The five sense take centre stage at the third annual LivABLE Design Summit this fall

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The five sense take centre stage at the third annual LivABLE Design Summit this fall

Now in its third incarnation, the LivABLE Design Summit will take the residential building sector on a sensorial journey.  The three-day virtual trade event, which takes place from Oct. 27 to 29, will explore the benefits of creating mindful sensory spaces in the home by merging the worlds of breakthrough science with the power of design. A host of more than 30 keynote speakers from around the globe will share their knowledge regarding the profound effect design has, far beyond what the eyes can see.

One of the many highlights will be keynote speaker, Dr. Hoby Wedler, a major proponent of sensory design. Born blind, he is a scientist, entrepreneur and designer who applies his lack of eyesight as an advantage to his work in design consulting as a multi-sensory designer. Through his insights, he will guide participants through the process of becoming “sensory literate” and describes how he uses his acute sensory literacy to enhance interior design.

“Humans tend to have higher visual dominance and therefore, it is assumed that spaces need to be visually attractive,” says Linda Kafka, Living in Place founder and driving force behind the LivABLE Design Summit. However, Kafka points out that design today has become more personalized and individuals have different reactions, needs and relationships with their environments. As a result, the need to make a conscious decision for design to appeal to all the senses, involves creating a sensory balance, which doesn’t exclusively focus just on the visual aspect.  “The theme of sensory design is timely as design professionals continue to question what makes a well-designed space, and the importance of addressing all the five senses in the built environment can no longer be ignored,” says Kafka.

Based on research published in Psychology Today, about 15 to 20 per cent of the population are believed to have sensory-processing sensitivity and can be negatively affected by their environments. This sensitivity is further heightened in people with Alzheimer’s. Presently, there are 500,000 Canadians living with dementia and by 2030, it is expected to reach 912,000. “The numbers are staggering and design needs to adjust to the needs of the changing population,” says Kafka. The industry event will bring together designers, architects and builders who can ultimately implement evidence-based science into interiors that benefit the health and wellness of all building users.

The success of the previous two LivABLE events has given rise to two new Summits in important categories that warrant their own separate events. The Home Tech Summit looks at all aspects of the Connected home by showcasing products, innovations, the technology of smart home features and how to use them in interiors as well as landscaping. A prequel to the main LivABLE Design Summit, it will take place on Oct. 26. The second is the Science in Design Summit, which will be a hybrid event at High Point in the Universal Furniture showroom on Oct. 15. It will explore the benefits of topics such as: neuroaesthetics, biophilia, human-centric design and the colours of health.

Also growing is the long list of sponsors backing the event with Kohler as a major supporter of ageless and sensory design. Other sponsors include: Altro Americas, IDC (Interior Designers of Canada) NKBA – Ontario Chapter, Schluter, and Schneider Electric.

Formerly known as the LivABLE Environment Conference, the event was renamed to reflect the ever-expanding knowledge and global network that the LivABLE Canada community is building: an exclusive platform for education on residential wellness in design, accessibility, living in place and inclusive design.

An entry fee of $99 will grant attendees access to a panel of international experts who are passionate about improving residential design as well as to the education tracks in various disciplines for one entire year. Beyond the expert speaker sessions, there will be roundtable discussions, and the opportunity to network and advance your skill sets and knowledge as a trade professional earning both ConED and CEU credits.

“We are building community here by breaking down the silos and creating a place for designers, architects and even healthcare professionals to find important information that can aid the residential built environment quickly,” says Kafka. In just one year since the LivABLE industry event launched, it is fast becoming the national resource to find specialized information and network with a community who works tirelessly towards building livable, sustainable spaces. A must-attend event for like-minded professionals who embrace the mission: We Don’t Build. We Seek to Improve.

For more information on the LivABLE Design Summit, or to purchase tickets, go to

Linda Kafka:

Since 2006, Kafka has been a valuable and trusted resource for the residential interior design industry. She is an advocate for Universal Design and is one of Canada’s leading experts on living in place and wellness in the home. As an accredited WELL AP, Certified Living in Place Professional (CLIPP) and a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS), Linda offers an unparalleled understanding for creating “forever” homes for clients of all ages. Her focus and passion is to support, educate and train the trades about the importance of creating beautiful and safe spaces that are tailored towards inclusion, accessibility and wellness.

Linda has been active within the North American/Canadian design community for more than 10 years. She is a member of the Toronto Society of Architects, the Design and Decorators’ Association of Canada, the National Kitchen and Bath Association and works frequently with BILD, ARIDO and IDC. She also participates in and attends industry conferences and trade shows across Canada and the U.S.

Linda is the driving force behind the LivABLE Design Summit, a bi-annual trade event designed to both inspire and educate design professionals.

For Linda, her mission is simple: to advocate that every home be designed for a lifespan, so our spaces adapt to our changing needs regardless of age, income, size or ability


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