The Castor Design Story
Arguably one of the most important design firms in Canada today, Castor Design was originally founded in 2006 in Toronto by Brian Richer. Their first product release, a sauna made out of a steel shipping container, set the firm's ironic, industrial tone. Kei Ng came on board in 2008 and helped focus Castor's design efforts on contemporary lighting and furniture.
The great bulk of the materials for these products are salvaged. Old lamp parts, fire extinguishers and burnt-out light bulbs are rescued and turned into cool, thought-provoking pieces. The result, as was once reported in the Toronto Standard, is "commonness, elevated to rarity."
Why We Love Castor Design
The bright minds behind Castor Design are ex-punk scavengers, design rebels and self-proclaimed sell-outs (and proud to be). Their combined backgrounds include architecture, stone carving, and set design. It is no surprise, then, that, in addition to their admirable "recontextualization of materials," Castor Design makes lighting and other products that are notable for their industrial irreverence. Design inspiration comes from everywhere, and nothing is off limits. Even the humblest object can be--and often is--reinterpreted and transformed into a piece of high design.
A Fun Fact About Castor Design
Once upon a time, Kei Ng was a restauranteur. He couldn't seem to let go. So, in addition to operating a design studio, Richer and Ng planned the space, designed the interior and now run Parts & Labour, a fine dining room/punk rock music hall in downtown Toronto. One of the city's coolest hangouts, P&L has proven the ideal showcase for Castor lighting and furniture pieces.
Noteworthy Lighting by Castor Design
The recycled Tube Lights are Castor Design's best-known pieces. Available in a variety of lengths and orientations (vertical/horizontal), they use burnt-out fluorescent tubes that have been bound together into a shade to diffuse the light of incandescent bulbs.