DesignTO Festival 2022


DesignTO Festival returns for January 21-30, 2022

Mark your calendars; DesignTO Festival is back! Celebrate art and design January 21-30, 2022 with window installations viewable from outdoors, online events, and in-person programming.*

Going into its 12th year, the Festival transforms Toronto into a hub for creativity, taking art and design out of the studio and into the urban sphere. The Festival brings people together to celebrate contemporary culture, provides opportunities for emerging talent, and engages the community with exceptional and accessible public programming.

For more information, and the full Festival Schedule, visit

*COVID protocols vary per event.

Festival Highlights:

DesignTO Symposium: No Such Thing as Normal – ONLINE
January 25-26 | 6-8pm EST

‘No Such Thing as Normal’ is a symposium that brings together 11 designers, health professionals and community leaders to discuss how we can dismantle the long-accepted idea of “normal” in order to design for diversity, specifically in the context of a global pandemic.

728* Days – ONLINE
January 21-30

Reflect upon stories of resilience, cultural identity and mental health in the face of a global health crisis and a changing socio-political landscape by fourth-year students in the Art & Art History Program at Sheridan College and U of T Mississauga.

Daniels Mural Project – VIEWABLE FROM OUTDOORS
November 8 – June 30

Anishnaabe artist Que Rock has created a temporary mural on the University of Toronto Daniels Faculty north façade to honour the 215 children found at a residential school in Kamloops, BC, and the children who continue to be found across Turtle Island.

Holding Up History: Panel Talk – ONLINE
January 27 | 12-1pm EST

‘Holding Up History’ is a two-part program exploring the influence of facadism as an architectural and conceptual strategy for bringing elements from the past into the future. In this panel talk, Ria Al-Ameen, Suzanne Kavanagh, Vivian Lee, and Lulu Wei (experts from architecture, heritage conservation, design education and film) will engage in a multifaceted conversation exploring how heritage is currently defined and designated in the city.

Slanted and Enchanted – IN-PERSON
January 21 – March 8

In the studio, designers frequently use ad hoc processes to represent industrial ones, but often these improvised methods are more interesting than the ones they represent. In this exhibition, 21 designers engage in experimental crafts which may fall outside the traditional canon of their discipline.

January 21-30

Bending linear thinking into circular design, ‘Circular Over Linear’ asks questions about the possibilities for small scale textiles and large scale economies to be sustainable and livable. The question is: can objects fit ethically into a circular world economy?

January 21-30

Introducing the Oasis Skateboard Factory (OSF) SK8 GHOULZ! Here to haunt the ageist, patriarchal and white supremacist dreams excluding teenagers as radical producers of culture. This multimedia window display will push for inclusion and diversity in both skateboard and design culture.

Phase 1: Daej Designs – IN-PERSON
January 21-30

BAND Gallery presents ‘Phase 1’, a collection of wood furniture designed and made by Daej Hamilton, a Black female woodworker. This collection is intentionally designed to remind us of the sentimental value of sustainable furniture made to last.

BIPOC Portfolio Collaboration – ONLINE
Friday, January 28, 2-5pm EST

To correct the disproportionate representation of BIPOC within architecture and design professions, students that identify with these groups are invited to a collaborative portfolio review session with leaders throughout the design community.

Place Making – IN-PERSON
January 21-30

Reflecting on our personal relationships to spaces around us, ‘Place Making’ is a residency program delivered by DesignTO Youth in partnership with SKETCH Working Arts, culminating in a public exhibition of artwork by six youth artists: dairysam, Yasmine Hassen, Brian Jiang, Enna Kim, Winston LeYonnick, and Ashley Meza-Wong.


January 21-30

‘Purpose & Play’ is an annual exhibition that explores new prototypes for contemporary life, showcasing the work of eight Canadian designers and studios including Nikki Alagha, Maha Alavi, Melinda Hart, Hi Thanks Bye, Christopher Li Sheung Ying, Dominic Montante, Alison Postma, and Leisa Rich.

On Saturday, January 22, join DesignTO and Umbra VP of Design Matt Carr for an online conversation with all the designers, talking about their prototypes, playfulness in design, and finding moments of joy in the everyday. Plus, an announcement of the winner of the Best Product award.

Shared Terrain – IN-PERSON
January 21 – March 20

‘Shared Terrain’ is a group exhibition that fosters cultural exchange between the Nordic Region and Canada. This exhibition is structured around exchange and conversation between 10 creatives from distant locations who are collaborating with each other for the first time: Carissa Baktay, Laura Millard, Teemu Salonen, Randi Samsonsen, Katarina Spik Skum, Anie Toole, Lillian Tørlen, Wednesday Architecture, Justine Woods, and Boris Yu.

Ideas Forum: Confronting the Housing Crisis – ONLINE
Tuesday, January 25, 12-1pm EST

Organized by DesignTO in partnership with the Toronto Society of Architects, ‘Ideas Forum: Confronting the Housing Crisis’ features five fast-paced presentations (20 slides shown for 20 seconds each) exploring housing equity, modular housing initiatives, rent-then-own models, and community support and consultation.


To see the full list of Festival programming, visit

For more information, please contact:

Michael Madjus, Head of Marketing

Image credits:
Esmond Lee, ‘Below the City’, 2019-ongoing. Photo courtesy of the artist.
‘Table Chairs & Other Unrelated Objects’, 2019 DesignTO Festival. Photo by Kayla Zhu.