The nub of my and others' unease with the current International Symbol of Access is that it excludes over 97 per cent of people with disabilities, because it is all about wheelchairs, rather than accessibility. To those who fear that the competition I've launched is aimed at throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater and getting rid of the wheelchair symbol altogether: this is definitely not the case. What I'm asking is for designers to reimagine the concept of accessibility and to come up with a revised symbol or set of symbols that will be more inclusive.
Apple announced this week that they have hired Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts to lead all aspects of their retail business, including online. No surprise that designers from Karl Largerfeld to Kate Spade have created smartphone accessories to tap into the tech market, but Apple's high profile hires tell us something else.
In 1969, the universal symbol for accessibility -- a blue square overlaid in white with the stylized image of a figure in a wheelchair -- made its first appearance. But the symbol is still built around a stick figure -- not a person. But the most important problem with the International Symbol of Access is this: it is exclusionary. The symbol is all about the wheelchair -- even though the majority of disabilities are not mobility-related. That is why, with the enthusiastic co-operation of the Ontario College of Art and Design University, I have launched an international competition to find a contemporary symbol.
Whether you're styling your pint-sized apartment, or just your petite powder room, any small space decorating can be made easy if you go about it in the right way. No matter what the scale of the project, some planning is always required. An undersized area needs an oversized amount of thought, but the result is a fully-functional and practical, warm, liveable space.
With the recent launch of Citibike, the world's largest bicycle share program in New York City, cycling as a viable option for city commuting is literally gaining traction. A means of transport around long before the automobile, the bicycle has been in and out of vogue since its 19th century invention as a human-propelled alternative to the horse. This time, however, the attention seems different.
Let's pay some homage to the garage. The one room that we tend to fill to the brim with everything under the sun -- sometimes never to be found again. The garage typically gets demoted to the bottom of the pile in terms of design, organization and priority. You don't need a professional organizer or designer if you follow these simple steps.
Today I'll be interviewing Janet Voth, owner of Designing Spacez. She holds the accredited title of Canadian Real Estate Staging Specialist (CRSS) and has extensive experience in the design industry, which allows her to truly understand what her clients both want and need in order to make their house sell.
Retailers in Canada and the U.S. eked out modest gains this season in part because shoppers are bored. To reignite retail in this country, we need a product design revolution. Take a quick look at who's winning in retail and it becomes clear that product design and the retail environment play a very big part.
Twenty-five years ago, Toronto was described as "the city that works." Few people believe that today. Toronto is lucky enough to be grappling with growth that out-paces almost every other city on the continent. The conversation should focus on what this future looks like and what kind of buildings we want to make up our communities.
Steven and his partner, Alan, longing for a backyard and some much needed elbow space, made the big move from a small city condo to a suburban bungalow. But the house needed much more work than they first thought. By opening up the space and filling it with contemporary fixtures and finishes, comfortable furniture and hip accessories, this house went from "suburban sad" to "urban pad" and is now ready for the stylish duo and their city-dwelling friends.
Harmeen is a fantastic cook, and she was thrilled when her daughter Niki expressed an interest in the culinary arts and offered to take over some of the cooking duties. The problem was the family's outdated kitchen, which was cramped, awkward and completely inefficient in its use of space. While it was barely functional enough for one chef, it was positively crowded with two. My secret ingredient for this kitchen? Demolition!
Christina and Gavin moved from a small downtown condo to a sprawling 1960s ranch style house just outside the city. But, moving from a small condo to a large house has left them shy on furniture -- especially in the dining room. They have a great space for big family dinners, and nowhere for everyone to sit and eat! With a big family feast in mind, I assembled the trades to create the perfect dining room!
Franca and Pat both come from big Italian families that love to cook -- and eat! But the couple rarely entertained at home -- it just didn't cut it in a family where everyone takes turns hosting dinners, and where get-togethers of 25 are the norm. I had to start from scratch in this room, so I got set to cook up one big "gastro lounge" for Franca, Pat and all of their relatives.
Ken and Annette were long-time suburban dwellers, but their downtown jobs and long commutes left them longing to live in the heart of the city. They found the house of their dreams and they bought it with an eye to moving in slowly and retiring there for good. While they wound up their life in the suburbs they let their three grown children become tenants in their new digs. But a whole year passed and the kids were making themselves very comfy -- that's where I came in, to reclaim the space and make it adult-friendly once again!
Barnaby had a tough time purchasing his first home. But after discovering one and having it gutted, he found himself in renovation limbo. He hoped that finishing just one of his 10 rooms would give him the necessary energy to undertake the rest. So I gathered up my crew and got set to create a modern bathroom that would jumpstart the rest of Barnaby's reno.
Cal is an animation artist, director and teacher -- and a first time homeowner. Cal wanted his live/work space to function on a variety of levels -- as a modern kitchen, as a professional office and as a cozy lounge area. And he wanted it all to be hip, creative and modern. So I got set to transform his home's main floor and give him a fashionable and functional space that fits his lifestyle.
Carl and Tony have lived in their charming semi-detached house for years but the duo recently decided they had outgrown their small home -- especially their dark, cramped living and dining rooms -- and started contemplating a move into bigger and brighter digs. But their neighbours wouldn't hear of it! They all banded together in protest and convinced them to stay -- and renovate! So I called in my crew and we geared up to turn the antique-stuffed space into a room worthy of two splendid hosts.