One of the many wonderful things about condominiums today is that developers are including public art and other artwork in their designs, which expands Toronto’s cultural appeal. The city’s Official Plan supports public art in private-sector developments, and the Percent for Public Art Program recommends a minimum of 1% of the gross construction cost of a development be contributed to public art. These are admirable guidelines, but the lengths to which many condominium developers go to honour that recommendation is phenomenal. Many even go beyond it to include painting, photographs and sculptures throughout the buildings.
One example that comes immediately to mind is The Ritz‑Carlton Hotel, Toronto and The Residences atop this 5-Star masterpiece. On both the hotel and residence levels, there is a permanent collection of hundreds of works that showcase emerging, mid-career and established Ontario-based artists who capture the natural environment.
The work of New Brunswick-based sculptor Peter Powning has been featured in two Daniels condominiums. In Mississauga, he created the sculpted archway at the base of Chicago Condominiums, which visually connects the building with its surroundings by linking to the pedestrian mews. It’s stunning. And at Festival Tower at King and John, his creation “Fantasm” in the residential lobby is a backlit wall sculpture with images and shapes that actually change visually as you see it from different viewpoints. Fascinating! We’re also seeing more developers installing juried artwork, sometimes as part of the building itself.
Whichever, we all benefit from this art enhancing our city – residents live in buildings with character and increased value, and Toronto’s streetscapes become more appealing as landmark condominiums add their charm.