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4D Cityscape Time Puzzles build cities from the board up

The National Post writes on 4D Cityscape Time Puzzles, a series of city maquettes designed by Toronto entrepreneur Shaun Sakdinan. Sakdinan's launched his puzzles series--scale replicas of cities around the world--early this year and are already being carried by more than 3,000 stores internationally. New York, the first city designed was unveiled last October, quickly followed by Chicago, Las Vegas, Washington and Toronto.

"Each puzzle starts on a base of traditional jigsaw pieces, complete with glow-in-the-dark streets; once that's complete, the next layer uses scale-model buildings to create a given city's current skyline. Sakdinan's twist is the addition of what a fourth dimension: time. Architectural landmarks such as islands, bridges, statues and buildings get installed in chronological sequence."

The first 4D Cityscape metropolis, New York, was unveiled last October. "It's the hardest city," Sakdinan said, "and we wanted a challenge!" In addition to the base pieces, the puzzle contains 126 interlocking landmarks that span two centuries. Next came Chicago, Las Vegas, Washington and Toronto, "because we're from Toronto and we had to have Toronto," he said. (Canadians seem to have a knack for puzzles. The original 3-D puzzles, Puzz-3D, were pioneered by Montreal's Paul Gallant and his puzzle company Wrebbit.)

"The idea is when you get the jigsaw puzzle complete, it teaches you the history of the city. After City Hall in 1812 in New York the next building might be 1940, the Chrysler building," he enthused. "You're recreating time. If you wanted to take a rest you could leave it at the skyline in 1970 and experience it how it was at that moment in time."

"The educational puzzles are now carried by more than 3,000 stores internationally — including FAO Schwartz, National Geographic, Toys "R" Us and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Harrods and Hamleys in London (in Canada, the 4-D CityScape Puzzles are $29.99 and available at Sears stores across the country and through Mastermind Toys). It was also named 2010 Gift of the Year by the Gift Association of the U.K."

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original source National Post

Ritz-Carlton Toronto to open in February

Business Traveller writes on the upcoming opening of the Ritz-Carlton Toronto. Scheduled to open this February, the 53-floor 267-room property caters to locals and tourists, offering hotel suites and private residences.

"Luxury hotel group Ritz-Carlton is to open a 267-room property in Toronto in February."

"Housed in a new 53-floor tower on Wellington Street, between the city's financial and entertainment districts, the hotel will take up the first 20 floors while the remaining levels will be given over to Ritz-Carlton residences."

"Rooms will start from 42 sqm and will be contemporary in décor, with floor-to-ceiling windows providing either city or lake views. They will come equipped with 42-inch flatscreen TVs, Bose stereos with an iPod dock, DVD players, and marble bathrooms with a separate tub and rainshower and a TV built into the mirror."

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original source Business Traveller

Exhibit fit for a King at AGO

The Huffington Post's Marissa Bronfman raves about the Art Gallery of Ontario's latest exhibit, Maharaja: The Splendor of India's Royal Courts describing  the show as "an opulent celebration of a dazzling period in Indian history." Organized in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Maharaja runs from November 20th until April 3rd and features over 200 objects (including furniture, paintings and jewelry) created for Indian Royalty.

"Every object in Maharaja: The Splendor of India's Royal Courts is a jewel in its own right but the AGO hopes the exhibit will get beneath the jewelry to tell a captivating story about a fascinating time in history. With more than half of Canada's South Asian community residing in Ontario, the AGO is the perfect home for Maharaja, and it's a home that will be welcoming everyone under the age of 25 to view the exhibit for free, thanks to generous donations from four prominent Canadian companies. Mandhatasinhji says Maharaja "brings to life the beauty and aesthetics of a bygone era," and he couldn't be more right -- one walk through this exhibit will make you feel like Royalty, even if only for a day."

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original source Huffington Post

Tattoo parlour designs clever campaign

The Globe & Mail lauds Harbord tattoo parlour Speakeasy for their innovative use of both online and traditional PR. Owner Lizzie Renaud uses almost every available social media tool -- Twitter, WordPress, Tumblr, Facebook, MySpace, and Flickr -- to showcase artwork, stories and even to fill last minute cancellations. But Renaud is also known for her use of more traditional communications, in the summer of 2010 she worked with a designer to create postcard-shaped handbills to advertise Speakeasy's "guest artists" program.

"When a colleague told me about Toronto-based Speakeasy Tattoo, I was intrigued. She said Lizzie Renaud, the shop's owner, was doing some really cool things online – Ms. Renaud and her team fill last-minute cancellations through Twitter and share their stories and artwork on WordPress, Tumblr, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr and other tattooing websites. You name the social network, Speakeasy is there."

"But marketing is a particular challenge for Ms. Renaud: she runs a very small business in a specialized market, and it is important to her to always respect the tightly knit group of tattoo artists and shops in her community."

"You can't ever come out and say 'we are the best shop in Toronto' because you would be stepping on the toes of the people who made you who you are," Ms. Renaud explains. "The people who taught me to tattoo are in this city, so it is a huge challenge to stay modest and respect everyone."

"So Ms. Renaud and her team did something innovative to set Speakeasy apart: they reached out to five well-known tattoo artists and asked them to work as guests in the summer of 2010. Despite her commitment to blogging and social media, when it came time to promote the roster of guests, she deployed a completely integrated campaign that used a combination of online and offline tactics."

"We decided to go old school," says Ms. Renaud, speaking about her offline strategy. She worked with a designer to produce glossy, postcard-shaped handbills, which included art by the guest artists, the dates they were coming, and the shop contact information."

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original source Globe & Mail

Massive new furniture store opens on Caledonia

BlogTO reviews Shelter Furniture, the newest design store to open in the Eglinton-Lawrence area. Located in a remodeled warehouse at Caledonia Road and Glencairn Avenue, the store is described as "beautiful, brightly lit, and well organized...".

"What I most liked was the large collection of dining room tables and chairs. Too many times, furniture stores overlook these pieces because they can start to all look the same, but Shelter Furniture has enough variety to making choosing the perfect piece enjoyably difficult. Among my favourite pieces are the extendable frosted white glass dining table with brushed metal base ($999) and the Dakota dining table with clear glass top and wooden "swoosh" base ($1599). My must-have table is the strikingly cool Opio bleached pine table at 110' for $1999. It's big enough to fit a family for holiday dinners but cute enough for even the most intimate of breakfasts."

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original source BlogTO


Toronto's New Corus Quay Building Spawns Public Art

The Huffington Post writes on Corus Quay, the new 8-storey Build Toronto office building located in the Waterfront district. Corus Quay has recently become home to a large-scale art installation by British design firm Troika.

"A shimmering combination of Brancusian shapes, swarm robotics and corporate ceiling design, the new installation by British design firm Troika is an image of hope for the city of Toronto...It's a simple, benevolent image for one of the city's industrial districts, but we wonder just how complex the patterns can get: do the fish seem to swim away if you're hostile?"

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original source Huffington Post

A Toronto art studio's laser-etched rugs

The New York Times recently featured Moss & Lam, a Toronto-based art studio that specializes in custom-designed art works for hotels, restaurants and stores across the globe. Moss and Lam's newest product--laser-etched cowhide and wool felt rugs--marks the company's first foray into "more intimately scaled" products.

"I was wanting to make objects again, going back to my roots as an artist," said Deborah Moss, who runs the company with her husband, Edward Lam, and who designed the new pieces, which include a series of laser-etched rugs. "These are more personal."

"The rugs come in wool felt or cowhide (starting at $140 a square foot) and are decorated with re-creations of hand-drawn patterns: the felt version with maps of cities like Paris, London, Berlin and New York; the Peau de Bois hide rugs with faux wood grain."

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original source New York Times

University of Toronto student flies world's first ornithopter

University of Toronto student Todd Reichert has been making international headlines for creating the first ornithopter--an engineless, wing-flapping aircraft--capable of sustained flight. As reported by the BBC, Reichert's plane flew nonstop for 19.3 seconds on the 2nd of August  2010. The record breaking feat, performed at The Great Lakes Gliding Club in Tottenham, Ontario, is expected to be confirmed by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale at its October meeting. 

"Mr Reichert, a PhD student at the University of Toronto, said the Snowbird "represents the completion of an age-old aeronautical dream."

"Throughout history, countless men and women have dreamt of flying like a bird under their own power, and hundreds, if not thousands have attempted to achieve it," he said in a statement. "This represents one of the last of the aviation firsts."
 
"Other craft with flapping wings have taken off, but the team claim theirs is the first to actually power itself in flight...To keep it light, lift-off mechanisms were not built in.Instead, a tow car helped lift it clear of the ground. But then Mr Reichert took over, using his feet to pump a bar that flaps the wings."

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original source BBC News


Evergreen Brick Works set to become cultural beacon in Toronto

The Evergreen Brick Works, one of Toronto's most anticipated development projects, has officially opened to the public. For the past eight years Evergreen, an environmental non-for-profit, has been working diligently to transform 16.5-hectares of the Don River flood plain into a lively and sustainable public space. The Brick Works--which now houses, among other amenities, a museum, a year-round camp, and a food market--has already been hailed by the Globe & Mail as "cultural beacon for Torontonians and tourists alike" and by the National Geographic as one of the "world's best geo-tourism destinations".

"In many ways, [the Evergreen Brick Works's] arrival – a definitive argument for a better conserved, more sustainable Toronto – could not be more timely, coming only weeks before a municipal election that many regard as a referendum on the shape of the city's future."

"In the course of a single day, depending on the season, visitors will be able to hike, fish, scale a 27-metre climbing tower, ice skate, study trees and plants, tend a garden, fix or ride a bicycle, study art, attend a lecture on urban issues, walk the Beltline (it starts right there), dine on Brad Long's family-oriented meals, explore for fossils, watch deer, picnic, and more."

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original source Globe & Mail

Toronto Film Fest: Let there be Lightbox

This week marked the start of the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and the grand opening of its brand new Head Quarters, the Bell Lightbox Theater. The new theater, located at the corner of King and John, has shifted the festival focus from Yorkvillle, where its been centered in past years, to the entertainment district. According to the Chicago Tribune, the $200 million mixed-use complex "gives film festivalgoers of Chicago, New York and L.A. (and everywhere in between) plenty of reasons to be envious."

"The Toronto International Film Festival's long-awaited new "cathedral of cinema," as one TIFF programmer, Thom Powers, put it, opened its doors to the public Sunday. And it looked good. Very good."

"The sooner this place becomes home base for North America's premier festival, the better it'll be for everyone's cinematic sake."

Designed by Toronto's Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects, the Lightbox — representing a $200 million dollar burst of civic and cultural pride —anchors a 42-story mixed-use development known as Festival Tower. The land was donated by director Ivan Reitman and his family. So. This is a cathedral built on a foundation of "Meatballs" and "Ghostbusters."

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original source Chicago Tribune

Futurists: Guides on the road we'll travel

The Toronto Star reports on the Ontario College of Art & Design's (OCAD) masters program "of design in strategic foresight and innovation". OCAD is the first school in Canada to offer a "futurist" program--a program that challenges students to research current trends in order to make forecasts for the future.

"A futurist is a professional who fastidiously researches current trends and patterns to identify the driving forces of change. From there, they paint possible scenarios of what the near future holds. They're hired by Fortune 500 companies and governments to act as advisers and consultants, and forecast where technology, security, health care, politics and sustainability are headed."

"Last year, the Ontario College of Art & Design became the first in Canada to offer a master's of design in strategic foresight and innovation — a two-year, part-time course aimed at mid-career professionals. The program challenges students to solve complex problems — be they political, entrepreneurial, environmental or sociological — by examining the present, forecasting outcomes and devising with solutions that stretch the imagination and explore ideas outside the linear-shaped box."

"The first phase is horizon scanning," explains Greg Van Alstyne, director of the Strategic Innovation Lab, part of the futurist program. "We're looking for quiet signals of change over the horizon. Foresight is not about predicting the future, but about exploring scenario outcomes . . . The goal is to get beyond personal blind spots and biases."

"Students come from multidisciplinary backgrounds and include health-care industry workers, entrepreneurs and science fiction writers such as Karl Schroeder, who was already working as a consultant for the Canadian government writing future "wild card" scenarios on matters of security and technology."

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original source Toronto Star

University of Toronto's Scarborough campus to get a major makeover

The Globe & Mail writes on the UofT Scarborough's (UTSC) dramatic makeover in preparation for the 2015 Pan AM Games in Toronto. The renovations plans include an  $170-million aquatic center, a hotel and convention centre, a performing arts centre, new residences and academic buildings and a pedestrian throughfare. As reported by the Globe & Mail, far from only serving the athletic "extravaganza" the new additions have the potential to give UTSC a new identity and "to do for southeast Scarborough what Ryerson is doing for Yonge Street and George Brown College is expected to do for Toronto's waterfront: Improve the neighbourhood."

"When Franco Vaccarino became principal of the University of Toronto Scarborough three years ago, he kept hearing a back-handed compliment about his new campus."

"This place," people would say, "is a hidden gem."

"Shrouded by trees and invisible from the nearest major streets, UTSC is more like a covert campus. In his careful academic way, Prof. Vaccarino concedes the school needs to blow its own cover."

"I like the 'gem' part," Prof. Vaccarino said. "I'm not so sure about the 'hidden' part."

"Now UTSC is on its way to becoming a much more visible treasure, thanks to an international sporting extravaganza bigger than the Winter Olympics.The 2015 Pan Am Games and a new $170-million aquatic centre for UTSC are propelling an extreme campus makeover that could include a hotel and convention centre, a performing arts centre, a new pedestrian thoroughfare lined with restaurants and cafés, and new residences and academic buildings.By transforming 50 hectares north of the existing campus, the expansion could do for southeast Scarborough what Ryerson is doing for Yonge Street and George Brown College is expected to do for Toronto's waterfront: Improve the neighbourhood. The spillover effect is especially important at UTSC, where the poor – and poorly served – pockets of Kingston-Galloway and Malvern are a few kilometres away."

"There's a lot of pride in the area, but there's very few opportunities to express the pride," said Andrew Arifuzzaman, UTSC's chief strategy officer. "I think the Pan Am Games facility actually puts the area on the world stage."

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original source Globe & Mail


Firefighter training centre deals with burning issues

The Toronto Star writes on the city's Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute. Located on Greater Toronto Airport Authority lands, the institute will soon become the only accredited private fire-fighting college in Canada. The concrete, steel and glass complex was designed by architects Carol Kleinfeldt and Roman Mychajlowycz and is, according to Toronto Star architecture critic Christoper Hume "one of the most compelling examples of contemporary architecture to appear in some time."

"…the institute takes a pragmatic, even prosaic, program and turns it into something elegant, exciting yet supremely practical. The project is an architectural tour de force, a demonstration in concrete, steel and glass of how design can make the world a more interesting if not a better place."

"The main structure, which rises at an angle from the ground on one side, is gently sloped on the opposite to allow for an expansive green roof. The building is a really a series of buildings, long, thin and connected. The budget, $13 million, didn't allow for empty flourishes or deluxe materials. Many of the walls are concrete block. Small details such as oxygen tubing and light fixtures provide the occasion for decoration."

"Architecturally, the significance of the project goes beyond its utility. What matters most is process, not product. Of course, the facility serves its purpose, but it does so with a strong sense that various subtexts can also be addressed. That means anything from the landscape itself to the innate human desire to be engaged with one's surroundings."

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original source Toronto Star

Where classical tailoring meets streetwear

The Toronto Star writes on entrepreneur Gregory Allen, the founder of Gregory Allen Co. a successful Toronto-based men's clothing line. Allen, who launched his company in 2003, has made a name for himself by designing clothing that combines classic tailoring with a streetwear flair. Gregory Allen Co. is currently available in Toronto and Montreal but Allen has plans to expand his company both within Canada and internationally.

"Allen's customers vary widely in age. "When I started off it was anyone from 25 to 40," Allen says. Nowadays, his customers include both 18-year-olds who want custom-made shirts to match their sneakers and 50-year-olds who want to look hip."

"Regardless of their age, Allen's customers share a desire to be unique, the designer says. Clothing by the Gregory Allen Co. "is for an individual that likes to be different from the rest," the designer says. That's why Allen takes his time to ensure whatever he designs "is going to be something you wouldn't see regularly, something a little different from the norm."

"As his name grows, Allen's goals continue to evolve. A few years ago, his short-term goal was to get his pieces into a high-end store. With that accomplished, he is now focused on developing a plan for getting his pieces into boutiques across Canada."

"Eventually, he'd like to open Gregory Allen stores in other major Canadian cities. And his vision doesn't end at the border."

"My goal is to make a great international Canadian brand," he says. He hopes that like BlackBerry and outerwear company Canada Goose, Gregory Allen becomes a household name both in Canada and abroad."

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original source Toronto Star

London Times names Gladstone one of the "20 best hotels for art lovers"

The London Times has named Queen West's Gladstone Hotel one of the world's "20 best hotels for art lovers".

"Walls decorated so that you feel you are sleeping in a forest, a room that makes you believe you are in the middle of a deep blue ocean, a "Parlour in Twilight" bedroom with odd neon fuchsia lighting, and a suite decorated almost entirely with glass boxes . . . the Gladstone is full of avant-garde art."

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original source London Times
96 Design Articles | Page: | Show All
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