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Embracing the messy

School of Interior Design’s year-end show celebrates authenticity and transparency
By: Emily Graham
May 06, 2022
A woman sitting at a desk working over papers.

The Un/Filtered year-end student showcase show can be experienced both in person and virtually. Photo credit: SIDYES Instagram, external link

When you think of contemporary interior design, you may imagine clean lines, symmetry, innovation and minimalism. Now replace these images with sketches covering the walls around you, tracing paper on the floor and late nights drinking coffee in the studio. Enter Un/Filtered, the School of Interior Design’s 2022 Year End Show, external link (YES), which invites viewers to put aside their perception of perfection and embrace the reality of the design process. 

From May 13 - 15, Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) community members and the general public are welcome to explore the three-day showcase of The Creative School student work, which provides a platform for students to celebrate their accomplishments in design, create connections, and establish themselves within the evolving industry. Sponsored by Gluckstein Home, Studio Munge, and Haworth, this year’s show features both in-person and remote events, including networking for graduating students and industry professionals, and virtual workshops on topics like drafting and model-making, to name a few. 

Fourth-year student Joey Chu, chair, YES, says that the candid life of interior design students was the inspiration for this year’s show. “It became apparent that we needed to show our process work because that is the backbone of our designs - which is why we named our show ‘Un/Filtered’, to describe the organic, rough, messy, unfiltered reality of our work,” she says. 

“Process is such an important word in the design industry, but if you ask any designer to show you their process work, we’ll usually respond with ‘it’s too messy’. We believe that a focus on transparency allows us to value a diverse range of perspectives and celebrate our individuality.” 

From a roundtable discussion on Black women in architecture and design, to a panel on sustainability, the themes of diversity, authenticity and unapologetic individuality can be found throughout the year end show’s programming, external link.

“Un/Filtered allows us an opportunity to highlight issues within the industry that are often overlooked, but also create events that are safe and welcoming for those who want to learn more about design,” says Chu. 

Student work from a variety of School of Interior Design courses, such as Interior Design Studio, Design Dynamics, and Communications will be featured in the show.
Photo credit: Asma Fazal

This year’s show features a partnership with DesignTO, “The Un/Familiar Familiar, external link,” a virtual installation that recreates a familiar School of Interior Design studio environment. Through illusions that play with light, textures and foregrounds, viewers can see students’ work in the show in an “un/filtered setting.”

“YES is always thinking of new ways to showcase our students’ skills and virtual reality has been a fundamental skill taught during our four-year program,” says Chu. “We love that a virtual reality experience is very user-friendly, so anyone is able to walk through our installation with minimal instructions. At the same time, it allows us to show the community who we are as design students.” 

Un/Filtered features completed designs, sketches, models, prototypes and more, like this light sculpture by Jacqueline Hung and Pansy Wong.
Photo Credit: Jacqueline Hung and Pansy Wong

Including virtual aspects of the show was important for Chu and the student-run YES team, who began their planning in July 2021. Planning during a pandemic meant being flexible was crucial. “We had a lot of uncertainties about how to foresee our event one year in advance,” she says. “We’ve had to shift our plans throughout the year on various occasions, however we are grateful for the opportunity to host aspects of the event in-person this year.” 

To learn more about Un/Filtered and register for the events, visit the year-end show’s website, external link. Community members are invited to view the show in person at the Arta Gallery, external link in the Distillery District. 

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