Toronto Design Exchange recently hosted their inaugural 10-day festival with EDIT: Expo for Design, Innovation and Technology. Here’s what we took from the event!
Location, Location, Location
EDIT was hosted in an abandoned factory at East Harbour (previously occupied by Unilever), on the very fringes of the city. While at first it seemed like a strange choice, the location bridged the gap between the chaos and business of Toronto’s downtown core and the tranquility of the Don Valley Parkway in a way that made us look at our surroundings a little differently. Despite the crumbling ceilings that littered the rooms throughout, the venue set the tone for what would be an exciting and innovative event…
Often, design and tech conventions appeal to only the experts in these industries, but what we loved most about this event was the range of demographics present. We’re not sure if it was the low-ticket prices (starting from $15) or a concerted marketing effort – but everyone from kindergarten kids to your best friend’s grandma was at EDIT. If design and tech typically appears intimidating to the masses, EDIT broke down these walls and made it accessible to everybody.
One of the key themes of the EDIT expo was social innovation, run in partnership with the United Nations Development Program. Social good, including themes such as eradication of poverty, hunger and deforestation issues, formed the underlying vein of the event, approached in a unique way with sustainable goals being faced as design challenges. This was particularly brought to light in a fascinating talk by Richard Tyson, Strategy Director at Frog Design, as he discussed the impact and importance of small data in relation to humanitarian crisis management.
Entrepreneurialism and breaking down barriers to success was another key takeaway from EDIT 2017. From the creation of a solar powered 3D printer to panel discussions with leading disruptors in their industries such as Joseph Weinberg (Founder at Paycase), Matt Gray (Founder and CEO at HERB) and Brett Belchetz (co-Founder and CEO at Maple) the idea that we should never be resistant to change was continuously reinforced.
What Inspired Us
There was a lot of amazing exhibits and interactive elements in the 15,000-square foot factory – but here’s a snapshot of some of our favourites.
ACTUA Innovation Station
Children are digital natives and typically adapt to technology fast…but what better way to accelerate their interest than building robots and making music with code!
Microsoft Hacking STEM
Created by Microsoft to help teachers introduce computational and design thinking into their existing curriculum, Hacking STEM successfully demonstrated how schools can introduce technical skills into the classroom, making it affordable and accessible to all.
Artist Dennis Kavelman challenged us to confront our own mortality. With an app analyzing your personal data, a face scanner and a freaky visual representation of your date-of-death, this made us seriously re-evaluate our lifestyles. For a few minutes at least…
Letters to the Mayor
Proposing a new future for the design and development of Toronto, this exhibition showcased real letters written by architects - including our clients at Quadrangle - to Mayor Tory, providing an assembly line of ideas that could one day shape our city.
The Future Is Wood
Wood might be one of the oldest known building materials, but it’s also one of the most advanced. Renewable with a low carbon footprint, this exhibit perfectly captured the juxtaposition of old and new.
We can’t wait to see what’s next from The Design Exchange!
Author: Sandra Moffatt