iMade -Ways of Producing: Rigour and Invention in the Italian Furniture Industry

Exhibition open to the public: March 14th to April 6th 2003

Mon to Fri: 8.00a.m. to 8.00p.m.
Sat to Sun: 9.00a.m. to 5.00p.m.
Admission free

Opening seminar and reception: March 14th 3.30pm

Evening educational seminars: March 19th & March 26th


“iMade© Ways of Producing: Rigour and Invention in the Italian Furniture Industry” tells the story of how the Milan region became the world’s leader in furniture manufacturing.

The exhibit examines the radical changes in the Italian furniture industry from 1991 to 2001, focusing on 27 highly innovative success stories from the world-leading Milan furniture cluster and showcasing the work of internationally renowned designers commissioned by the most advanced Italian furniture manufacturers.

The 5,400 square foot exhibit includes products from firms like Artemide, Molteni and Kartell, and the award-winning designers they employ, like Phillippe Starck and Ross Lovegrove.

The importance of design – and its relationship to marketing and technology – is the central focus of the exhibition, and the reason that CAWP and partner Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design felt it important to host the event here in B.C. “Italy is a world leader in furniture manufacturing and design, and we feel the 27 case studies in this exhibition will yield many lessons that our own industry can benefit from,” says Philip Evans, director of CAWP.

The exhibition will be launched on March 14th, 3.30pm at UBC Robson Square by Massimo Zanello, Regional Minister of Industry and Tourism of the Region of Lombardy, and Giorgio Visetti, Consul General of Italy in Vancouver. An opening seminar entitled “Design and Technology: Tools for Competitiveness” will then take place from 4pm to 6pm, followed by a buffet reception.

Two additional free public evening seminars will be offered in partnership with the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, to be held at ECIAD on March 19th and 26th, and featuring prominent names in Canadian furniture design.

Getting to the exhibition venue

Opening Event

Venue: UBC Robson Square Campus, 800 Robson Street, Vancouver
Time: 3.30pm onward

3:30 pm – Official opening ceremony by Massimo Zanello, Regional Minister of Industry and Tourism of the Region of Lombardy, and Giorgio Visetti, Consul General of Italy, Vancouver

4:00 pm – Seminar: “Design and Technology: Tools for Competitiveness”
Chaired by Professor Philip Evans, Director, UBC Centre for Advanced Wood Processing, Faculty of Forestry

“The Productive System of Lombardy” – Massimo Zanello, Regional Minister of Industry and Tourism of the Region of Lombardy

“iMade ® Ways of Producing” – Andrea Cancellato, Managing Director, Centro Legno Arredo Cantu’

“History of the BC Furniture Sector” – Allan Collier, Curator, West Coast Design Collection

“The Importance of Design Innovation in Furniture Manufacturing – a Canadian Perspective” – Christian Blyt, Associate Professor and Coordinator, Innovations in Wood Design Program, Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design

“Building a World-Class Furniture Sector in Western Canada” – Philip Evans, Director, UBC Centre for Advanced Wood Processing

This seminar is free of charge and open to the public – however, as seating is limited, please RSVP by Thursday March 13th to 604-688-0809 ext. 23

Evening Seminar Program – “Perspectives on Canadian Furniture Design”

Venue: Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design, Main Theatre, South Building
Time: 7pm to 9pm

March 19th

Niels Bendtsen, Principal, Bensen Inc.
Born in Denmark, Bendtsen emigrated to Canada in his childhood and trained as an apprentice with his father, a cabinet-maker, before returning to Europe for his formal education. Niels’ work draws from both the fine craftsmanship of traditional European woodworking and the mass-production approach of North America. His company, Bensen, produces well-crafted, high-quality modern furniture. Though a small company of around 35 employees, Bendtsen always designs for large production without losing quality, as examplified by the smooth transition of a line of cabinets that was intitially produced by Bensen but is now licensed by Montis, a large Dutch manufacturer. Niels has developed a worldwide reputation as a designer, and his most famous piece, the “Ribbon Chair” is featured in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Allan Collier, Curator, West Coast Design Collection
Allan Collier is a Victoria-based furniture designer-maker and collector/curator of Canadian post-war furniture and ceramics. His furniture collection includes work by numerous Canadian designers and manufacturers including Earle Morrison, Robin Bush, Peter Cotton and Mouldcraft Plywoods, all from British Columbia. Collier’s curatorial work focuses on design in B.C. in the post-war era: West Coast Modern (VAG, 1988), Achieving the Modern (WAG, 1992-1993, and Modernism at Home (Emily Carr, 1995). He is presently working with Alan Elder on an exhibition of post-war ceramics by the Vancouver firm BC Ceramics.

March 26th

Scott Laughton, Freelance Designer and Director of Design, Lolah
Born in Ottawa, Scott Laughton graduated from Ontario College of Art in 1986 with a degree in industrial design. He cofounded and for five years helped run Portico, a design company producing lighting, chairs, and tables. Laughton has operated his own Toronto studio since 1992 and has designed furniture and products for the residential and commercial markets, with clients including Keilhauer, Nienkämper, Pure Design, Du Verre and Umbra. Last year he became design director of Lolah, a new firm based in Oakville, Ontario. Laughton’s Swell table, one of five products designed for Lolah, received an ICFF Editors Award at New York’s 2002 International Contemporary Furniture Fair. Laughton’s work has been selected for ID Magazine’s Annual Design Review and has appeared in many other publications, including Metropolis, Azure, Intramuros, FRAME and Ottagono. The Royal Ontario Museum and the Design Exchange in Toronto have recently acquired his work for their permanent collections. He has taught at York University and Sheridan College and currently teaches at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto. Recently, he was named Designer of the Year (2003) by the Interior Design Show, Toronto.

Geoffrey Lilge, Marketing and Product Development, Pure Design
Geoffrey founded Pure Design in 1994 with two fellow industrial design graduates of the University of Alberta. Within three years of the Edmonton company’s formation the partners were overseeing 30 employees and a product line of 75 different accessories. Pure Design products have been featured on the set of Ally McBeal, a Janet Jackson pop video, and a Steven Spielberg film, and the firm’s trademark is its upbeat, liberal approach to design. In May of 2001, Pure Design was awarded the prestigious Editors Award for Furniture at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York.

Thanks to Canadian Technology Network for their generous financial support of these seminars.

The iMade Vancouver exhibition is organised by the Centre for Advanced Wood Processing; Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design; Italian Trade Commission; Centre Legno Arredo Cantu; Regione Lombardia; Consulate General of Italy in Vancouver; Italian Institute of Culture, Vancouver, and with the financial support of BC Buildings Corporation, Western Economic Diversification and UBC Robson Square.