I couldn’t sleep:

the air,

the smell.

With your mask,

your oxygen tank

and your bottled water.[1]

If you can see, look.

If you can look, observe[2].

In its third season, the 2023 Architecture & Film Symposium will shine its cinematic light on intense interiors. It will concurrently expand inwards and outwards from the interior, the buildings to the cities’ streets and urban conditions – while aligning with a heightened awareness of the users of these spaces.

Todd Haynes’ 1995 film Safe, Jose Saramago’s 1995 book, Blindness and later 2008 film and the 1966 book by Harry Harrison, Make Room! Make Room! later adapted into a film in 1973, Soylent Green is part of this years’ symposium selections.

The provocation of Hesitancy + Attunements + Forensics creates a forum to present new academic and creative scholarship in film, interiors, and architecture and extends to our allied fields in disability studies, public health, urban studies, and engineering. The selected films and provocation themes welcome work addressing historical, theoretical, realized and speculative projects while inviting critical and creative discourse in design theory, pedagogy and practice. The peer-reviewed intense interiors symposium aims to expand filmic interiorities and develop new conversations.

Intense Interiors seeks submissions that capture a range of topics and put forth questions to examine the following (but are not limited to):

  1. Atmospheres of the Interior (e.g., indoor air quality, toxins, pathogens, radiation and chemicals)
  2. Domestic Interiors, Domestic Goods, Women as Domestic Objects
  3. Epidemic, Pandemic and Forensic Interiors and Architecture
  4. Feminine Interiors, Feminist-Queer Interiors, Gender Studies and Sexuality, Intersectional Identity and Histories
  5. Institutional Architectural Interiors and Vulnerable Persons (e.g., long-term care, hospital, ICU, safety and support)
  6. Interiority and Emotion
  7. Proxemics, Personal Space, Territoriality, Urban and Architectural Cinematic Spaces
  8. Risk Perception, Cultural Theory of Risk and Sacred Contagion
  9. Rooms (Safe Place, Safe Room, Panic Room, Quarantine Room, Storm Cellar, Bunker, Merkhav Mugan)
  10. Visible and Invisible (dis)abilities

Attitudes and concepts applied in the 20th and 21st-century cinematic realm of speculative architectural interiority have given us the bone-chilling relevance of our current interior life. We are a generation of educators and professionals having to rethink and revisit our understanding of proxemics, the use of space, and materials. The rules of the game have changed. Gone is a designer’s role as an aesthetic dictator; new prescribed rules about proxemics and materiality are evolving. Inclusivity and safety are fresh ingredients of the discipline.

Historically, the interior consists of ceilings, walls, partitions, windows, and doors. The architect Louis I. Kahn famously noted, ‘Architecture comes from the making of a room – the street is a room by agreement – and the ceiling is the sky.’ Still, defining the interior forces us to rethink the interior as a permeable atmosphere – both an outside and an inside. In the film, Safe and even today, the simple act of taking a breath inhaling in our interior spaces has created a new form of what Di Cintio calls interior hesitancy. How we work, eat, sleep together is now mandated by invisible off-gases, airborne droplets, particles floating in the interstitial spaces and inhabiting our interiors.

By relating to our current concerns, parallel films noting new terms coined by Di Cintio – interior attunements and interior forensics are found in the film Blindness’ epidemic and quarantine protocols. Looking further back to the 1973 film, Soylent Green’s view on limited space and resources – push forth ideas on population control. Practitioners and the public now have a heightened awareness of their interior architectural environments. Many of us wonder – What is inhabiting our ventilation systems in nursing homes, schools, residences, and workplaces? Who defines and controls quarantine spaces? Will we be safe? Will it be accessible? Where is the design ethicist?

This symposium aims to explore ways to comprehend better and, importantly, cope with the new emerging realities of the architectural interior. The symposium asks artists, designers, educators, scientists and audiences to note the potentiality of multiple dialogues built through layered and disparate knowledge practices. The current discourse on new materialism and material knowledge can be a starting point. The rethinking of Edward T. Hall’s 1966 proxemics is racing to the forefront of discussion. Theoretical structures and technical discourses make Katherine Shonfield’s book Walls have feelings: Architecture, Film, and the City another meaningful compliment to the symposium’s discourse aims.

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic highlighted the need to treat the architectural interior as an emergent space rather than a static one. The need for safety limits and physical-social interaction is trying to be balanced. What if we could see what was in our interiors? How can we imagine alternative formats, new forms of interactions, safer and more inclusive spaces?

General Inquiries:           
Submission Method:       


[1] Actors lines from the Todd Haynes’ film, Safe, 1995.

[2] Quote from Jose Saramago’s book, Blindness, 1995, Opening page (from The Book of Exhortations)

Call for papers: Domestic Goods: Silence speaks in our interiors, objects, clothing, and keepsakes

Image credit: L. Di Cintio, Scolapasta, 2020

What items do we cherish? Which items do we pass on? Typically, an inheritance item may be attached to a monetary value. What if the object’s value is more in the form of palpable memory? Can the mundane domestic goods of a pot or colander speak of a mother or the alarm clock speak of a father? What resonates in the prosaic realm? This session will draw on autotopography (Gonzalez), the archive (Derrida), vibrant matter (Bennett), atmospheric attunements (Stewart) and thing theory (Brown).

What domestic goods speak to the heirs of Italian immigrants? How can we speak of intersectional identities in Italian immigrants’ children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren? The session will call upon the first (1900-1918), second (1950-1970) and third (1980-onwards) waves of Italian immigrants to Canada. 

The goals of this session are to:

  1. Welcome papers addressing themes surrounding domesticity, domestic goods,  and the archive,  
  2. Create a network of scholars and community members interested in intersectional identity, memory, interiors, objects, clothing and keepsakes and to, 
  3. Produce a visually creative anthology of domestic goods and narratives and to, 
  4. To support a Call for Papers, a possible publication in a special issue of the journal Italian Canadiana, University of Toronto.

If you are interested in participating, please send a 350- word abstract and short bio before February 28, 2022.

Submit Your Cart Design Proposal for The Stop’s Night Market!


We are once again looking for designers to create unique food carts for the fifth annual The Stop’s Night Market, being held this June in Toronto. The selected carts will be used as vending stations for some of the city’s best restaurants and local wineries. This popular event brings together creatives from Toronto’s culinary, design, performance, and graphic arts sectors, celebrating diversity, community, and the power of food.

Download our 2016 Design Manual and submit your cart design proposal today!

Photo above: The winner of our People’s Choice Award for cart design in 2015, by design team Ingrain.

IRN700 Studio: Design Activism: Guatemala!


Twelve fourth year RSID students and one faculty member traveled to Guatemala’s Highlands for a 10-day self-funded field research trip. Students conducted ethnographic research with students, staff, teachers and parents from Life School – including conducting a design workshop with school children ages 3-14. Traveling by motorboat, participants visited smaller outlying communities utilizing micro-financing methods. The group joined in a range of Mayan ceremonies and rituals (relating to cuisine, costumes, blessings, and funerals) and visited Mayan ruins and UNESCO heritage sites in Antigua, Guatemala.

Design Activism: Developing Models, Modes and Methodologies of Practice


Design Activism: Developing Models, Modes and Methodologies of Practice journal is now available online. Download it here.

GUEST EDITOR: Dr. Lorella Di Cintio for the IDEA


The living conditions of First Nations communities, food-security concerns, access to clean safe water, domestic violence – seemingly disparate subjects can be, and are being, connected to interior design teaching and practice. Such issues are particularly linked to the ongoing discussions of designers working within the new global design paradigm. There is evidence that a range of worthwhile initiatives have been undertaken by design professionals who choose to pursue socially responsible practices, and by educators and practitioners who are intentionally shifting away from a focus on pure aesthetics and market-driven practices.

Dissatisfied with what they perceive as an over-emphasis by the design community on aesthetics, and its failure to meaningfully address the design needs of at-risk and low-income communities, several academics and practitioners have started to incorporate social-justice issues into their design research and teaching – while a number of independent design practitioners are involving themselves in activism.

Design activism is a combined entity of aesthetics and ethics. It is trans-disciplinary, it incorporates mixed media, and it is inspired by the ethics of socio-political activism and community building. Several design activists have partnered with the design profession and specific political agencies to create design solutions that meet the needs of politically, economically, and socially disadvantaged communities, but initiatives are sporadic. In order to make what are now essentially grassroots initiatives a part of the mainstream, models and methodologies for action need to be developed within the design academy. As guest editor, this call is shaped by my desire to make ethics a more central component of interior design practice and pedagogy.

This journal’s theme calls for a re-thinking of interior design pedagogy and a review of current practices found in design activism. For instance, the author(s), could consider and highlight noteworthy projects of scholars whose pedagogy and critical work is linked with activism, and/or respond to pedagogical shifts found in the field of design activism, particularly as they emerge in and relate to the discipline of interior design/interior architecture.

The goals of this call are two-fold: to promote debate, discussion and theorization among designers, design academics and various segments of the general public about the place of ethics and activism in design, and to contribute to the development of knowledge that focuses on embedding design activism into the design curriculum and design profession. The overall objective of the call is to encourage a shift towards activism in interior design theory and design education.


Lorella Di Cintio, PhD, is a faculty member in the School of Interior Design at Ryerson University. She has been educated in Canada, United States, and Europe in the fields of Interior Design, Architecture, and Philosophy. Her research focuses primarily on design activism and social responsibility and she is the founder of The Design Change = Exchange Initiative. She is affiliated with the Centre for Studies in Food Security and EDGE lab at Ryerson University. Her area of research focuses on the social and political positions undertaken by designers. Current projects explore and employ various design strategies in the areas of design activism, cross-cultural collaborative design learning, civic engagement and participation, food security activism and human-centred design models. Di Cintio is a dedicated and respected advocate for equity, inclusion and social justice at Ryerson and beyond. She has forged working partnerships with First Nations communities in Canada and Mexico, and her students’ designs have supported Toronto food-bank users, Haitian earthquake survivors, and others. Di Cintio creates unique pedagogical links among design, service learning, and such complex issues as socioeconomic status and food security. She works to develop curriculum that transforms theory into practice.

She has received a silver medal for design education and service from the Universidad Iberoamericana, and represented Ryerson on a design mission to China. Several of Professor Di Cintio’s appointments and accolades, both academically and within the profession, have been “first precedents” for the School of Interior Design. She is an academic reviewer for the Journal of Interior Design with a focus on service-learning pedagogy, and she was recently awarded the position of Editor-in-Charge of Service Activities in Academia with the Interior Design Educators Council (a North American organization). Lorella Di Cintio is increasingly recognized as a leader in the teaching of design activism and the pursuit of design with a conscience.

List of Content:

  • EDITORIAL Design Activism: Developing models, modes and methodologies of
    practice Lorella Di Cintio
  • VISUAL ESSAY Dear Rosa Julieanna Preston
  • VISUAL ESSAY Repurposing the Past Tüüne-Kristin Vaikla
  • PROJECT REVIEW Peace & Quiet Sandra Wheeler
  • Designing a Community Garden
 Davide Fassi, Alessandro Sachero and Giulia Simeone
  • REFEREED STUDIO Unsolicited Interiors Charity Edwards
  • Contributory Economies, Design Activism and the DIY Urbanism of Renew Newcastle
    Cathy D. Smith and Michael Chapman
  • Gate 81: Saving Preston Bus Station Sally Stone
  • Rethinking Our Values to Achieve Emancipatory Design Jennifer Webb and Brent T. Williams
  • Envisioning a Future 
Fleur Palmer (Te Rarawa/Te Aupouri)
  • BOOK REVIEW M2 Models and Methodologies for Community Engagement
    Edited by Reena Tiwari, Marina Lommerse and Dianne Smith 
Elke Krasny

Transitions in Progress: Making Space for Place

Image credit: L. Di Cintio + SID team

Transitions in Progress: Making Space for Place is part of an international artist collaboration titled Performigrations: People Are the Territory, which explores issues of mobility and migration, featuring seven artists and arts collectives in seven cities across Europe and Canada (Bologna, Lisbon, Klagenfurt, Athens, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver). Transitions in Progress will constitute the sixth instalment of this international project and is scheduled to take place between September and October 2015 in different locations along the Queen Street corridor (September 1-5) and in the Paul H. Cocker Architecture Gallery at Ryerson University (October 19-24).

TiP (Transitions in Progress) is conceived as a three-pronged project: a mobile media lab, a gallery installation, and an online archive. For more information on the project, visit Transitions in Progress: Making Space for Place.

Image credit: L. Di Cintio + SID team

Design Activism: The Stop Night Market 2015


The Stop Night Market once again played house to a sold-out crowd this time activating a vacant lot in the Junction neighbourhood. Ryerson University’s Interior Design School entered six carts and two installations to the Night Market’s roster that lent a perfect back drop to the mouth-watering and savoury cuisines. The proceeds of the fundraiser go towards supporting The Stop’s many community-building programs, including: a food bank, drop-in meals, community cooking & gardening, perinatal nutrition & support, education for children & youth, peer advocacy, and civic engagement.

Truffle gnudi
Cart by ninety3/4




Sweet corn and beef brisket empanadas
Cart by wE>



Fresh and chips
Cart by Salt and Light




Chicken skin taco
Cart by ingrain




Tasty toast



Installation by TAKE OUT




Small Lot Gamay and Ladybug Rose
Cart by Ay Bee See Stop


Design Activism: The Stop Night Market 2015

Screen shot 2015-06-15 at 3.46.23 PM

The Stop Night Market 2015 takes place Tuesday, June 16th & Wednesday, June 17th in the vacant lot at 181 Sterling Road in Toronto. This annual fundraising event is a captivating mash-up of the best of Toronto’s street food, art, music, and offers Torontonians a unique chance to experience an iconic space like they’ve never seen it before. Inspired by night markets from around the world, The Stop’s Night Market transforms a public space into a tantalizing feast for the senses over two summer nights in June, featuring over 60 chefs, 20 local beverage vendors, and 35 one-of-a-kind food carts created by local designers.

Screen shot 2015-06-15 at 3.48.48 PM

For more information visit The Stop’s Night Market

Creative Catalyst 2015


Artists, entrepreneurs and activists gathered at Ryerson University to show how art can catalyze social change and innovation

“Art is a space for collaborative dreaming. If we want social change to be contagious, then we should create art so that it can have ripple effects that are so big they are immeasurable,” said artist and activist Farrah-Marie Miranda, speaking at the Creative Catalyst Symposium, a two-day conference organized by Ryerson spin-off Madeleine Co., and sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The interdisciplinary event created an open forum connecting artists with researchers, policy-makers, industry professionals, and community members to effect change.

Creative Catalyst featured an interactive art installation developed by Madeleine Co. in collaboration with the Bodhi Collective. Called Art Can Change, it asked What Can Art Do For You? The installation allowed the audience to collectively explore how art can have a role in positively transforming the things in our lives that scare us the most.


Edward Burtynsky, Ryerson alumni, artist and entrepreneur, kicked off the symposium with a keynote in conversation with Sophie Hackett, associate curator of photography at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). Burtynsky is renowned for world-class photography and documentary film projects that have drawn attention to the global impacts of resource extraction and exchange. According to Burtynsky, “My photographs reflect the impact of humanity, not its absence. They are pictures of our footprint, and the diminishment of nature that results. Documenting the point of impact between humankind and its evolving environment has turned out to be a life’s work.” He discussed his role as an artist and entrepreneur, and his latest endeavor Think2Thing, a leader in research around 3D-printing technology.

weLfd_eC_TpWXhhus46shOlpvIUMLnaOHkVn6PPiaaVOdymFjFZ2xUMhh4ZBDZXIESBSEuqvgs6hXtz5K29DmG3c7EdStcdnPIQVH8mv65A=s0-d-e1-ft vMeZleVJjv1qrNIaNxG2BS6_k2Im7Z92CAf7HLRoEVPv4B8D7oaejk9JgZM89BIsiLfX_8xvTw6Jbjug4Tor1vAI08mUuMN98PTEEgXqnJM=s0-d-e1-ft

IndieGoGo Campaign – rMark Projects: Design Activism and Food Security


Making rMark! Ryerson Interior Design students raising funds for The Stop Community Food Centre.


rMark is a platform that allows first year interior design students to join in on the conversation about design activism, pro bono design, food security and social innovation.

This semester, our students have been hand-crafting wooden kitchen objects. Selected works will be exhibited at the Ryerson School of Interior Design Year-end Show and are available for purchase.

For the past 8 years, we have raised funds for The Stop Community Food Centre. 100% of the proceeds go to support The Stop’s critical and innovative anti-poverty and anti-hunger programs.

Our goal is to raise $1,500.00. Minimum bid will start at $50.00 Canadian.

Come and support a worthy cause and show us how you will mark your mark on design here.

Creative Catalyst – Call for Presentations


Creative Catalyst project is a Ryerson Symposium on Art and Social Innovation taking place on June 11-12and taking place in the RSID building.

The lead researchers on the conference are Wendy Cukier, Janine Marchessault (York University), Laurie Petrou and Lorella Di Cintio, with Madeleine Co. as the co-organizers.

Background on Conference:
Creative Catalyst brings together Canadian artists, designers, researchers, industry, and community members in discussion on how arts and culture catalyzes social innovation. In the face of “wicked” social problems, radical innovation is required to change perspective and shift culture. Artists and creatives are at the forefront of communicating social change, using artistic expression and creative practice to open up a space for critical reflection, dialogue, and idea generation.

The symposium is supported through SSHRC, OCE and Ryerson University.

The event begins with an opening reception which is free and open to the public on June 11th. The reception features Edward Burtynsky as our keynote, and access to an interactive art installation co-created by Madeleine Co. and Bodhi Collective, a Ryerson-based student design agency.

The research symposium takes place all day from 9AM – 6PM on June 12th with a keynote by Judith Marcuse, an Ashoka International Fellow, and speaker panelsfeaturing Canadian artists, researchers and industry/community members.

The target audience of the conference are researchers, artists and industry, but we would love to have students passionate about the topic in attendance. There are 120 spots available for the symposium, and 200 available for the reception.

We currently have our early bird tickets open until March 30th (Early Bird Student/Artist: $25.00; Early Bird Regular: $75.00), after which tickets will be $40 for Student/Artist, and $100 Regular.

The Stop Night Market 2015 Manual

Screen shot 2015-03-02 at 9.45.05 AM

We are now accepting proposals from design teams that would like to create unique food carts for our 2015 Night Market event! Please download the complete Design Manual at the link. Submissions are due no later than Sunday, March 15th at midnight. Please send any questions to our Design Committee at

Past Present: Conversations across Time

Past Present: Conversations across Time
Allentown Art Museum of Lehigh Valley
Scheller and Fowler Galleries

Past Present establishes a visual dialogue between seven contemporary artists/artist teams and select masterworks in our Samuel H. Kress Collection. Each artist has created an installation that responds to one or more of the Kress paintings, which have been moved from the Museum’s Kress Gallery for this one-of-a-kind exhibition. Media include paintings, videos, sound art, interior design, sculpture, and installation art. Artist are Creighton Michael, Pinkney Herbert, Gregory Coates, Sanford Wurmfeld, Alison Hall, and the collaborative teams of Jonsara Ruth and Lorella Di Cintio, and Scott Sherk and Pat Badt.

Screen shot 2015-06-25 at 9.23.28 AM

Kress_in-progress2015_edit poor-clare-nun-2015-install_edit

IDEC Annual Conference March 6-8, New Orleans

photo_5_of_84-1Creative Scholarship Presentation
Exhibiting the Erased Interior

Lorella Di Cintio, Jonsara Ruth
An installation of fragments from an ‘erased interior’ produces discussions around latent interiors becoming visual art, while its methodology contributes to emerging interior design research.

The Stop


The dictionary definition of “community” includes meanings that range from local to global
levels, and this is also the range of my approach to community in teaching. On a local level, in 2009 I established an ongoing external partnership in which students design a kitchen utensil for the annual fund-raising event of Toronto’s The Stop Community Food Centre. The proceeds go to The Stop’s innovative anti-hunger programs. In pedagogical terms, this studio works under the umbrella of the model of “service learning.”


I am particularly proud of the scope of this studio’s learning experience as it serves the entire first-year interior design population, which means that from the ”get go” students learn that design can be both aesthetically driven and serve a diverse social-economic community.


The ways in which my definition of community extends beyond the classroom to reach the general public include, for example, exhibits of my students’ work at the Church Street Galleries, SID Professional Gallery and Ryerson Library and participation conferences and fund raising events.





In 2012, our collaboration expanded to include the design and fabrication of food and items carts At The Stop Night Market.



Objet de Cuisine Studio
Night Market Carts
Contextual Research

Design Mission China


The Great Wall of China


Skyline of Shanghai


Canadian delegates


National Grand Theater


Meeting with design students


Canadian team


Decorative tablewear




Street Market


Street Vendors


Construction dust on bikes


A well-meaning message

Universidad Iberoamericana: San Ignacio Silver Medal

Universidad Iberoamericana: San Ignacio Medal

Professor Lorella Di Cintio recieves a senior award from Universidad Iberoamericana – the San Ignacio silver medal.

The medal acknowledges her dedicated service to teaching and experiential learning. Iberoamericana commended her for her efforts in developing the Global Exchange Studio and the signing of academic exchange agreements between Ryerson University and Universidad Iberoamericana.

The presentation occurred during the closing ceremonies of the fourth year presentations on the 12th of February 2010.




Come Up to My Room 2010

Gladstone Hotel, Room 206, Come Up to My Room, Material Surveillance: What’s Underneath, January 2010, Lorella Di Cintio and Jonsara Ruth


Room 206 shows a view into the basement of the Gladstone Hotel. On the floor there is a projected ‘window’ into the basement, looking down into the workings of what makes this place tick.


A live feed image shows the elevator mechanical system, which is housed under the 
elevator car. When the elevator is in use, the wheels and cables move.


Others images are still and show things significant to the building 
history or the workings of the place. Beer kegs, gauge, laundry, stone foundations, electrical system, ice scoop, 
wireless Internet routers, ducts, prep sink, dish washing, storage 
shelves, trash.


The  installation works transform the perception and experience of places. They intervene with existing spaces aiming to re-contextualize settings and historical meaning. Frequently, political and ethical viewpoints are melded within the beauty of the surface, space or object.


About the collaboration

Since 1997, Di Cintio and Ruth’ s collaborative work addresses notions of dormancy, anonymity of makers and interior landscapes. Their work has been exhibited in museums, galleries and private collections.

Movement on a Square


Movement on a Square, Dundas Square, Toronto, 2003

A trans-disciplinary collaboration with Butoh dancer Tetsuro Fukuhara (Japan) from Tokyo Space Dance, Kathleen Doyle (Canada) and with second year students from Ryerson University School of Interior Design and Theatre School.



4tunnel 5fukatco 6workshop 7tartub 8jaytu

1998 – 2003
Space Dance Body of Future, Detroit, Tokyo, London, Toronto, Designer