IIDEXCanada 2017
IIDEXCanada Blog

IIDEX Woodshop Winner 2017: Henry Lin

IIDEX Woodshop Winner 2017: Henry Lin

Toronto's vibrant urban wood industry is being threatened by invasive species, old age and natural disasters. The result of which is having a devastating impact on Toronto's urban forests and canopy coverage which sees 100,000 felled trees headed to city landfills annually.

To respond to this issue, Economic Development and Culture at the City of Toronto launched the Urban Wood Industry Development Initiative in order to encourage homeowners and industries to salvage and re-use trees felled in the Greater Toronto Area.

Together with our partners at the City of Toronto, Ontario WoodAWMAC, Sawmill Sid and PCL Graphics, IIDEX Woodshop has become the place to showcase how this valuable resource can be repurposed to create innovative, market-ready commercial and consumer prototypes.

Meet the designers that will be a part of this year's 5th annual special feature collection.

About Henry Lin of This or That

This or That is a multidisciplinary studio based out of Toronto. Started in 2015 by Henry Lin, This or That aims to design and build products which are simple and affordable for everyday consumption and enjoyment, without compromising durability, form or aesthetics of our pieces. By creating simple and playful designs locally, This or That hopes to strike a delicate balance between mass-produced commodities and ostentatious, extravagant pieces.

What are your thoughts on the intersection of functionality and aesthetics in design?

Personally, design is about finding the right aesthetic that showcases the functionality and value of a product, whether it be furniture, retail or consumer piece. I find that aesthetics has the power to draw people in with their eyes, while the functionality of a piece brings them back consistently.  

What inspired you to apply for the IIDEX Woodshop 2017 competition?

The IIDEX Woodshop competition has consistently displayed innovative, polished works of furniture that are exciting from both an aesthetic and functional perspective. 

Why do you like working with wood as a material?

I enjoy woodworking processes because of it's accessibility with regards to independent and batch production furniture designers and makers. Lumber is one of the few mediums available to makers that is not processed and refined into industry standard measurements like sheet metal, extruded aluminum or concrete. It treats all makers, whether it's a one man shop or a multinational corporation the exact same - with resounding indifference. It warps, bows, and splits where it wants to; and exerts it's natural form into design practises.

What would be your dream commission?

An ambitious co-working space not dissimilar to the offices being built by WeWork and Brightlane. We spend more time at work than ever and we create social bonds at work that are just as strong as the ones at home. The offices of today can do much better than be a caricature of symmetrical grey cubicles. Commercial and residential furniture can and should bear much more resemblance to each other than they currently do, and ambitious co-working spaces are at the fore of this design insight. 

Tell us a little-known fact about you.

I got my first design job on craigslist. It was shockingly rewarding!

To learn more about Henry's work, visit him at This or That, on FacebookInstagram and on Pinterest.

Don't miss the fifth annual IIDEX Woodshop at IIDEXCanada 2017. Register today