When I started chatting with designer Kevin Mitchell and executive editor Stacey McLachlan about what we wanted to do this year at Interior Design Show Vancouver, we looked to the magazine itself for inspiration. Each month in its pages we spotlight the best designers in the West, yes, but in doing so we also place our readers inside these gorgeously designed rooms. So, how could we translate Western Living into a real-life experience—and potentially allow readers to become a part of the photos themselves?

The answer was to create an immersive experience. For this year’s exhibit at IDS Vancouver, we’ll be showcasing the best of the local design community—including several of the winners from this year’s Designers of the Year Awards—by creating beautifully designed rooms that you can walk right into and explore in the real world (and maybe take a selfie or two while you’re there). We’ve aptly titled the exhibit Making It: each of the makers, textile artists, ceramicists and industrial designers featured in these rooms are living, working, creating and basically killing it in the West today.

David Adair of Blackfish Homes has come on board as our construction partner. (You’ll no doubt recognize the name—his company builds many of the modern homes we feature each month, including our April cover story.) And it’s our second year partnering with Kevin Mitchell of Mitchell Design House (last year’s Alberta REdeFINED project—one faceted wall represented the B.C.-Alberta border—was so much fun that we couldn’t wait to see what else he could do with us). This year at IDS Vancouver, says Mitchell, “It’s essentially four distinct photo booths. Instead of people putting on strange costumes, you’re posing in front of cool and pretty things.” The space is divided into four quadrants, with a unique vignette in each, from a mid-century inspired library room to a neon-bedazzled bar. It’ll be colourful and creative—and with more than a few surprises. We hope it will help you discover your next favourite Western Canadian designer.

Here are some of Kevin’s favourites from this year’s Making It exhibit.

Tomnuk

Tomnuk

Edmonton

“I love the simplicity of form in Tomnuk’s designs. Jordan Tomnuk’s wall sconces are so tailored and so refined, but still use that raw form of steel. He plays with the form and the scale really well.”

Bloks

BloksYYC

Calgary

“BloksYYC is my own company. My business partner Josh Lewis and I create pedestals designed on the basis of zero waste: we’re using full sheets of material, and we’re trying to minimize any type of scrap. We know that every designer is always looking for that little black dress—how many people have sculptures or objets they want to display, and can’t find anything?”

new format

New Format Studio

Vancouver

“The work of Henry Norris of New Format Studio was a case of ‘Which pieces do I limit it to?’ There’s so much great stuff! You can see that nod to Brutalist architecture, you can see the nod to the ’60s Danish modern and you can see the inspiration from the furniture masters. Those pieces are so versatile you could put them into almost any decor.”

Anewall

Anewall

Langley, BC

“Anewall is amazing. The patterns are sophisticated, and they’re really playful and whimsical, too. The use of colour, the pattern repeats—they look handmade. And so original—they’re really not repeating what’s already been done.”

Calen

Calen Knauf Design Studio

Vancouver

“I adore Calen Knauf Design Studio’s Tack benches: that bent wood, it’s really on trend. Though it’s a basic form, he’s added a level of refinement to it. He often uses unconventional materials to create conventional pieces of furniture and accessories.”

Endeavour

Endeavour Neon

Vancouver

“With Andrew Hibbs’s Endeavour Neon, what can I say? How can you not love neon? The Say Cheese sign he’s going to create for us is a playful way to let people see that neon is still very much a thing. I know that at one time Vancouver had the highest density of neon signs in North America, and it’s cool to see him embracing that. His designs are a little cheeky and edgier.”

Div12

Div. 12

Edmonton

“The nice thing about the chairs from Geoffrey Lilge’s Div. 12 is that they straddle different styles. They’ve taken those glam classic chairs and put their own spin on it. It’s not specific to somebody who loves mid-century—just someone who appreciates cool design and who wants something unique. I love them.”

Martin

Jeff Martin Joinery

Vancouver

“Jeff Martin Joinery is very refined with the materials he uses. The Suede Excavated console has this playful edge through the unconventional use of finishes—it’s one of those showpieces you could put into any environment and it would have a lot of great impact. It’s unexpected!”

OliverApt

Oliver Apt.

Edmonton

“I’ve been a fan of Oliver Apt. for years. They’re really doing next-level mid-century design, using more current colouration on their woods, and they’ve changed the proportions to suit today’s markets. I love their use of painted wood versus raw material. The bent wood pieces, the combination of colour and sizing: it’s really well thought out.”

Gerber

Natalie Gerber

Calgary

“It’s really cool that Natalie Gerber is doing textile formats for her screenprints rather than art. You can see the influence from different eras in her patterning, but it’s a nice level of sophistication on the textile front. I’m excited to see where she lands in her career—she’s done amazing for herself in the short time she’s been around.”

Andlight

Andlight

Vancouver

“What I love most about Andlight from Lukas Peet is how his designs coordinate. You can pair wall sconces with a matching table and floor lamp from the same series or use different pieces from the brand—it’s really great how he’s developed that. ”

Union

Union Wood Co.

Vancouver

“With Union Wood Co., the designs are super tailored but have that natural quality that make them a bit more random. With their Birch Bark series, they’re taking that context of Danish modern teak and playing with the form simply by putting birch bark doors on it. They’re adding elements that make it less formal, but still sophisticated.”

Barber

Ben Barber

Vancouver

“Ben Barber does really unique things that are one-offs. His Sanora coffee table is from a series of furniture with sophisticated lines and elevated forms. The furniture he’s going to be exhibiting with us, he can tailor them to whatever colour the client wants, so you have a lot of involvement in that process.”

CVK

CVK

Calgary

“Chris Kuzmanovich of CVK is an interior designer and artist represented by the Christine Klassen Gallery in Calgary. He will be presenting his installation, Daily Reflection of Time, which is composed of a series of boards that analyze how present we are. I’m very excited to see his latest creation!”

Visit Making It at this year’s IDS Vancouver, September 26 to 29.