Toronto’s IDS & Oprah Vs. The World


A great article from Toronto’s Globe & Mail yesterday, “The Power of Good Design.” It’s in part about the recent Interior Design Show in the city, but it also spends a batch of time, and therein lies the really interesting bits, about the desire for quality, stylized design being seen as a negative in North America, but even more so in developing countries, especially when it relates to giving something like that to your kids. It even works in Oprah. Here’s from the opening:

In all the hoopla surrounding the recent opening of a $40-million private girls’ school in South Africa by Oprah Winfrey, one line of critique really stood out: the aesthetic one. On top of brand-new, computer-filled classrooms, the Leadership Academy for Girls features well-appointed residences, original art and a yoga studio. Add in the reportedly 200-thread-count sheets, and the terms “lavish” and “gaudy philanthropy” got thrown around.

Oprah’s take? “These girls deserve to be surrounded by beauty, and beauty does inspire…I wanted this to be a place of honor for them,” she told Newsweek. The debate happens to coincide with a new obsession in the design world: creating uplifting design for kids. At the Interior Design Show in Toronto this weekend, a number of exhibitors are showing functional-yet-beautiful decor items that amount to design training wheels for tots.