Led by educator Vincent Hui, [R]ed[U]x Lab is a collective of students from Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science. [R]ed[U]x Lab are long time participants of DesignTO. Their installations in the Gladstone Hotel’s Come Up To My Room have attracted hundreds of viewers. We spoke to Vincent to inquire into his thoughts behind the collective, and DesignTO.
In January 2020, Vincent and [R]ed[U]x Lab presented the exhibition Production, Prototypes, and Provocations in Digital Tools.
How long have you been involved in DesignTO?
[R]ed[U]x Lab has been involved with DesignTO since 2012 when we installed ‘Terra Fabricata’ at the Gladstone’s Come Up To My Room. Since then we have been quite honoured to participate in other DesignTO events over the years.
What are your favourite things about DesignTO?
DesignTO is a great platform for emerging designers to showcase their work and for the greater public to engage with Toronto’s incredibly exciting and diverse design culture. Not only does DesignTO kickoff each new year with diverse exhibits across the city, but the festival provides an inspirational lineup of events ranging from design tours through to thought-provoking symposia.
I should mention that having been part of DesignTO for several years, the people that make the entire festival run are great. From Jeremy and Deborah all the way through to the army of volunteers that make this all come together, the people behind it are easily among some of my favourite dimensions of DesignTO.
DesignTO plays an invaluable role as a unique venue for showcasing and cultivating the city’s extraordinary design culture.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
As [R]ed[U]x Lab is a collective of students, the greatest inspiration behind the work is the enthusiasm, innovation, and talent within their ranks. For any given design opportunity, we hold charrettes and collaboratively develop design work. Our student’s desire to bring their curiosity and innovative design ideas to reality is quite a strong driver behind all our work. From questioning notions of spatial comfort or experimenting with responsive enclosures, the [R]ed[U]x Lab has a limitless reservoir of inspiration in our students’ challenging of conventional design parameters.
How would you describe your practice?
I believe [R]ed[U]x Lab is a group that provides an opportunity for students to experiment, explore, and engage with design ideas that ultimately are comprehensively designed, detailed, and delivered into the real world. The ubiquity of design on screens needs to be balanced with a sensitivity to design translation into reality. [R]ed[U]x Lab provides that for our students. We offer them a safe and controlled environment to bring their design work not only to a manifested reality but also to a greater public venue such as DesignTO.
Do you have any future plans for your work you can share with us?
Unfortunately the two projects that we have on the horizon are nebulous to the public. One will require a bit of time to coordinate official disclosure based upon sponsorships whereas the other has yet to confirm a few of the logistical details. We will have a better sense of what can be released at a later date.
One of the great parts of DesignTO is the accessibility it provides the general public and the design community.
As an artist/designer working in Canada, what role do you feel DesignTO plays in our art and design industry as a whole?
DesignTO plays an invaluable role as a unique venue for showcasing and cultivating the city’s extraordinary design culture. It goes without saying that many artists, both established and emergent, hold the various opportunities to exhibit their work with DesignTO in the highest regard. I know of several artists who started their careers with modest works years ago and have since made an impact both nationally and globally; for them, DesignTO was a platform that affirmed their creative output and started their prolific design careers.
DesignTO also serves as a great cultivator of design in the city. While the exhibits and tours are excellent, one of the great parts of DesignTO is the accessibility it provides the general public and the design community. That designers can meet their contemporaries as well as engage with the casual visitor and discuss their work without any pretension is priceless. There is an ecosystem I can see emerging whereby DesignTO not only highlights and supports current designers, but also serves to promote and provoke the next generation of Canadian creative talent.
All images courtesy of [R]ed[U]x Lab and Henry Mai.
Don’t miss [R]ed[U]x Lab’s exhibition Production, Prototypes, and Provocations in Digital Tools this January during DesignTO 2020!