There’s been so much outstanding design this year, so much to applaud and so much to be proud of. This year brought break through technology to improve our daily life. Real advances in ecological/sustainable work, as well as a resurgence of Canadian values brought about by the Canadiana 2.0 movement. Jaw dropping architecture that made our spaces exciting, and so much great fashion that we had a difficult time actually picking something.

The industry continues to struggle for not only a national voice but for a global identity. It strives to be active in producing state of the art pieces that have yielded some fine examples of top-drawer design. Enjoy the Top 25 examples of Canadian design from 2014.

Cutting across the tech sector broadly, our selections embrace the wild and the sensible. We thought these seven pieces showcase the most cutting edge design thinking.canadian design

The Bryston 7BSST² PRO amplifier is a legendary piece of audiophile “candy”. It is not only reliable but has the power to provide the crystal clear clarity that has run boutique sound systems around the world. Huge power for the biggest stereos, these amps are the best of class and prove that Canadians are leaders in audio design and manufacture.

Tinkerine Studios DittoPro 3D Printer is not just a pretty face. This is a printer that is truly timeless, making 3D printing accessible to everyone. It is constructed of beautiful, machined aluminum, with an extra large footprint designed for professionals and consumers alike.

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Felino cB7 prototype by Antoine Bessette puts Canada firmly into the small batch bespoke car market. This gorgeous carbon fiber menace is purpose built for the track but is also street legal. It is a high-performance vehicle that looks the part and is set to rip tarmac in 2015

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The EXOSUIT is a hard metal dive suit that allows divers to operate safely in extreme depths with dexterity to perform delicate work. This atmospheric diving system maintains the cabin pressure of the surface and still allows the suit to bend due to a unique rotary joint invented by Phil Nuytten.

Three digital products that we really liked were launched this year. The wearable Nymi Band monitors a wearer’s unique biometrics to enable a host of useful applications (like authentication processes and medical info sharing). The Blackberry Passport, with its brave new design and layout, perfectly supports business users. The last selection might be the best tech product this century, the fastest computer chip ever made, the D-Wave quantum processor is a design that is revolutionizing computing with it’s raw speed and power.Canadian design icons

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Canadian designers have a real strength in producing work with social and environmental benefits, and 2014 adds to the tradition. The YiREGO is a foot powered washing and drying machine, solving a real world problem and helping people ‘off the grid’ gain something most of us take for granted. The Ecobee Smart WiFi Thermostat gives massive control over your energy use and can be easily programmed from anywhere, saving time and money in the process. METAMORPHOUS by landscape architect Paul Sangha, is a recycled steel sculpture designed to stop shoreline erosion in a beautiful way, proving that sustainability does not need to be unsightly.

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Terry Fox Hutch

We created a new Canadiana 2.0 category as a way to curate the pieces that are showcasing how design is exploring and expressing the contemporary Canadian condition. Its goal is to project a new image of the country onto the global stage. This work goes beyond the maple syrup and antlers motifs that have formed the Canadian design scene of the past. While the new design taps this folksy tradition it gives it a much-needed update.

Some exciting work came out of the furniture business. Douglas Coupland produced his Terry Fox Hutch. Patty Johnson created her Haida Chair that resulted from her exploration of the wood bending techniques of the Haida First Nations. Gus* Modern reissued the Spanner Lounge Chair, a design icon from 1950, and Miles Keller mimicked snowshoe technology to produce the lovely Kona Lounge. These are all premier examples of where our furniture business is moving, inspired by the local and focused on the global.

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Graphic designers also added to the new Canadian look and feel, and it is no surprise that two of Canada’s best contributed to the visual library. Paprika’s Louis Gagnon created a handsome “L’accent québécois” catalogue for Maison Corbeil and Marian Bantje’s “Fortune Money Alphabet” is exquisitely inspired. The motion video VESSEL by Ben Clarkson for Dan Mangan + Blacksmith is not quite graphic design, but we loved the riffs on Canadian images done so well, and with such humour. Detail matters, and these pieces show how graphic design has the power to grab our attention and hit us squarely in the mind and the heart.

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Our last two examples are things that all Canadians will recognize – hockey skates and First Nations imagery. These pieces are so strong and innovative that they easily made our list. Vaughn’s GX1 Pro Goalie ice hockey skates feature carbon fiber lightness and serious craftsmanship that improve their performance and comfort, bringing professional level custom skates to the mass market. The Royal Canadian Mint’s Interconnections collection was featuring the Beaver, Thunderbird and Orca Killer Whale (representing the realms of Land, Air and Sea) by Andy Everson. With the hologram actually minted on the coin, the images come alive and the colours of the sky shimmer and shift as you tilt the $3 coins.

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Canadian architecture saw real leaps forward in 2014 and the following three structures transcend mere buildings to become works of art. There were new forms, like the blunt angles and natural feeling of yh2 Architecture’s La Luge Cabin in Quebec. Rubin and Rotman Architects re-imagined aboriginal traditions and materials in the Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute. The extraordinary Naturehumaine created the bold form and simply programmed Sorel Residence. These constructions are innovative and stunning and highlight how architecture radically improves our lives and cities in meaningful ways.

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Fashion designer Ying Gao really grabbed our attention with her merging of technology and old school craftsmanship, creating projets interactifs clothing that responds to sound, touch, radio waves and more. The detailed and sophisticated work of Erdem Moralioglu was wonderful and fresh, and the simple and useful line of Muttonhead outdoor wear and the classic Cougar Cheyenne 2 boots are perfectly tuned to the Canadian lifestyle. These timeless boots got some slight detail upgrades this year and a bolder colour palette improving their look and quality. Fashion design in Canada is expanding and maturing as it moves international and 2015 will mark a major lift in this industry.

 

 

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We are thrilled that so many talented and creative people call The Canadian Design Resource their online home, and that so many people use this platform to express themselves and take Canadian design around the globe. We look forward to 2015 and hope you continue to share your ideas and stories with us, wherever you are in this creative country.

 

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