furniture in canada??

I am wanting to get into furniture design, and would like some opinions on where to go in Canada. I just finished a bachlors of Architecture, and not sure if I need to go back for another four years?


what kind of furniture do you design and where in canada are you? a few smaller firms i’ve spoken to are doing furniture design with no formal training in it and i find their designs fantastic.

not saying that education in furniture design is unnecessary, it is very beneficial to learn about materials and manufacturing processes because you’ll know what will or won’t work for your designs.

in brief, if you have the skill, go for it.

i suggest taking a summer wood furniture design class at emily carr & bcit in vancouver…it an intensive 3 week ccourse all about wood based furniture design and new manufacturing abilities…and more designed for professionals rather than students…

beside that, there are some studios and manufacturers which would probably be glad to see your designs… i’ll post some links later

Another architect who thinks they can design furniture.
See you in four years.

There are exceptions like Le’Corbusier but that’s very rare and few that existed but don’t be discouriged. KEEP AT IT IF YOU LOVE IT!!! Otherwise I don’t recommend you doing it.

Wow- I thought this thread was dead! Thanks for the feedback.

Komrad, you mentioned some Canadian firms, could you maybe give me some names?? I am out of the country right now, but planning to come back, and if necessary, go back to school. I was thinking of going back to Toronto, but I could go anywhere, and as for what kind?? I am not sure really. I would probably want to do more high end or contract work, and would deffently want to work in a progressive atmosphere. Do you know what the field is like in Canada?

And to ‘here it is’ I would greatly appreciate some names!

bensen -
pure -
plastic buddha -
Pulse -

there are others but i seem to forget right now - as well as a tonne of office furniture spots around toronto, such as teknion.

this link seems very usefull for finding manufacturers, all home most likely are looking for good design.

there isn’t much for large scale modern canadian manufacturing firms. unless you consider…ughh…eq3 as one. they’re an offshoot of palliser and is located in winnipeg, manitoba.

high end or contractural work are usually commissioned to custom furniture designers and interior design firms.

toronto and vancouver are the larger metropolitan cities in canada that have a progessive attitude towards furniture design but there are a lot of smaller firms scattered around i’ve seen that are so much better than the established ones. a search on coroflot would reveal those firms.

Komrad, and ‘Here it is’, thank you both for your help. If you don’t mind me asking, are you furniture designers? How did you make it into the field??

yes, i’m a furniture designer.

i got my bachelor of design degree back in 2002. after graduating, i did private commissions for people then started entering into local design shows and placed some designs in local retail stores on commission basis.

during that time, which i highly recommend all future furniture designers do, i got a job as a furniture upholsterer and befriended as many contractors and suppliers as possible to gain more experience and knowledge of the industry. now, as i’m preparing to get my own shop up, many contractors are providing me with a lot of info on what machinery i should get and are using their contacts for other hookups.

still, at this point, i wouldn’t say i’ve made it, but i’m closer to realizing my designs. many firms i’ve talked to have been in the game for a while and the concensus is it takes a minimum four years to even consider yourself a design firm. some of the designs you see on websites are THAT old and are still being prototyped.

good luck.

Ever heard of Bestar? :unamused:


i am an industrial design graduate…now working for an industrial design firm…our office does products that range from consumer electronics to simple housewares, and yes , even funriture…>> office workstations, cofee tables, public seating, park benches, etc etc.

graduating from an indutrial design program is your best way to get into furniture design,…probably the only way…the only architects whom do furniture are the big guys like gehry, graves, etc…

another way would be to get yourself into a shop and just make some of your designs…then show them to the right people…

I’d also like to add to Komrad’s post, that getting into furniture design is not an overnight sort of thing. Most established manufacturers will not want to hire someone who doesn’t have a lot of talent and/or experience, although if you present yourself well and have the skills, anything is possible. Smaller firms are more likely to be progressive and adept to take risks with inexperienced designers. Don’t take “inexperienced” the wrong way, however; most of the giants have been working in design for decades, and really know the industry. Perhaps the designers that have been around for a long time have more connections and are paid more attention because of this, but personally I think that fresh ideas/better designs are not always coming from the old hats, but the new guys.

I work for a smaller furniture company in the USA, and was hired right out of school - not because of my designs (I had designed exactly one chair before I got involved with the company) but for my sketches. They let me do a few things with design now (about 6 months since I was hired) but its not like I am designing stuff of my own for them to produce. Besides that, every design is reviewed by marketing, merchandising, sales, the CEO, and some of the dealer base before it is even considered for production; a lot of hurdles to jump though that may or may not be present in the smaller companies, and tends to leave production designs rather muted and watered down. I hope to go freelance or move to a more forward-thinking company in the future, but for now I’m working on getting insight into the industry and gaining experience.

I graduated with a BA in ID, which seems to be the way many furniture designers go; most of the designers I see that have degrees specific to furniture design do commissions and studio/artsy stuff versus production groups. A lot different than what most furniture companies are looking for, but it is furniture design.

Hey Kat,

I’ve been in the Canadian furniture scene for a while now. I went to school for ID and now work in contract seating and am part of a collaborative effort creating low run custom work. My advice to you is to look into museum design studios (Davenport Toronto is the ghetto for that stuff) or The Watt group etc. Being an Architect, it will be easier for you to get into furniture through the project and installation side rather than the mass production side. You’ll probably find it more rewarding too. Save the grand furniture design statements for yourself and your spare time and when their ready go an get some press.

Good Luck

Why Canada?

yeah. pure design is cool and they were based in edmonton AB, where there is an awesome furniture design program as a Bdes at the U of A, if you go by what they showed at the toronto interior design show. sadly, Pure closed thier doors last summer. yet another tragedy brought to you by the good folks of cheap offshore manufacturing.

its kinda funny. so many ID kids in canada use thier degree to get into masters of architecture programs. you’re doing it all backwards. :slight_smile:

I agree with most, pursuing ID studies (after architecture) is a good way to go if you’ve got the time and money… not likely. I think what many young designers are doing is great…getting into a shop (or finding a good builder who’s affordable) and pumping out some prototypes. This year IDS had a neat little exhibit called Prototype which featured this kind of stuff. I believe some of the designers involved were architects too!

Did anyone else see this exhibit?

Hi, Im from Mexico and Im a industrial designer just graduated,I love furniture and I have done some myself, but what I want to do know is create a portfolio, but im looking for an easy program to work on for my designs and also for the rendering so it can be photorealistic, could anyone tell me which programs would be the best? i like minimal and contemporary furniture and also like to play with organic shapes so… pls…

in the other hand Im looking forward to get into the furniture market somehow but i just dont know where to start at… im confused, could anyone help me here?

by the way anyone who is in the furniture stuff… can you provide any web pages of cool furniture u know or magazines i can suscribe to? thank u