AREA91 Paris Lectures #12

In Paris Lectures
Last night we hosted our first Paris Lectures event at the Paris Wincey Mills building with the talented duo, Jessye Grundlingh and Nicholas Koppelaar of the Toronto-based industrial design firm, AREA91. A glimpse into their creative process gave us insight into how the Paris Wincey Mills Company developed under their vision as “safe-keepers of the vibe”.

Like us, AREA91 is a young company run by two and this talk was their first ever together. They shared the stage with mutual respect for each other, evenly dividing their time at the mic and demonstrating a united approach to work. Defining their practice in terms of process helped them focus what it is they are doing and how they intend their business to grow. For our audience it was a special chance to see how designers think, worry and plan for the details that coalesce into final products.

We were inspired to see them articulate the business behind their practice especially for projects as large and multifaceted as the Wincey Mills renovation. On the eve of our own first shared speaking gig at Glenhyrst’s Big Night Out event this Friday (September 30th, 2016), we got some ideas about how to speak to our own work. And the crowd had a good glimpse into what a solid design process looks like: thoughtful, end-to-end, and aware of its own context in a human-centred environment.

In Paris Lectures news, our next event is an open call for Pecha Kucha style presentations (5 minute presentations with 20 slides automatically progressing after 20 seconds) from the community about individual passion projects. The event is scheduled for October 18th, right around the corner, so we will announce the call soon. Stay tuned via our Facebook page and/or email newsletter to find out about our launch dates.


We continue to see the need to increase the stability of the lecture series. Lots of people have said, “Just charge for the tickets” which would of course be easier, but we like knowing that it is an accessible event and anyone can show up for free. We have been in situations before where we have simply needed to get out, meet people, and find a network, and we believe this should be possible without having to spend a dime. We want our events to continue to put community first. But we also need to A) meet our own needs and make sure the series is sustainable, and B) ensure the events are still serving the community’s needs.

One area we have known for awhile now where we could improve is in the ticket procurement process. First, there were not enough spaces, so we moved to a bigger venue. Now, tickets still seem to go quickly and we are in need of another method to smooth out the process. To address this, we will be trialing a new Paris Lectures membership to help make it easier for our biggest supporters. We’ll see how this goes; hopefully it solves a couple of different issues for people, including alleviating some of the anxiety around ticket releases.

Membership coming soon

We will be opening up 10 spots to subscribe to Paris Lectures tickets, so for $100 you are automatically registered for a pair of tickets for the next three events. These membership spots will be available to buy from us either in person (to save on Eventbrite fees!) or through Eventbrite (for convenience). When the next event’s tickets are released, a “member ticket” will be one of the options, so first come first serve. We will plan to limit spots so as to keep a good proportion of our seats available for new attendees.


Sponsorship package now available

At the same time, we have also developed a sponsorship package. As this series has grown, we are proud to have developed a niche, pleasant place for people to consistently support one another and we’d love to find like-minded businesses who have the resources to partner with us and the desire to become a part of this community. Email us if you want to see the kinds of cross-promotion we are prepared to offer, or if you have any ideas/contacts for us.


A big big thank you to the Paris Wincey Mills Company and especially to Francine and Chris for helping us coordinate the logistics of this event. Thank you to Studio50 for continued support via our speakers’ gift. Thank you to the Potters who didn’t hesitate to volunteer for checking tickets at our entrance table. Thank you Homer and Emily for babysitting; this would not be possible without you. Thank you Iva and Lindsey for serving us drinks last night. Thank you to local brewery Mash & Paddle for the delicious tangerine IPA. Thanks to several of you for help setting up and tear down and thank you to all of our attendees, both new and old, for making donations and buying booze at our bar. This was an intense event for us with all the setup, costs and coordination involved, from hiring servers, procuring a liquor license, and bringing in all our own alcohol. Thanks to you guys, we seem to have broken even. Thank you!


Last but not least, a special thank you to the talented Jessye and Nick for devoting their time to us and coming all the way to Paris to speak to us about their impressive body of work. It’s a lot of work to prepare a presentation, much commitment to actually show up, and bravery to put oneself out there. We appreciate it.


See you all in October!


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