In 2010, the Toronto Complaints Choir, produced as
part of the 2010-2011 World Stage
season at Harbourfront Centre, collected over
1000 grievances, gripes, and annoyances from people across the city. The choir
transformed these troubles into a siren song for the disenchanted.
BMD was drawn to this concept. For us, as designers—makers, problem-solvers,
optimists, a complaint is a wish that things could be better. When the
Propeller Centre for the Arts invited BMD to put on an exhibition in their
street-level gallery in July of 2011, we wanted to do something living and
interactive that engaged the city of Toronto. We would use the space to take on
the complaints that we hoped we could help solve. It would be an experiment. It
would be a risk.
Over the course of 12 days, BMD invited the public in to visit our pop-up
studio, inquire, collaborate, ponder, and generally meddle in whatever way they
liked: we realized that we were, more than anything, designing a message of
empowerment. Demonstrating that anyone can question the way things are, that
anyone can work to make things better, that anyone can be a designer, and
making public the process by which we looked for solutions became one of the
best things we did about it. Democratizing the power of design is perhaps our
most meaningful solution.
BMD’s Bureau of Doing Something About It is being led by studio
designers Amanda Happé, Kar Yan Cheung, Chris Braden, Michal Dudek, and Paul
For media Inquiries please contact Alexis Green at