If you’re looking for the epicenter of the next design movement, look no further than our friends up north beyond our borders. While Canadian design hasn’t always been heavily spotlighted, we have convincing reasons to believe that this will change in the near future. Designers and makers from Canada are becoming more widely known and sought after. (We’ve known this since attending and setting up shop at IDS Toronto!) Now more than ever, Canadian design is becoming a standard and reference point, known for its high-quality, timeless designs and a community that’s approachable, welcoming, and collaborative.
Committed to spreading awareness and recognition for Canadian designers, the CCC – Canadian Creators Collective – was formed. In partnership with Design Milk, the collective is releasing its 4th edition of STUDIO, a series of videos presenting the work of 20 Canadian creators that will be on view starting today, March 1, 2022, on the CCC’s website.
To learn more about its inception and mission, we chatted with CCC’s Executive Director, Laurence Gélinas to tell us about CCC’s history and blueprint for the future:
What is CCC? How did it get its start and where did you get the idea to create it?
The CCC was born during a conversation between Samuel Lambert and Zebulon Perron at Design Week in Milan. They had the ambition and desire to make Canadian design recognized as an entity. Upon their return, they set up a non-profit organization whose mission was to promote the emergence and development of Canadian creators on both a national and international level, by supporting their endeavors and creating opportunities for growth.
Given our respective experiences and expertise, we provide help to Canadian designers and artists to grow and export their work by organizing events, virtual events, annual publication, etc. Events that stand out by the way they are presented or their concepts. We collaborate with well established designers, PR agencies, photographers, and videographers to create unique experiences to promote Canadian design worldwide.
What are the main goals of CCC? How do you hope to achieve this?
Our main goal is to recruit as many Canadian designers as possible and inspire future generations. We want to help emerging designers to develop an international career by participating in major events along with more established companies.
We also want to create a platform for exchange and collaboration between Canadian art, design and architecture companies, universities, and professional associations to enhance the creativity and competitiveness of these industries to help the emergence of new talent in Canada.
To make industrial and architectural design an important sector cluster that attracts local and international players to Canada; to provoke a reinterpretation of traditional Canadian art and design enriched with an innovative character. Ultimately, to make Canada a reference of excellence in the international art, design, and architecture community.
What drives you? Why are you passionate about design and designers?
As a designer myself, I have never thought I would be so involved in the industry. I ended up in the position I have today because I believe in maintaining business relations and developing new ones. I’m driven by the opportunities to meet new people and learn from others.
I’m very concerned about the future of our planet and the way we consume. I strongly believe that we should be committed to sustainable design that lasts over time. Canadian designers have developed a wide range of skills and techniques in order to achieve that. Our know-how is recognized, but little known. If I can participate in any way in the recognition of Canadian talents, no matter how humble an impact I may have, I will have a sense of accomplishment.
What sets Canadian design apart from the rest?
It’s hard for me to answer, some of us have found their niche but I think we are still trying to define ourselves. The designers here are very approachable. They are in touch with their roots and heritage, which makes them very sensitive and it is noticeable in the way they think and build. A lot of designers in Canada are both designers and makers, they are involved in the process from design to manufacturing. Another specific characteristic is the fact that they work in synergy with one another, they collaborate in many ways.
We get inspiration from a lot of different countries and cultures but one thing for sure is that Canadian design is synonymous with quality.
Can you tell us about a few Canadian designers you’re excited about?
I’m thrilled to see Clara Jorisch shine in the Studio series as well as Studio Mineral but I appreciate the work of so many designers: Cyrc, Appareil Atelier, Bocci, D’Armes, Vaste, Studio Block, Barbeau Desrosiers, just to name a few.
How can our readers best support Canadian design?
You can support Canadian design in multiple ways. Familiarizing yourself with Canadian designers on social platforms and following their work is always a great start.
I would encourage anyone to start following the CCC through Instagram and our newsletter to discover or rediscover Canadian designers. We offer memberships to anyone willing to be part of an active community of creators. Fundings through memberships and donations help us continue working on projects and make our goals possible.
Lastly, if you ever happen to visit Canada, we have a rich artistic community and I recommend stopping by local galleries, meeting local designers, visiting their workshops, and discovering about our diversified architectural landscape.
Where is next for CCC? What do you hope to accomplish in 2022 (and beyond!)?
Our biggest goals for the next few years is to participate in at least two major design events annually as well as continuing to get involved in smaller-scale projects. We’re currently looking into expanding and diversifying our activities. We want to develop a podcast, launch an annual publication, and start giving conferences.
In 2022, we would like to participate in the Design Week in Paris and gather up to 12 Canadian designers to get implicated in the project. We are also working on doing two other editions of the Studio series, one on the West Coast and one in the greater Toronto area.
Our main objective is to offer our members support and guidance in order to provide them with higher quality editorial content, a larger reach and the possibility to work on collaborative projects. We work for our members to help them grow according to their needs and goals.