Digifest brings international digital designers to Toronto

Photo of Lily Tse at Waterfront campus. Photo: Preeteesh Peetabh Singh/The Dialog

Winner of the 2013 “It’s a start” competition. Lily Tse’s app Think Dirty has been popular among consumers looking to use safe, non-toxic cosmetics. Photo: Preeteesh Peetabh Singh/The Dialog

Digifest – Toronto’s international festival showcasing digital creativity and design will take place from May 8-10 at the innovative Corus Quay building at Toronto’s waterfront.

Founded by Luigi Ferrara, dean of the School of Design at George Brown College (GBC), Digifest focuses on bringing together digital creativity, technology and innovation amongst the industry, academia and people from all over the world.

“Toronto is a city which needs a real festival for interdisciplinary collaboration,” said Ferrara. “The idea was to have a festival once a year that would bring people from around the world to lay the ingredient about what is happening in the digital innovation in all different fields, in design, in film making, animation, web, mobile all the different kinds of areas where digital revolution is really taking place.”

The international appeal is highlighted by the speaker’s lineup at the three day festival.

Some of them include:  Massimo Banzi, Italy, founder of Arduino, an open-source and user-friendly microcontroller board; Daan Roosegaard, Netherlands, a designer and expert in the integration of technology and nature, like glow-in-the-dark SMART highway in Amsterdam, or how to convert Beijing smog into jewels; Mark Rolston, USA, former chief creative officer at frogDesign, the firm responsible for many of Apple’s designs  and; Keiichi Matsuda, Japan, designer who constructs architectural visions of future cities in films.

These experts come from a variety of disciplines including architecture, technology, app development, urban planning, and industrial design.

This year, Digifest 2014 will address the theme of Digital Urbanism and the Future of Cities. Its programming and events will highlight the latest digital tools that are facilitating creative solutions and connecting people and networks that inspire us to imagine more responsive cities that will enable better living.

Some of the other workshops during the three-day festival will include testing 3D printing and robotics.

Intel family day, on May 10 will see interactive installations at the waterfront, such as wearable technology demo where people can try on the Google Glass. Ballet Jorgen, the group that teaches the GBC Dance School, will be performing a dance which controls music and sound.

Family day will also feature the Arduinofest with Massimo Banzi , the inventor of opening source hardware along with a bunch of people who have created products using the Arduino chip.

“They have made crazy products like there is a chip that actually talks to your plants, senses when your plant is dry and then it phones you to tell you to water your plants,” said Ferrara.

Digifest will also have “it’s a start” competition where 20 finalists pitch their ideas to investors for a chance to win more than $20,000 in cash and prizes.  Initially 70 people applied out of which 20 were shortlisted for the final pitch.

The first two days of the festival offers special rates for students while the family day is free. More information on the schedule can be found out on http://www.torontodigifest.ca/2014/.

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Digifest brings international digital designers to Toronto