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Toronto's Wave Decks continue to receive international praise

The Toronto Wavedecks, the wooden wave-like pedestrian walkways along Toronto's central waterfront, are continually getting international praise from architecture enthusiasts. Four years after the completion of the first wavedeck, the structures--designed by architecture firms West 8 and DTAH--are frequently pointed to as an example of successful waterfront and public space design. In the last month, the Wavedecks have been praised in, among other publications, Arch Daily, The Wall Street Journal, and Japan's Kudo design blog.

From Arch Daily:

"In response to an innovative design competition launched by Waterfront Toronto, West 8 submitted a comprehensive vision for the Central Waterfront that produced a powerful design language with the strength and simplicity to overcome the existing visual noise and create a sense of interconnectedness and identity. Connectivity between the vitality of the city and the lake and a continuous, publicly accessible waterfront are the plan's priorities."

"Spadina, Simcoe and Rees wavedecks are the first in a series of timber structures that explore variations of a simple articulation in the change in level between Queens Quay Boulevard and Lake Ontario along the Toronto Central Waterfront. Responding to the current pinch-points where the streetscape meets the water's edge, a new public space gateway is created where the city kisses the lake, inspired by the sinuous contours of the shoreline of the Canadian lakefront."

"The geometry of the wavedeck is carefully conceived using playful curves that are constantly changing to create ledges for seating and new routes to access the water's edge. It allows for different vantage points and ultimately different experiences with both the lake and the city. In order to establish a coherent aesthetic for the public realm along the waterfront, the simple undulating timber wave gesture became a prototype that will be repeated at seven heads of slips with subtle variation. Using a consistent palette of materials and details, the identity of each wave structure will be derived from the unique curvatures of the structure as well as the activities suggested through its form."

read full story here, here and here
original sources Arch Daily, Wall Street Journal, and Kudo

Local design firm viva&co does its third New Yorker cover

Toronto design firm Viva & Co.'s have designed their third New Yorker cover. Check out their blog to see "Mental Landscape", the New Yorker cover from the last week of January.

read full story here
original source Viva&Co.

The Gladstone's fifth anniversary

The Gladstone Hotel recently celebrated 5 years since its re-emergence in 2005 as an art-hotel, venue space and bar. The National Post's Adam McDowell writes on The Gladstone's "commitment to being a dozen flavours under one roof" and how its become one of Toronto greatest cultural hubs.

"... a party last month to marked five years since the place reopened with a new and hipper ownership and management, vibe and mandate. True to the Gladstone's commitment to being a dozen flavours under one roof, the party featured a jazz band, art installations and fleshy burlesque dancers doing their saucy thing under a bright green number five."

"Like the Drake down the street, the Gladstone was, not so long ago, a seedy beer hall with a quasi-rooming house upstairs and a gritty reputation. My mother was terribly nervous when, as a teenager in the mid-1990s, I had a meeting with a gig promoter there. Nowadays, it functions as a hipster community centre while still catering to some of the old Queen Street blue-collar crowd (their patron saint was Hank "The Gladstone Cowboy" Young, the chatty operator of the vintage elevator, who passed away in October 2009 and is greatly missed). The experiment has given the place a unique charm and energy. Depending on the night or day, you can partake in an art show, a bluegrass concert, nude art lessons or Simpsons trivia. Or while away a Sunday afternoon with a bottle or two of Molson Stock Ale."

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original source National Post

Historic Arcadian Court gets a makeover

Toronto's legendary Arcadian Court, the restaurant and event space that occupies the Bay's eighth floor, is getting a makeover. The Court, which first opened in 1929 in what was then the Simpsons Department Store, has been a Toronto institution for decades. As reported by the Toronto Star the "new" Arcadian Court, tentatively dubbed "The Loft", will be revamped as a versatile event and meeting space.
"Now part of the flagship Bay store, the current owners say they plan to restore the Arcadian Court to its former glory, the next step in breathing life back into the department store chain, a once fading Canadian icon."

"The plan for the Arcadian Court is part of a larger deal the Bay has struck with upscale local restaurateur Oliver & Bonacini and global foodservice firm Compass Group Canada to make over the restaurants in all 24 Bay stores that offer foodservice."

"Upstairs next to the Arcadian Court, the retailer plans to create a new event and meeting space, tentatively called The Loft, which will cater to both business and social occasions of various sizes. Construction is scheduled to begin in April and end 16 months later."

read full story here
original source Toronto Star

Clever designs fit small spaces

A Globe & Mail video looks at the success of Toronto-based interior design company, The FHE (Fresh Home Elements) Group. In business for only 14 months, FHE Group products, affordable and compact home accessories, are already taking in off in major Canadian retailers.  

see video here
original source Globe & Mail

Fast Company on Toronto's Distillery District

Fast Company encourages visitors to Toronto to check out the city's Distillery District, citing the addition of a sake brewery as yet another reason the District is worth the trip. The repurposed Gooderham and Worts site, already known for its concentration of restaurants, boutiques, and galleries, will be the home of The Ontario Spring Water Sake Company by this comping April.

"For first-time travelers to Toronto, it's often Yorkville and West Queen West that get most of the love. But another part of downtown that's also worth a trip is the Distillery District, on the east side. This complex of Victorian-era stone and brick buildings, now a multi-use development, is already known for its restaurants and boutiques. Come April, the area will also get its own sake brewery, the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company. It will be a true rarity, one of just a handful of sake-makers in North America, and the only one on the eastern half."

read full story here
original source Fast Company

Come Up to My Room 2011

Blog TO writes on the 2011 edition of Come Up to My Room (CUTMR), an annual design event at the Gladstone Hotel. CUTMR, curated by Deborah Wang and Jeremy Vandermeij, brings in over 30 designers/artists to temporarily redesign one of the hotel's many rooms. Blog TO hosts pictures and reviews of this year's exhibition.

"As usual, it's impossible to assign a controlling theme to CUTMR. In keeping with the original idea behind the show, the curators select the artists rather than the pieces. "Once these creative individuals and collectives have been selected, they are given a public space or one of the 11 exhibition rooms on the hotel's second floor. Curators consult and discuss public space projects with their makers, but know next to nothing about the room installations." There are two ideas behind this arrangement: 1) each is designed specifically for the show and 2) it helps to foster artistic creativity by removing as many constraints as possible."

read full story here
original source Blog TO

Toronto's unstoppable condos show no signs of slowing down

A National Post feature looks at Toronto's "unstoppable" condo market. The continued growth of the condo industry--5,500 new units will be built in the downtown core this year--is attributed to a stable Canadian economy, high levels of immigration, and a vibrant downtown.

"Brad Lamb believes Toronto's downtown condominium market is out of this world."

"There's no other place on the planet where all this [activity] is happening," says the president of Brad J. Lamb Realty, who specializes in downtown condo sales. "We have a large immigration of people coming to Toronto every year. We have a diverse economy that can support a reasonably affluent lifestyle. And we have a very stable Canadian economy. Everyone is recognizing how great Canada is, and Toronto is the centre of Canada."

"According to Urbanation, numbers cruncher to the development industry, 16,000 new condo units are expected to come to the Toronto CMA area this year (5,500 will be in the downtown core), down slightly from last year but still a healthy level. RealNet Canada reports that in the first 11 months of 2010, 36% of new condo units sold in the Greater Toronto Area were situated in the downtown core between Bloor Street and the waterfront. Twenty-two per cent of GTA's new condo sales took place in what RealNet calls Downtown West, between University Avenue and Dufferin Street, which RealNet president George Carras says totalled more than all of Calgary's new condo sales in the same time period. With interest rates low and close to 100,000 new immigrants arriving on Toronto's doorstep every year, 2011 is expected to continue drawing in the masses."

read full story here
original source National Post

Concord CityPlace unveils Jose Parla's massive murals

Concord Cityplace this week unveiled its latest art installations, two massive and highly-detailed murals by Brooklyn-based artist Jose Parla. The Ministry of Artistic Affairs features photos of the stunning pieces (available for public view) and an interview with their creator.

"On January 20, 2011, a gala party was held in downtown Toronto for José Parlá to celebrate the reveal of two massive public art murals he painted as a commission for Concord CityPlace."

"Interwoven into the art and very fabric of his life, travel is something José Parlá does constantly. Born in Miami to Cuban parents, raised in Puerto Rico and now based in Brooklyn, Parlá has spent the last decade journeying with exhibitions of his work around the world. Throughout his years of global wandering, he has developed a highly sophisticated system of calligraphy that reflects, like a mirror, the wear and tear of the urban environments he passes through. Capturing the light in Havana, colors of Istanbul, or the pace of Tokyo, his works are visual meditations on global locations and the people that occupy them. This last point is important because, though abstract, Parlá's paintings are all about the characters he meets and the friends he makes along the way. With a Clooney-esque degree of charm spun around a warm, Latino spool, Parlá leaves behind a thread of admirers, companions, and connections whenever he departs for his next destination."

read full story here
original source The Ministry of Artistic Affairs

The Ballroom brings bowling back to Toronto

The much-anticipated Ballroom, Toronto's first downtown bowling alley in 30 years, has officially opened its doors for business. Located at
Richmond and John, the Ballroom boasts 10 lanes, pin ping pong tables, a sports-bar, and restaurant.

"There's a new alternative for entertainment in clubland, where you can still act like a kingpin from the gutter with perfect game, but your friends won't laugh at you when you strike out."

"It's called The Ballroom, Toronto's only downtown bowling alley, now open for business at the corner of Richmond and John.  But as Co-owner Thanos Tripi told CityNews Tuesday, there's a lot more to it than Turkeys and 7-10 splits."

"The Ballroom is currently open to the public but with a limited menu.  They'll be having their grand opening on February 1st."

"We're about 80 percent there," Tripi adds.  "We've got all the bones we just have to put on the makeup."

read full story here
original source CityTV News

The Hindu hails Toronto

The Hindu Magazine hails Toronto in a recent Travel Section feature, describing the city as "every tourist's delight" and "the perfect mix of old and new". "Canada's most bustling city" received high praise for its eclectic architecture, multitude of attractions, and commitment to diversity.

"The first impression about Toronto is its vertical limitlessness. Everything appears to be racing up-up-upper to meet the sky. Winch your neck and all you see is a bit of blue peeping from between two tall orders of concrete and glass."

"A Canada's most bustling city, Toronto is considered its financial and entertainment capital, and Central District is the place to catch this buzz. It has the best spread of gourmet restaurants, nightlife, hotels, visual arts, fashion and more. To mention a few, there's the Princess of Wales and Royal Alexandra theatres; the new permanent home of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Bell Lightbox; the happening Yonge Street—the oldest street of the city and also considered the longest in all North America; prêt shopping hot-spot as King Street or ritzy boutiques of Yorkville and Bloor St West; the outdoorsy St Lawrence Market and Kensington Market known for fresh food products; the ever- popular Queen West, the city's one-stop trendy and hip cultural street; and of course it's got the CN Tower that lord's over them all."

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original source The Hindu

Toronto poster art a cool way to show hometown pride

The Globe and Mail writes on the growing body of Toronto-centric graphic design, from band posters to detailed maps, that "celebrates the city as artistic muse".

 "Ian Gillies, who owns Telegramme Prints, which has locations in Leslieville and on Ossington, says urban pride has established itself as a design aesthetic for many Toronto residents."

"If it's got a Toronto reference on it, people want it," he said. "We have a bad hockey team and the political culture can be a little bit irritating at times, but I think there's just a lot of people who really like living in the city."

"Among Mr. Gillies's best sellers are the Ork Posters, city maps created by Chicago artist Jenny Beorkrem that depict urban centres, including Toronto and Vancouver, by assembling the names of individual neighbourhoods."

"In Toronto, posters with a local bent have become an accessible entry point to the art scene and a way of demonstrating hometown pride."

read full story here
original source Globe & Mail

Green roofs in Toronto, one year later

In January of last year Toronto City Hall announced an ambitious and innovative sustainability policy, requiring all new buildings and retrofits to include a green roof. Now, one year later, Blog TO looks at some of the most noteworthy projects that have emerged as a result.

read full story here
original source Blog TO

Cool Hunter features Toronto home

The Cool Hunter recently featured Toronto's Integral House, the stunning Toronto residence of millionaire Math professor Dr. James Stewart. Designed by architectectural firm Shim Sutcliffe, Stewart's 18,000-square-foot home--located in Toronto's Rosedale neighbourhood--boasts  "a multitude of seductive curves, massive amounts of floor to ceiling glass, a spectacular staircase" and 150-seat concert hall.

"The house exudes a patina, a classic semi-Scandinavian simplicity that makes it seem older, more established and mature than a brash, brand-new house. There's a lovely sense of dynamism as well, as if the building were in motion, rolling along ever so slowly, or perhaps just coming to stillness after a long architectural journey."

"The fantastic staircase is really a commissioned work of art, a collaboration between the architects, glass artist Mimi Gellman, and structural engineer David Bowick. It is constructed of hand-blown blue glass rectangles that are supported by cast bronze clips and stainless steel cables."

"The house has already been on the Architectural Digest annual Toronto tour and it has become a part of the city's must-see architecture. In a Wall Street Journal article, Glenn D. Lowry, director of New York's Museum of Modern Art, was quoted as saying: "I think it's one of the most important private houses built in North America in a long time."

read full story here
original source The Cool Hunter

2010's notable architecture

Urban Toronto looks back at the most notable new buildings of 2010. One Bloor, the Queen Richmond Centre West, and the Bisha Hotel & Residences are among the buildings that transformed Toronto's architectural landscape over the past year.

read full list and descriptions here
original source Urban Toronto
96 Design Articles | Page: | Show All
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