Design Exchange presents extreme design for extreme climes

Well timed for the impending winter season, the Design Exchange’s exhibition Design for the Cold opens November 2, on the DX ground floor. The goals of the exhibition are to raise awareness about how Canadians experience the winter, to identify the physical exigencies and to exhibit universal design solutions applicable to winter environments. The DX is located at 234 Bay Street in Toronto; admission to this exhibition is free.

During the cold months of the year, something as seemingly routine as going outdoors can be a difficult and even dangerous task for Canadians. This is especially true for those with disabilities or chronic illnesses and/or the vulnerabilities associated with childhood and old age. Simply attempting to breathe and move can require conscious effort and determination. Consequently, many people remain indoors for a large portion of the year, especially when health concerns are compounded with physical barriers.

Design for the Cold features the work of 16 designers, educators and health sciences researchers who conceived of solutions for coping with extreme temperatures. Accompanying their work is a central installation produced by six Canadian artists that interpret the act of breathing in the cold.

The DX will also shortly publish a special issue of EXCHANGE on Universal Design which will include a feature on the Cold exhibit. Content in the publication draws from the Universal Design Professional Development Series ( that was a sequence of interdisciplinary workshops that introduced designers and other professionals to the concept of Universal Design.

This exhibit opening will be followed by a series of related programs on November 8, 2005. In the morning there will be a workshop on biomimicry led by Dayna Ayers Baumeister. Participantps will learn how to use “conscious emulations of nature’s genius” to develop design solutions applicable to winter environments. In the afternoon, the DX will hold an invitational design charrette called “Orphan Spaces.” The DX is partnering with the City of Toronto on this charrette, a pilot project, as part of the Clean and Beautiful City initiative. Orphan spaces are areas in the city that become lost in the shuffle of creating homes, businesses, parks utility and transporation corridors. The charrette will explore new possibilities for these spaces such as signage, painting and plantings, and it coincides with World Town Planning Day.

For more information, please contact Paola Poletto, Director of Research at the Design Exchange, at 416.216.2155 or