IIDEXCanada 2017
IIDEXCanada Blog

IIDEX Woodshop Winner 2017: Kurt Scanlan

IIDEX Woodshop Winner 2017: Kurt Scanlan

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 Kurt Scanlan, Troop Studio

Kurt grew up in Kingston, Ontario and Studied Psychology at the University of Guelph. In his mid-twenties, he realized his true passion was for creating functional and beautiful things for people to enjoy. He is a graduate of Humber's Bachelor of Industrial Design where his 2016 undergrad thesis was awarded three prizes at the ACIDO rocket show, including best in show. In the same year, he placed third in the Michelin Challenge Design. He now works at Troop Studio in Toronto's West End, where his constant singing is either charming or irritating depending on who you ask.

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

I think that functionality should drive aesthetics. Something that is beautiful without function falls into the realm of art. Utility is beautiful.

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

I heard about the competition from a co-worker and thought it would be an excellent opportunity to further explore some ideas I had been working with. I really love the idea of using reclaimed wood as well. As designers, I think it is important that we pay close attention to the environmental impact of the things we create and using reclaimed wood is something I can feel good about.

What inspires you?

I draw a lot of inspiration from nature. Sometimes I start with really amazing things that you see or touch or feel that occur naturally and then try to distill it and pay homage to created objects.

In your opinion, why are people drawn to wood as a material in the spaces they often frequent?

Because we are naturally outdoor creatures. It is only relatively recently in human evolution that we have created these amazing artificial environments for ourselves, so I think there is something really comforting on a deep level about natural materials.

Where do you see the future of wood design going?

The power of computers is making so many amazing things possible. I think we will continue to see more incredible intricate work done on CNCs. 

Discover more of Kurt's work on Instagram.

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