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The Retail Duo at IDS 2023

Updated: Jan 24, 2023

Each year The Retail Duo makes it a must to support our fellow Canadian design friends and we mark our calendars for the Interior Design Show in downtown Toronto.

Here are some of our takeaways and insights...


At times we are a little sick of it but truthfully it is both timeless and trendy. Cladding if used as a barrier or divider offers privacy and a little movement which makes it a winning solution for both form and function. It is however being used across all design genres, so our take is that if you are going to use it - make the material something different. We love the hints of black and the multi-use materials such as HUSH ACOUSTICS foam panels.


Kitchens, bathrooms, office spaces - dark finishes are sleek and sexy and we love it. Dark rich materials elevate a space and automatically create a dramatic mood. A stand out for us was KADRIUM SESAME showcased black millwork with a stylish and unique glass wall. Stunning! COSENTINO CANADA's booth featured a stunning bathroom wall with a floating sink that is what luxurious hotels and homes are made of. We see charcoal having a real moment in store fixtures as well, and it can be the perfect way to modernize a brand.


Interiors design is heading for big impact with bold colour, textures, and patterns was a contrast to the sea of neutrals and black. We saw bright orange oversize couches, bold complex patterned wallpapers, and bold geometric shapes and forms. Maximalism continues to make its way into interiors in a big way, and we love the playful layers that this movement creates, making it easy to achieve by many.


With the non-alcoholic beverage industry said to really take off and reach well into the billions we can appreciate this movement to health and a bit more "conscious cocktailing." The innovative people at SEEDLIPS DRINKS have this category mastered already. Their beautiful, branded bottles enhance the thoughtful care placed on their curated flavours and they will be able to complement any design soiree. The constant happy hours and boozy networking events are always fun but over time - just not sustainable and the SEEDLIPS family of mixes can make for liquid lunches and after work parties fun and elevated but with a new twist on health and well-being.


We feel as though brands are finally getting this right. Sustainability is now interjected into a brands DNA and it is not just a trend. Those who impressed us included MIELE with their clear communication and memorable takeaways (hello flower seedlings) we enjoyed seeing how all of the functions of the home which require appliances have careful considerations to the ways in which water, energy and time can all be preserved.

It is now the norm as well to find materials comprised of recycled particles and natural materials. We loved the HUSH ACOUSTICS panels made from recycled water bottles.

We also loved the MONTAUK SOFA booth that showcased their sustainable luxurious Canadian Sofa brand against a captivating textured wall of brown paper bags.

The unique GRAY STAGE was a strong focal point at the IDS venue and the use of SONO tubes created an interesting backdrop for some great speaker sessions. We like when a theme is carried out in a good way, and this was a stunner.


An eye-catching presentation by the talented creators at CUSTOM ENGINEERED ARTS entitled "Phygital Universe" left us feeling happy and inspired. With today's home interior being more flexible in terms of design objects must carry meaning and purpose. The story behind this collection as well as the designers, Alina and Yuri will warm your heart and we are loving that their company is having its moment in not only retail but interiors too.


THE DISTRICT offered designers and artisans the chance to showcase their objects without large booth spaces. It was nice to have intimate displays where the projects could be highlighted and purchased! We loved the natural wood pallet tables.


IDS 2023 provided The Retail Duo with some pretty key insights to apply into our retail and commercial projects. Some things (like cladding) we thought were on their way out....we guess not! We were not surprised to see more sustainable efforts to the designs of the booths as well as the products they had to offer. This is certainly a step in the right direction. It seems that takins some big risks like going for a dark and sexy look or popping out from the crowd and using contrasting colours, patterns, textures is the NEW direction for interiors. HOW EXCITING!

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