Archive for the 'Architecture' Category


The Importance of Nature: Art on Film

I’ve been thinking a lot about nature lately. Particularly since the activist fashion designer Vivienne Westwood started promoting a petition “to adopt legislation to prohibit, prevent and pre-empt ecocide – the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystems,” in the EU. Susumu Shingu, Luminous River, 2009. Image: Jeanne Bucher. I think we should start a similar petition
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The Power of Art: Herman Wallace’s Dream House

I wanted to write this short post because something happened recently that reminded me about the power and importance of art. From the film, Herman’s House. A friend of mine was commenting the other night that very little art that she sees on a daily basis resonates emotionally with her. It’s true – there is a tendency for much of
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Abacus Lofts

Design Writing: The Rise of the Mid-Rise

I’ve been freelancing in design circles again – here’s a piece I did for the Toronto Star’s Luxury Homes supplement. It’s on the new luxury lower-rise condos that are popping up around established downtown Toronto neighbourhoods. This kind of luxury means fewer neighbours, bigger units often overlooking a park, and convenient access to amenities. I focused on three: ABACUS, ORIGAMI
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Arts Community: Embrace the Condo!

If you don’t often walk along Queen Street from Bathurst to Gladstone, you would be surprised by the amount of new development in the area. Over the last few years, small brick single or two-storey buildings have given way to larger, glass-fronted retailers anchoring mid-rise condominiums. The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto. Image: Among the community, there has
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Paris: A Visit to Atelier Brancusi

Now that I’m blogging less frequently (and tweeting more often) it feels like a small luxury to write a blog post. When I was in Paris recently, I was finally able to see the amazing studios of Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi, which have been recreated by architect Renzo Piano and installed, as a wonderful free museum, right next to the
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Come Up To My Room: 2012

My first impression, at this year’s emerging design exhibition at the Gladstone Hotel, which is titled Come Up To My Room, was that it wasn’t quite as strong as the past few years. UA Collective. All photos: VoCA. Click on images to enlarge. Looking through my photos, though I’m not sure that’s the case. The work is different, more conceptual
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Loved: Really, Really Good Public Art

Although I don’t blog about public art in Toronto, since it could create a conflict with my position on the City of Toronto Public Art Commission, that doesn’t stop me from blogging about public art elsewhere. The entrance to the new Sofitel Hotel in Vienna. Image: VoCA/Scott Barker I was in Vienna, Austria recently and saw the most fantastic use
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Better Late than Never: Canada at the Venice Biennale

It’s better late than never for some highlights from this year’s Venice Biennale. Flying into Venice. All photos: VoCA Having been to several Venice Biennales in my life, I almost always prefer the pavilions where the artist addresses the architecture of the pavilions in which the art is housed. The first Biennale was held in 1895 and there are only
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Best Thing in Venice: The Olivetti Store

So I was just in Venice, to see the Biennale. Art-wise, there wasn’t much that really wowed me, so I’ll start with the fantastic newly-restored Olivetti store in Piazza San Marco. Designed by the late, great Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa (one of my favorites) in 1957-58, the space has been turned into a stunning museum space by the city. They
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Steven Shearer at the Venice Biennale: Details

So, Vancouver artist Steven Shearer will represent Canada at this year’s Venice Biennale, which opens June 4 and continues until November 27, 2011. Steven Shearer, Nash, 2005. Image: Torontonians might recall an exhibition of Shearer’s work at the Power Plant in 2007, which I believe was curated by former Power Plant curator Helena Reckitt (now critic/curator in residence at
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