January 15-21, 2018

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Designer Spotlights: Topher Kong

Since 2011, the Toronto Design Offsite Festival has featured a wealth of talent. From furniture to installation to architecture and more, artists and designers working in a range of media showcase exciting new work. Through our new series, Designer Spotlights, readers will have the chance to learn more about past exhibitors, as well as some more recent additions.

Chinese-Canadian artist Topher Kong creates multidisciplinary works that explore the way his heritage influences his current experiences. Kong is interested in combining different elements of design and finding harmony between the physical and emotional. By merging design and more conceptual elements, Kong has created a unique visual language that speaks to deeper cultural exploration and identity.

How long have you been involved and what are your favorite things about the TODO Festival?

Two years as design lover. Two years actually physically being a part of it. TODO Festival is a party of design, which is what I like. TODO brings designers, artists, craftsmen and design lovers together and it is a celebration among them. It has become an art and design community.

How would you describe your practice?

I do design; I do art. And I see design and art as entwined. I transform various materials into visual language and explore how materials connect to objects and people, messages and meaning, emotions and experience. I mainly communicate by creating hybrid forms of art, design, and technology that synchronize the physical and emotional in its stages and states.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

As an immigrant, I moved to Toronto six years ago with my family. Most of the time I feel like I am in the in-between stage, between two cultures: Chinese and Canadian. It is an uncomfortable stage, it questions me a lot in every single aspect but I do enjoy the in-betweenness. It gives me a critical mind to see things in a different way, which inspires unique thoughts, emotions, and experiences in my work.

As a designer working in Canada, what role do you feel TODO plays in our art and design industry as a whole?

TODO is like a window, letting others see what art and design is in Canada.