Photos: James Bombales
HighPark Condominiums by The Daniels Corporation recently celebrated the official unveiling of a three-component public art installation in the residence’s courtyard fronting Toronto’s largest urban park.
The event included delicious treats from Italian eatery 7 Enoteca, and speeches from Niall Haggart, Executive Vice-Presidents of The Daniels Corporation, artists Elle Flanders and Tamira Sawatzky of The Public Studio, OCAD University President Dr. Sara Diamond, and Sarah Doucette, Councillor for Ward 13 Parkdale-High Park.
The installation was commissioned as part of the City of Toronto’s Public Art policy which requires developers to spend one percent of development costs creating public art.
“Personally, I love interactive artwork,” said Councillor Doucette. “Public art is so important because it ensures that culture remains a part of our urban landscape.”
After an intense consultation process and competition, Public Studio was chosen for its interpretation of the project’s unique setting, connection with nature, and for its mentorship component working with OCAD University students.
“We were keenly interested to reach out to local artists who could speak to the unique nature of this building,” said Haggart.
“Public Studio went above and beyond to create a stunning interpretation of the HighPark Condominiums lifestyle that engaged the greater community by involving emerging artists in the process.”
Led by Elle Flanders and Tamara Swatsky, Public Studio and OCAD University students created “We Are All Animals,” a technologically innovative public art piece that addresses the confluence of ecology, urbanism and technology within the project’s environment.
“As an architect and filmmaker duo, we wanted to find a way to integrate current technology and
the prominent role screens now occupy in our culture merging the real world with the virtual,” explained Flanders and Sawatzky.
“Like the city around it, “We Are All Animals” is constantly changing — we felt we wanted to create a new kind of public artwork that moves beyond the sculptural and that will never be viewed the same way twice.”
Designed to serve as a bridge between the condominium’s courtyard and neighbouring High Park, the display consists of three elements.
A large 22 foot by 9 foot LED screen graces one of the courtyard’s exterior walls and depicts a landscape tableau using digital gaming software. The display shows a digital rendering of High Park with natural elements such as trees, animals, terrain, and weather that are expressed in a real-time environment where changes occur at the same pace as they would in nature.
The second component is a long bronze bench that sits adjacent to the main entryway. Inscribed with the name of the installation, the bench is lit up, highlighting the words from within and provides a beautiful addition and seating area to the outdoor courtyard.
Situated on the other end of the courtyard, closer to High Park, three slightly larger-than-life limestone coyotes complete the art installation. The hand-carved statues are shaped with hard edges, mimicking what a digitally-rendered model would look like in its first stage of construction.
Now completed, HighPark Condominiums is a 14-storey Diamond + Schmitt Architects Inc.-designed midrise which houses 407 units and a wealth of lifestyle amenities.
In addition to being located across the street from High Park, the development features an 18,000 square foot Parkside Club amenity centre with a rock climbing wall, weight studio, home theatre, sauna, and gardening plots. An outdoor lounge, party room, pet spa, and a 24 hour concierge are also included. For more information on available units, visit the presentation centre at 2150 Bloor Street West, open Monday through Thursday from 12pm to 6pm, and weekends from 12pm to 5pm.
To learn more about High Park Condominiums, call 416 351 1844 or email firstname.lastname@example.org