Inside the Design Exchange gala: 30 photos of Toronto’s creative elite soaking up the latest and greatest art party

Design Exchange Gala

Photography by George Pimentel

See our Design Exchange gala photos »

Toronto’s creative elite was treated to a veritable feast for the eyes at last Friday’s annual Design Exchange gala, this year revamped and restyled under the theme of “Intersection.” Surely meant to rival the glittering reputation held by the Power Plant’s annual Power Ball gala for being the art party of the year, the event succeeded in being everything it wanted to be—part art exhibit, part auction, party VIP hobnob and part knockout bash—complete with guest of honour Douglas Coupland posing for pictures, making speeches and even imitating a Canada goose.

Various phases of the night stretched across parts of the DX I didn’t even know existed. Case in point: a pop up mystery dinner put on by Matty Matheson of Parts + Labour catering, which took place in a dimly lit library overlooking King Street. There was trout roe, but where were the books?

And the air of mystery raged on, with curious pieces made from Ikea products being auctioned off to those with the deepest pockets. Worthy of Wonderland, pieces included a toppling pile of dinner plates by artist Bruno Billio, an all Seeing Eye cabinet by Zeidler Partnership Architects and chandelier made of light bulbs that too were bright to psychically stare at by designer Phillip Sparks.

By night’s end, the crowd of 1,200 danced underneath a larger-than-life newspaper installation created by multi-medium artist, Niall McCLelland and musician/artist Alex Durlak paid homage to the space’s first incarnation—the trading floor of the Toronto Stock Exchange. If the piece was meant to reference our shaky economic standings as of late, the moneyed crowd of doyennes would surely not have noticed.

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