By Leah Hansen
A group of fourth-year interior design students were featured at this year’s Toronto Design Week with their project Hanging Matters, a piñata inspired installation filled with condoms, candy and confetti.
Evan Jerry, Ryla Jakelski and Jordan Evans installed their first fullscale exhibit at the annual Come Up to My Room event at the Gladstone Hotel.
“A lot of our projects, if we’re building anything, it’s always a smaller object or a model, never full scale,” Jakelski said as she stood with Evans under their installation at the opening reception on Jan. 25. “It’s given us a really good insight into a different element of design.”
The scale of the project wasn’t the only challenge, according to Evans.
“We were challenged from the beginning by only being able to use the ceiling [in the hallway] so we wanted to do that in a really effective way,” he said.
Evans said that brainstorming ideas for the project and then building it by hand took almost three months to complete. The resulting installation was both beautiful and interactive enough to keep visitors engaged.
Hundreds of two-part conical paper structures hung down from the ceiling in the hallway, backlit by coloured lights. At the end of each cone hung a string with an attached tag containing instructions to pull it at 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m. or 10 p.m. Each cone was filled with condoms, candy and confetti to be released when the string was pulled.
“We found that piñatas were something that could really connect with anyone who comes to see it,” Jakelski said. “We thought the idea of 1,500 condoms falling from the ceiling onto people was just really funny.”
Lois Weinthal, chair of the School of Interior Design and faculty advisor for Hanging Matters, said the team went above and beyond with the project.
“We started off by looking at each of their portfolios and seeing how they worked, how they looked at things in the world and different issues that have come up for them in interior design,” she said. “A lot of it was about how light affects the way we look at interiors and materiality.”
Come Up to My Room was a great opportunity for the team to finally see a full-scale project all the way through from conception to exhibition, Weinthal added.
The second floor of the hotel was packed for the event’s opening reception.
Several other installations appeared alongside their project, but it was Hanging Matters that seemed to be the crowd favourite.
As 9 p.m. approached, there was a rush to get into the hallway to be able to pull one of the 9 p.m. strings.
A New Years Eve-like atmosphere crept in as the entire crowd counted down to the hour. A cheer went up as the contents of the cones cascaded down on the crowd, invoking nostalgia of simpler times of birthday parties and candy-filled paper maché structures.
Overall, Jakelski and Evans say the reactions and praise they’ve been getting from people are overwhelming.
“Just to have people really happy in this space, that’s all we wanted,” Evans said.
*Gallery photos by Leah Hansen and Evan Jerry