May 6, 2011
The following is a guest post by Erin Rothstein, a contemporary artist and curator based in Toronto. To learn more about Erin’s practice check out www.erinrothstein.com.
A condo is more than a collection of private residences – it is a singular building, whose public façade is part and parcel of the home we build within it. As careful as we are in choosing decorative pieces for our own private spaces—pieces that might make us feel nostalgic, or cultured—so too should we take pride in public art collections that give us this same sort of feeling. Subsequently, I undertook to explore the role of public art in condos around the city of Toronto. The following three buildings caught my attention, embodying many of the qualities I look for in a well-designed space
1. The Hudson (438 King St. W.)
This Gluckstein designed space epitomizes “smart art” in a number of ways: the massive grouping of photographs is intriguing and stunning, playing to the relationship between art and display. An artwork in itself, the grouping demonstrates a keen sense of balance between content, composition, and scale. Groups of black and white photos in mismatched frames tend to remind us of familiar spaces. The Hudson grouping capitalizes on this familiar feeling, creating a bold and identifiable art installation that essentially becomes a stamp of culture for anyone who lives in the building.
Also worthy of note is the aesthetic of books in the Hudson’s design. Books can lend a timeless, erudite sophistication to any space. Here, the lobby is the living-room of those who live at the Hudson. This idea is reflected in the large scale piece above the desk. To be sure, the art in this condo lobby creates an ambiance of culture and personality through timeless imagery, inventive groupings, and bold choices in scale.
2. The Annex Lofts (113-115 Dupont)
This amazing loft conversion by Zinc Development is the ideal setting for an edgy art collection with contemporary magnificence. Each piece of art is like a code to be cracked, adding another layer of exclusivity to this industrial-chic condo.
3. Lumiere (770 Bay St.)
Designed by Munge-Leung, Lumiere exudes luxury in its crisp, clean, and contemporary display of public art. The wall hanging above the couch is at once subtle and confident, reminiscent of what we might see at upscale Toronto design venues such as Avenue Road. The sculpture in the foyer and the paintings in the mailroom echo this air of pristine sophistication. These pieces make a statement, challenging Lumiere dwellers to rise up to their level of culture.
The above-mentioned art collections seduced and inspired me with their allusion to high culture. Each with its own distinct personality, these condos embodied an air of confidence through their art, as any well designed condo should. Not only did the art shape the way I perceived the space, but also how I was framed by it. The art also shaped my ideas about who might live above and behind these public spaces, and what their own private dwellings might look like.
Our thanks to Erin for her awesome contribution!