A Festival Where You Can Deepen Your Knowledge and Understanding of Design and Experience it

The 14th annual DesignTO Festival kicks off in just over a month. Running from January 19 to January 28, 2024, the Festival showcases over 100 free events including window installations, tours, talks, and exhibitions by over 300 artists and designers across the city of Toronto.


2024 DesignTO look & feel
Photo credit: Amir Khoshnevis and Aaryan Pashine with aftermodern.lab

Featuring an array of creative disciplines, the Festival showcases the interconnectedness of art, design, technology, and culture, reflecting the diversity of contemporary design. The 10-day Festival includes exciting projects featuring material and de-material explorations, a trip into the virtual worlds of AI and videogames, studio tours, multidisciplinary conversations, product launches, parties, and artifacts from the past, present, and future of work.

Bringing people together to design a better future is the heartbeat of DesignTO. The organization curates free exhibitions, presentations, and educational programming to increase the public’s knowledge of, and appreciation for, design, making design a shared and inclusive experience, and forefronting its role in creating a sustainable, just, and joyful world. For additional information and other media resources, visit the website.


Elsewhere Collective, 'Crack in the Case' installation, Nuit Blanche 2023
Photo credit: Image courtesy of 'DesignTO Launch Party' installation artists elsewhere Collective


Elsewhere Collective, 'Crack in the Case' installation, Nuit Blanche 2023
Photo credit: Image courtesy of 'DesignTO Launch Party' installation artists elsewhere Collective

Below, exhibitions and events that exemplify the three pillars that act as the structural backbone to our programming have been cherry-picked – joy, justice, and sustainability.


A room is a home, is a playground

Led by Montreal/Toronto-based creative practice Studio Rat, and produced by Ace Hotel Toronto, they welcome free play throughout the inflatable installation and across the three-day event. Join them for a conversation with their collaborators on the opening day.


StudioRat, 'Garden of Inflated Delights', Ace Hotel 2023
Photo credit: Image courtesy of 'A room is a home, is a playground' installation

Lucid Ideas

Through material and form, translucent properties can be used to create unique visual outcomes that conceal, diffuse, or reveal. To what extent can the process of obscuring light be transformative? This exhibition highlights nine prototypical examples of how translucency can be considered in homeware design.


Lucid Ideas
Photo credit: Image courtesy of 'Lucid Ideas' exhibition partner Umbra


Golden Beauty Supply

Upon her arrival in Canada, artist Ehiko Odeh grappled with finding community. It was through braiding hair that she fostered connections in the city. Her work explores the attention Black people give to their hair as it creates moments of intimacy, vulnerability, and trust. Enjoy her sculptural and painting interventions among 1970s era beauty supplies and advertisements.


Golden Beauty Supply
Photo credit: Image courtesy of 'Golden Beauty Supply' collaborators Ehiko Odeh & MCA Gallery

Ideas Forum: Architecture of Imagined Spaces

Organized in partnership with the Toronto Society of Architects, the ‘Ideas Forum’ features five fast-paced presentations exploring the intersection of real and virtual built environments. How can technology help expand our (architectural) imagination? Join to learn the implications of the shrinking gap between virtual and non-virtual worlds on labour, safety, and authorship.

Urban Canvas: Empowering Youth Through Public Art and Creative Media

Youths have the potential to make meaningful contributions to the design processes of communities and cities. Featuring urban planners, artists, and community organizers, this panel discussion will explore compelling case studies and best practices that have effectively harnessed art to embed diverse youth voices in community building.


Bartlett March Urban Design – Videogame Urbanism Student Exhibition, 2017
Photo credit: Image courtesy of ‘Ideas Forum: Architecture of Imagined Spaces’ speakers, You+Pea


Youth Street Art
Photo credit: Image by 'Urban Canvas: Empowering Youth Through Public Art and Creative Media' organizers Urban Minds.


Circular Living Lab (CLL)

Demolition creates unnecessary energy, carbon, and material waste in a climate crisis, while also erasing the cultural and social stories that are embedded into a place. CLL aims to act as an incubator for circular construction and urban mining in Toronto, supporting innovative designers who are leveraging the cultural and environmental potential of what’s existing.


Circular Living Lab
Photo credit: Image courtesy of 'Circular Living Lab' participant Stephanie Mah, Giaimo Architects

DesignTO Talks: Dematerialized

DesignTO’s ninth annual symposium brings together eight multidisciplinary experts to explore the complexities of de-materialization in an increasingly digital world.


Particulate Signals by Alex Yueyan Li.
Photo credit: Photo by Naho Kubota, courtesy of 'DesignTO Talks: Dematerialized' speaker Alex Yueyan

Future Matters

Materials carry complex narratives, and histories are embedded within them. This multidisciplinary exhibition – featuring the work of eight local and international designers and artists – addresses such interconnected themes as colonialism, sustainability, cultural significance and site specificity of materials, interplay between technology and hand-based techniques, revitalization of traditional cultural practices, and more.


Morgan Possberg Denne. ‘Old friend’, 2023.
Photo credit: Photo by Greg Ellison, courtesy of 'Future Matters' exhibitor Morgan Possberg Denne


Yassine Ben Abdallah. ‘The Bittersweet Memory of the Plantation’, 2022
Photo credit: Photo by Florian Lafosse, courtesy of 'Future Matters' exhibitor Yassine Ben Abdallah


DesignTO is a non-profit organization that curates exhibitions, presentations, and educational programming to increase the public’s knowledge and appreciation of design and its role in creating a sustainable, just, and joyful world. DesignTO is best known for the DesignTO Festival, Canada’s leading and largest annual design festival that celebrates design as a multidisciplinary form of creative thinking and making. The festival brings the public together with over 100 free exhibitions and events that form Toronto’s design week every January.