Philip Beesley and Jean Johnson acted as co-curators and designers for the series Designed by Commission, mounted at the York Quay Gallery, Harbourfront Centre and IIDEX, the annual International Interior Design Exhibition at the Toronto Exhibition Centre from 1992 through 1994. Designed by Commission was launched as a showcase for numerous furniture designer-makers, textile designers, glass artists and metal workers.
The exhibitions at IIDEX and Harbourfront tried to challenge the separation of craft and architecture by acting as a laboratory for exploring design methods and material qualities. Because the installations were intended to have direct implications for building design practice, both open-ended process and standard production methods were included in the project approach. In the first series, a lobby space was designed for IIDEX acting as a transition from the outside street to the large exposition inside. a large-scale composition of abstract forms resulted, loosely organized into floor, shelf and overhead canopy elements. A collaborative working method was again used for the next year’s project, but here there was increased emphasis on coordination of individual efforts into an integrated whole.