Furniture in the Trend Houses
In addition to being a showcase for the use of Western Woods in residential homes, the Trend House program was seen as an opportunity to feature the best in Canadian designed and manufactured furnishings and accessories. Eatons was tasked with fitting out all of the Trend Houses in the latest examples of Canadian designed furnishings which they selected in conjunction with a panel of design experts at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
In September 2015, we found a copy of an exhibition catalog in the archives of the National Gallery which was produced in 1952 for an exhibit called “Furnishings in the Trend House” which featured selected pieces from the original Trend House built in 1952 in Etobicoke. The gallery below shows images of the brochure which describes in detail the items on display.
From the introduction of the catalog: “The furnishings listed in bold type have been chosen from the Canadian Design Index, a national information record of original Canadian product design. The object of this Index is to honor Canadian talent in the design of objects for everyday living and to promote the greater use of such talent by Canadian manufacturers. The Index is administered. by the Industrial Design Division of the National Gallery, Ottawa, and selections for it are made by an advisory committee of three prominent designers and architects.
Other furnishings, marked with an asterisk, are not listed in the Canadian Design Index but were chosen on the advice of the same selection committee.
Fabrics, Colors and furnishings were co-ordinated by the editors of Canadian Homes and Gardens.”
Allan Collier, a curator and furniture designer based in Victoria BC, has not only written an excellent article on the Trend House Program in the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada journal (SSAC vol20_no2), but also curated an amazing exhibition at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in 2011 called The Modern Eye: Craft and Design in Canada, 1940-1980. The exhibition featured a number of designs which were used in the Trend Houses in 1953 – you can purchase a copy of the exhibition catalog here. And I’ve embedded a video tour of the exhibition at the bottom of the page.
Allan also very kindly sent us some images from Eatons featuring the furniture in the Trend House which you can see in the gallery below.
We haven’t come across many clear photos from the interiors of the Trend House, but you can tell from some of the ones we do have that Morrison-Bush, Russell Spanner and Peter Cotton designed furniture were featured, their unmistakable silhouettes are discernible even in the low resolution images.
The video tour below of “The Modern Eye” was done by John Martins-Manteiga (of Dominion Modern), who has also authored a number of excellent books including “Mean City: From Architecture to Design: How Toronto Went Boom!“.