PARTISANS In Toronto Transforms Everyday Items Into Objets d’Art

PARTISANS, a Toronto-based architecture and design firm, consider themselves as “a movement”. Like their website states, PARTISANS is devoted to the cause of “smart, beautiful, and provocative design”. The firm also claims its mandate is to “create conditions for transformative experiences” and this goal is carried into their creative product line where all the pieces cross into experimental territory.

PARTISANS’ most recent product launch is a striking light form called Gweilo. It was inspired by the idea that “luminosity is fundamentally dynamic”.





Gweilo is handmade using the thermoforming technique where individual LED sheets are heated to a high temperature allowing them to become pliable and shaped into a desired form.

Below, PARTISANS co-founder Alexander Josephson (also known as the "it" boy of Toronto architecture in a Toronto Star article) works with sculptor Harley Valentine to heat and hand sculpt the LED sheets into the Gweilo lights.





PARTISANS' handcrafting process results in endless possibilities of irregular shapes and sizes that can be used for a variety of applications including tables, floors, or lighting fixtures.

Although Gweilo is a light source, the way it seems to reflect light from somewhere else makes it especially unique. The best way to describe its effect is using the moon as an example: the moon's bright white light is a reflection of the sun's brightness. 





What makes Gweilo so different from other LED light sheets that already on the market is that it is has been shaped to represent a sensuously and intricately curved form. It cannot be classified as lighting for the sake of it but definitely lighting that provides or enhances a mood. Whichever way you view or use Gweilo, there is no question that each creation is an objet d'art.

Custom orders are also available making these creations limitless. This breathtaking grouping of chandeliers, as seen below, is an incredible feat of design and technology.




Let's shift gears towards the Tuftit bench. As seen below, the Tuftit is another interesting version of a universal décor item.  Tuftit is made from a solid piece of wood that has been carved to mimic the appearance of tufted leather, except instead of a button, there is an open area in the wood.

Tuftit is a play on the word "tufted". The Tuftit design is PARTISANS' version of tufting, an upholstering technique used in furnishings. The seat is not consistent in this design as only a half section has the openings and the other half does not. However, the uneven texture of the more solid portion is expertly designed to still give the impression of tufting.





Tuftit is available in a variety of wood stains, materials, and sizes.





For more information or to place a custom order for Gweilo or Tuftit products, contact PARTISANS.

To learn more about the firm's projects and products, visit PARTISANS. has also celebrated PARTISANS in our post The Sculpted Grotto Sauna On Georgian Bay By PARTISANS


Interested in seeing some more extraordinary lighting and furniture designs? Check out these articles:

- Zoe Mowat’s Reinvention of Art Deco in Montreal, Quebec

- Got Wood? Part. 1


All photos courtesy of PARTISANS.


Researched and written by Namrita Kohli, student in the Interior Decorating Certificate Program, George Brown College.

Posted In: Ontario

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