IIDEX/NeoCon Canada announces exciting lineup of keynote speakers

Taking place from September 22-24, 2011 at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto, IIDEX/NeoCon Canada features an exciting lineup of keynote speakers.

This year, the Design Keynote is comprised of Dominique Jakob and Brendan MacFarlane of the architectural firm Jakob+MacFarlane in Paris. The Hospitality Keynote features Howard Pharr, president of Hirsch Bedner Associates; Isadore Sharp, founder of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts; and Ilana Weitzman, editor-in-chief of Air Canada’s enRoute magazine. And finally, Matthias Sauerbruch, Founding Director of Sauerbruch Hutton in Berlin is the Architecture Keynote.

Entitled Inside Out, Dominique Jakob and Brendan MacFarlane take the stage on Thursday, September 22, 2011 from 11:00am to 12:00 noon. Since joining forces in 1992, Parisian design duo Dominique Jakob and Brendan MacFarlane have firmly established themselves in the top tier of digitally driven architecture. Jakob+MacFarlane’s work explores digital technology both as a conceptual consideration and as a means of fabrication, using new materials as a possibility to create more flexible, responsive and immediate environments. Perhaps best known for its exuberant Orange Cube, a mixed-use building constructed among the once dreary riverside warehouses of Lyon, the firm has completed work ranging from social housing to office space to the glamorous Restaurant Georges at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. For the Cube’s dramatic perforated-aluminum façade, the designers were inspired by the movement of the nearby river and by the orange paint used at old maritime sites. As the architects put it, “We have always considered our projects as total environments.” In their keynote talk, the partners will present recent and past projects as seen from their perspective on the inside but understood as part of a whole, revealing some of the ideas behind their work.

Dominique Jakob holds a degree in art history from the Université de Paris, as well as a degree in architecture from the Ecole d’Architecture Paris-Villemin. Brendan MacFarlane received his M.Arch from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He has held teaching positions at various schools including the Bartlett School of Architecture in London and SCI-Arc in Los Angeles. For more information on the firm, please visit www.jakobmacfarlane.com.

The name of the Hospitality Keynote presentation is Sleeper Hits: The Evolution of Hotel Design, and will take place from 3:30 to 4:30pm on Thursday, September 22, 2011. Hotels often function like a blueprint for the travel experience: a great hotel or resort can singlehandedly create a memorable trip, and the worst ones can potentially ruin a vacation. From the bar to the room, every hotel space is an opportunity to enrich a guest’s stay. This keynote presentation will address issues vital to the evolution of hospitality design. How can an international chain cultivate a unique sense of place? How can lobby design make the solo traveller feel at ease? This conversation between Four Seasons founder Isadore Sharp and hotel design guru Howard Pharr of HBA, moderated by enRoute magazine’s Ilana Weitzman, will explore how great hotel design can respond to the unique demands of the modern-day traveller.

Howard Pharr holds a B.Arch from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His experience ranges from architectural master planning to interior design detailing, project management and construction administration. His projects have included hotels, health-oriented facilities, country clubs, executive offices and luxury residential units all over the world. For more information on Pharr, please visit www.hbadesign.com.

Isadore Sharp began his career working with his father in the construction business, after graduating in architecture from the Ryerson Institute of Technology (now Ryerson University). He opened his first Four Seasons hotel in Toronto in 1961 and, in the 50 years since, has grown the company into an international luxury hotel empire, representing the largest group of five-star hotels in the world. Still headquartered in Canada, the empire today stretches around the globe, from Milan to Mumbai to Marrakech. For more information on the Four Seasons chain, please visit www.fourseasons.com.

Ilana Weitzman is editor-in-chief of enRoute, Air Canada’s award-winning in-flight magazine. She has won Gold and Silver National Magazine Awards for her reporting and editing, along with an award of merit from the North American Travel Journalists Association. For more information on the magazine, please visit enroute.aircanada.com.

Delivering the Architectural Keynote, Matthias Sauerbruch tackles The Practice of Sustainability, from 11:00am to 12:00 noon on Friday, September 23, 2011. Despite increasing know-how and expertise, sustainable architecture and design still finds itself in an experimental phase, according to the groundbreaking Berlin-based architect Matthias Sauerbruch. Through his work with Sauerbruch Hutton, the firm he founded with Louisa Hutton in 1989 that now employs 90 people, Sauerbruch has been pushing the shift to sustainability forward for decades. The projects and buildings of the office are internationally known for their serious engagement with issues of sustainability, effortlessly combined with architecture of the highest standards. As he points out, perfect insulation cannot compensate for a lack of sensuous spaces, and a good heating system cannot replace a building’s careful integration into its context. Only buildings that are accepted and loved by users and citizens can sustain in the long run.In his keynote, Sauerbruch will discuss how architects, designers and clients must persistently take on pioneering roles in sustainability in order to bring us closer to the answers we so urgently need.

Matthias Sauerbruch graduated from the Berlin Hochschule der Künste and from the Architectural Association in London. He worked with Rem Koolhaas as a partner at OMA in London. Since 2006, he has been a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Known for its distinctive use of colour, Sauerbruch Hutton has completed award-winning projects in Germany and abroad. For more information on the firm, please visit www.sauerbruchhutton.de. This keynote presentation is co-presented by the Goethe-Institut Toronto.

All three presentations take place in the Keynote Theatre, and admission to all is free.