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Purpose & Play is an annual design competition and exhibition that explores new prototypes for contemporary life focusing on domestic objects that are fun to use and fun to own. It showcases new work from seven Canadian designers and studios.

View the exhibition live at the Umbra Concept Store, Jan. 16 through Feb. 5, at 165 John Street, Toronto.

Cast your vote for the Fan Favourite Award to the prototype of your choice. The winning design could become the next Umbra product.

Deux is a response to our ever shrinking domestic living spaces. We wanted to create a piece of furniture that would be playful as well as versatile and useful; it can be used as a stool, a child seat, a footstool, a coffee table, an end table and a small credenza when used in accumulation. Deux adapts to each living space and to the evolving needs of its owners. Its lines are rational and its materials are colorful, giving it a modern yet dynamic overall aesthetic. It also qualifies as an indoor/outdoor piece of furniture. The choice of materials was made with an eco friendly approach, considering our global challenges regarding production of plastic goods.

Ricostudio is a Montreal-based industrial design firm. We help organizations design thoughtful products that connect emotionally with people. Our approach to problem-solving is driven by curiosity and creativity. This allows us to bring a fresh and original perspective to each project.

Inspired by natural formations found in caves, the Stalactite Chess Tray does double duty as a serving tray and tabletop chess board. When fulfilling its purpose as a serving tray, the magnetic chess pieces are hanging below the surface and with one quick flip are ready for play.

Jeremy Labelle is a passionate, inquisitive and resourceful freelance industrial designer, taking every opportunity to pursue creative endeavours. Having worked around the world, he's able to bring insights from his travels into the products he creates, with the intention of having a meaningful impact on the world around him. Ultimately, he hopes to help elevate the international recognition of Canadian design.

Duckie is a table lamp - it sits on your table. It could sit on your floor. You could even take it to bed with you. You could put it in a suitcase. And bring it on a plane. Duckie is your new friend :)

Two very simple forms come together - abstracting the classic lamp base and shade. The two essential elements of every lamp. Taking the object back to it's essential begs new manipulations. Four configurations are presented, but the model extends into endless possible arrangements, accumulations, and scales. Fun-warm-happy-smiley Duckie lamp.

V/V is a design studio based in Toronto, and led by Designer and Architect Marc Dainow. Our studio practice is guided by simplicity and chance. Ideas that collide effortlessly. We work to capture everyday moments of joy like the little pop in your step on the way to work, or the smile to yourself behind your sleeve. We don't believe in heaviness, we believe in lightness. We believe in the longevity of handcrafts, adapted to contemporary sensibilities.

Sharing a meal with loved ones, friends, acquaintances is a symbol of belonging, community and culture. At a time when the global pandemic has reminded us of the value of human connection, we chose to center our product around eating together. Plays Mat is a place mat that can be used in a multitude of ways to share meals with those near and far. Each piece is modular and can be configured to expand to as many guests at your table. Complete with pockets to stow away phones and tablets; a prompt to be fully present while sharing the company of others.

Understanding, there are many circumstances, where in-person meals are not possible, Plays Mat includes a phone or tablet holder, making it easy to share a meal remotely through video.

Each piece invites a group or individual, to play with fun shapes, speaking to the act of rebuilding connections.

Kat and Mel first met while completing their Masters of Architecture at the University of Toronto and have been long time friends and collaborators ever since. After graduating in 2011, they followed opportunities to practice architecture at a range of studios in Toronto, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, New York and Oslo. Kat lives in Oslo and works as a Senior Architect at Norwegian studio, Snohetta. Mel is focused on her role as an Interior Architect Specialist at Toronto studio, MJMA.

Rocker is a table lamp with a familiar form but has a couple unique ways of interacting with it. A magnetic marble sits atop the lamp and is visible through the clear acrylic shade. When user wants to turn on the lamp, they press the red button on the body causing a track below the marble to teeter it towards the opposite side. Once the marble reaches the other side of the track, the lamp turns on. Vice versa to turn it off. A red ring on the base is used to control the brightness by rotating it.

Christopher is a Canadian industrial designer with a skill set in design research, furniture design, product design, and additive manufacturing. He believes in designing ground up from researching the target audience to physical prototyping and testing. This may sound like a never-ending cycle of refinement but for him that is the best part about being a designer. He hopes to continue to learn and hone the skills for creating designs that can genuinely impact people around him.

Due to the pandemic, I've traded overseas trips for local camping gateways. Like many others around me, my love for this activity has grown since then. I wanted a lantern that would work at home and on the go. A first prototype was quickly created using a flashlight, plastic containers, a rubber band and a shoelace. I used the prototype for around a year before finally designing the IN-OUT lantern.

It feels at home in nature, and then becomes a playful lamp when you get home. In order to make the lantern compact and easier to carry, the head can be inserted upside down into the body. The dimmable light provides a warm, comfortable atmosphere.

Etienne Vernier is a multidisciplinary designer based in Montreal. He worked with many local companies, such as lighting manufacturer Lambert et Fils. Combining his background in design and engineering, he aims to create products with technical playfulness and sees his work as simple sculptures that embrace practicality. His process is based on curiosity and consists of finding inspiration in assembling simple items while letting accidents lead the experimentation.

Coil is a contemporary take on an age old tool: the watering can. While many people own watering cans - and several elegant designs exist - the structure remains unimaginative, generally consisting of a container, open at the top with a spout and handle. This prompted us to explore ways in which a frequent and mundane task, such as filling a water can, could be transformed into a playful and interesting experience. The result is Coil. Coil dynamically fills through a spiral waterslide, resembling an unexpected pairing of delicate chemistry equipment and ‘crazy straws’ from our youth.

During the next phase, our team will refine the design concept and CMF to develop a path forward for prototyping with consideration for mass production. We will also explore various tube profiles to maximize the volume of the container while maintaining the core concept.

Plural is a design collective that explores a wide range of ideas through the context of industrial design. Plural's design process places an emphasis on materiality, efficiency, and environmental responsibility. Plural’s body of work includes contemporary furniture and homeware products such as the Peacock Chair (2021) and Loop Light (2020).