We are thrilled to announce the seven winning proposals for Design by Nature 2014!

Our call for proposals asked for innovative furniture, public art and sculptural installations using a creative re-imagination of pre-existing and “resource-based” materials. We received an incredible 118 submissions, the majority of which were functional furniture made from discarded city wood. Our jury considered each submission equally against the judging criteria and after a long day of heated debate, the following proposals were selected for their overall design concept, creative re- use of materials and adaptability of design.

The artists are currently building these pieces to go on display this fall at Evergreen Brick Works from mid – September to the end of November. We congratulate the winners of 2014 and welcome them to a long lineage of talented artists whose work has been displayed at Evergreen Brick Works through DxN.

We also thank all those who submitted to this year’s competition. We deeply appreciate the time and effort that went into your proposal and encourage you to re-submit next year.

Now….the winners of 2014!




Winning Category: Best of Show
Name of Piece: Cayuga
Artist: Miles Keller – Dystil
Dimensions: 60” wide x 62” deep x 17- 27” high (per unit)
Materials: Seat Deck: salvaged wood from The City of Toronto (ice storm and or ash borer) Base: a lightweight composite of cement/ wood chips (City of Toronto wood yard) and straw.

Cayuga is a modular outdoor (and indoor) public seating system. Its sculptural puzzle-like shape allows for multiple configurations creating an undulating topography that speaks to the multiple layers of glacial till that form the landscape in this part of southern Ontario. The wood seating deck (utilizing salvaged wood) is warm, friendly and inviting. The cement/ wood composite base is solid, durable and references the kind of technology used to form the bricks produced in the Brickworks kilns. The idea is to employ something we have been experimenting with, a hybrid of cement, wood chips from The City of Toronto wood lots and straw. This will produce a super strong and durable cement composite (essentially a hybrid sustainable indigenous technology) that should stand up well to outdoor public use.



Winning Category: Finalist
Name of Piece: Watershed Erratics
Artist: Scott Barker
Dimensions: 2.1M X 0.9M
Materials: Wood, lag bolts, steel, paint

This artwork presents two tall buoys, a left hand and right hand, at odds with each other and whimsically out of place on dry ground. They are inspired by flood events at the Evergreen Brickworks and in the lower Don Valley that are widely reported but experienced by few. They present the Brickworks as a flooded site and are a starting point for further contemplation of the effects of rapid construction of urban hardscapes on the vulnerable Don River watershed system. Constructed of salvaged local wood from recent extreme weather events painted red and green, this sculpted pair takes the iconic form of port and starboard upstream navigation buoys.




Winning Category: Finalist
Name of Piece: RE:FRAME
Artist: Mark Grimsrud, Design + Build + Grow
Dimensions: 2.4m(L) x .5m(W) x .45m(H) (As one bench) or 4m(L) x 1m(W) x .45m(H) (As two benches)
Materials: Waste construction 2x4s, threaded rod, bolts + washers

RE:FRAME is constructed out of waste 2×4 lumber from common construction sites. Each year Ontario construction activities produce over 1 million tonnes of waste, 30% of which is wood, including the ubiquitous 2×4. The 2x4s were initially used for temporary fall guards but then find themselves headed to the landfill or down-cycled into mulch. By diverting the 2x4s, Re:frame extends their useful life and continues to sequester carbon.

RE:FRAME is a simple piece of furniture that can accommodate multiple ways of seating, lounging and interacting. In contrast to the standard community park bench, where social engagement is limited, RE:FRAME encourages face-to-face socializing and relaxing. It is appropriate for both private and public spaces as it can handle the weather and wear and tear of the community.

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Winning Category: Finalist
Name of Piece: STRATA
Artists: The National Design Collective with John MacLeod
Dimensions: 16″ Diameter, 18″ tall (each piece)
Materials: Used concrete, ground wine corks, wood chips, ground tires and sawdust from urban trees.

The strata seating is inspired by the stratum and the stratigraphy drawing in the quarry at the Brick Works. With a form mimicking core samples, multiple discarded materials are re-purposed to create different layers of the seat. Used concrete aggregate is mixed with a small percentage of fresh cement to create a stable base. The top seating surface is created from ground wine corks mixed with ligning (a byproduct of wood processing). This creates a soft, warm platform. The middle two layers are made of made from wood chips and ground tires. The sawdust is from our shop and would otherwise be discarded. This includes wood from the city of Toronto taken down due to the Emerald Ash Borer (through Urban Tree Salvage). The tires are found in the neighborhood around our studio. The seat is sealed for outdoor use. The four seats work together, and each seat is movable to accommodate impromptu meetings or can be used for more solitary situations.


Winning Category: Finalist
Name of Piece: Lynx Constellation Table
Artist(s): Andre Joyau, Heptagon Creations
Dimensions: 88“ L x 37“ D x 16“ H
Materials: reclaimed hardwood, black steel

Functionally flexible, two separate tables of three and four blocks are arranged closely together to appear as one larger table. It is made with ebonized solid wood and bronzed and blackened steel legs.



Winning Category: Winner
Name of Piece: ASH.A356.0
Artist (s): Jeff Forrest, Stacklab
Dimensions: Tulip Stool: 16″W x 16″L x 19″H / Bar Stool: 16″W x 16″L x 30″H
Materials: Ash crippled by emerald ash borer, Recycled Aluminium

ASH.A356.0 is a stool made from over 90% non-virgin materials.
We are industrial designers, based in downtown Toronto. Over the past three years, we have designed and developed a variety of cast metal furniture components. To date, we have used CNC milled patterns and sand moulds in order to produce our castings.Recently, we have been experimenting with non-traditional mould-making media. Some of our most interesting outcomes have come from pouring molten A356.0 Aluminium directly into wood moulds. While these castings retain the general form of the mould, they have an unpredictable surface finish on all sides that results from the wood charring and burning as it comes in contact with the molten metal. This testamentary surface finish is the focal point of ASH.A356.0.

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Winning Category: Winner
Name of Piece: Sleep Shapes
Artist(s): Matthew Blunderfield & Daniel Gruetter, danielgruetter.com and blndrfld.tumblr.com
Dimensions: 0.5m x 2.5m x 1.2m
Materials: furniture-grade off-cuts, construction waste (lumber and plywood)

Sleep Shapes are sympathetic objects. Their varied forms reflect the contours of the body, and combine to create topographies of repose. Each piece suggests a particular ergonomic arrangement, while simultaneously engaging the user to find their spot within an undulating terrain. Together, the objects work as social shapes to encourage playful interaction amongst users. This public sculpture / furniture is composed of two types of material: construction waste (plywood and lumber), and high-quality, furniture-grade off-cuts. The solid wood off-cuts are high-grade scrap material diverted from the considerable waste of local wood shops, and are particularly important to re-use as the wood is a high-energy, resource-intensive and costly material. The construction waste consists of plywood and lumber sourced from ample construction bins across the city, including the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and Trashswag. These latter materials are used to create the framing of each Sleep Shape. The off-cuts are then dimensioned and joined to the frame, generating the curves required by the pieces. Stable and sustainable, Sleep Shapes would be an apt addition to the Brick Works site as a public sculpture which draws awareness to types of waste production that are often overlooked, while simultaneously displaying the fruits of recycling and refurbishment. Furthermore, as public furniture, Sleep Shapes would foster a heightened sense of pedestrian engagement and delight.