individual purchase. Each cabin is 275 square feet and features stunning floor-to-ceiling red-oak interiors, a queen bed, a large picture window that offers expansive views, a fully equipped kitchen, a full bathroom with rain shower and separate water closet, heated floors and air conditioning for year-round comfort, and luxury finishes throughout. The exterior comes with a choice of materials, including the patented polished-aluminum used on Arcana’s original cabins as well as Corten steel, raw cedar, and blackened cedar.

“With Arhome, we essentially took what we learned with Arcana and applied it to this new hospitality experience,” Arcana’s co-founder and CEO, Jeremy Hill, explains. “We worked with Michele Sweeting as our adviser, who used to work as senior vice-president of planning and procurement at Four Seasons for over 30 years. She strategized a lot of the ways for guests to work around the unit to find things easily. We also looked at the wear and tear that occurred naturally with Arcana cabins to ensure that was minimized within Arhome.”

 

 

 

Hill explains that, in line with Arcana’s embrace of Canada’s natural environment, finding materials and products to last was a key emphasis. At IDS, visitors to Arcana’s exhibit got to experience these materials first-hand by touring an Arhome cabin.

“The biggest focus of the space is that giant window looking outwards,” Hill says. At IDS, the window looks down to bustling Front Street, but in execution, that window will be the cabin’s focal point to the outdoors. “In terms of materials, all of our wood is sourced from Canada. We sourced as many of our materials as possible locally. That was a big emphasis.”

The project is designed with sustainability in mind by award-winning Vancouver architect Michael Leckie of Leckie Studio and built by Oakville’s Hummingbird Hill Homes. From offering a means of connecting more intimately to our natural environments to developing ambitious smart-home technology to simply adding more colour to our everyday lives, IDS’s 25th anniversary delivered an event as innovative as it was diverse.

Discover the full list of IDS 2024 exhibitors here.

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