As its name suggests, WORKshop is simultaneously focused on "work" (working, making work, objects that work) and "shop" (shopping, retail shop). In the broadest sense, it is a research center and laboratory. It is an incubator for the development of ideas and the generation of prototypes intended for production and commercial distribution in local and international markets. WORKshop explores materials, material sourcing, new technologies, and potential manufacturing processes in order to maximize product quality and marketing potential.
WORKshop engages university-level students, emerging designers, and established practitioners in experimental work, with the intention of developing products suitable for the market place. Modest research grants are awarded to support proposals seen as worthy of further development. Imaginative window displays, art and design exhibitions, student design competitions, publications, website promotion, and periodic public events are integral to the vision and development of WORKshop.
With an overview of many centuries of Chinese history and culture, Toronto-based WORKshop has become a dynamic centre for ideas and design innovation, simultaneously building on tradition and "the familiar" while generating new, surprising objects that challenge established expectations.