Month: January 2019

2019 DesignTO Festival Wraps up at Yonge + St. Clair

After 10 days of art and events, the 2019 DesignTO Festival comes to a close. Yonge + St. Clair was the proud home of 12 installations and events, together with a DesignTO tour and ideas forum.

Thank you to all of the businesses that participated, the artists who contributed to the festival, and the organizers of DesignTO for another successful year.

Here’s a summary of the installations and events that came to Yonge + St. Clair for the DesignTO Festival, from January 18 – 27.

2 St. Clair W
Installation: “Morpheus”
Artist: Gensler Toronto
Presented by Slate Asset Management


30 St. Clair W
Installation: “Faux Garden”
Artist: Studio Hi Thanks Bye
Presented by Slate Asset Management


Delisle Parkette
Installation: “ReflectLive”
Artist: superkül
Presented by Slate Asset Management


55 St. Clair W
Installation: “StrataSphere”
Artist: IBI Group
Presented by Slate Asset Management


1 Delisle Ave
Installation: “PULP: Exhibit + Home ”
Artist: pulp: art party
Presented by Slate Asset Management


New Balance
1510 Yonge St
Installation: “Furnishing Balance ”
Artist: Pablo Munoz
Presented by New Balance


New Balance
1510 Yonge St
Installation: “Raising STEPS, an Auction of Artist-Designed Shoes”
Artist: Various, in collaboration with The STEPS Initiative
Presented by New Balance and The Steps Initiative


95 St. Clair W
Installation: “Sparkle Squish Plush Pond”
Artist: Studio F Minus
Presented by Desjardins


45 St. Clair W
Installation: “Dissipate Like a Cloud or Smoke or Wintery Breath”
Artist: Derrick Piens
Presented by Manulife


CNIB Community Hub
1525 Yonge Street
Installation: “The Accessibility Experiment: Navigating the World in an Alternative Format”
Artist: CNIB
Presented by CNIB


Mary Be Kitchen
21B St. Clair W
Installation: “The Trees Amongst Us”
Artist: Nicola Woods
Presented by Mary Be Kitchen


Delisle Court
1560 Yonge Street
Installation: “Pro-Tem”
Artist: Janine Miedzik
Presented by Delisle Court


DesignTO Tours: Exploring Art at Yonge + St. Clair
January 20, 2019


DesignTO Ideas Forum: Watershed to Waterfront
January 24, 2019

Spotlight: Pulp’s Rotem Yaniv on Creating with Reclaimed Material

The DesignTO Festival (formerly the Toronto Design Offsite Festival) returns to #YongeStClair from January 18 – 27th, 2019. The event features 10 days of art and festival programming anchored by immersive installations designed by local artists, architects, and design firms.

We spoke with Rotem Yaniv, Director of PULP: Reclaimed Materials Art and Design, on how his team of artist have brought recycled materials to life at the Delisle Space (1 Delisle Ave) for PULP: Exhibit + Home.

Can you describe PULP and why you wanted to get involved with DesignTO at Yonge + St. Clair? 
PULP: Reclaimed Materials Art and Design is a Toronto based not-for-profit corporation set to encourage community building and environmental awareness.  In the fall of 2018, PULP, The Delisle Space, and Yonge + St. Clair began collaborating on PULP : art party and its continuing exhibit during DesignTO. We were very excited to work with a beautiful venue just across the street from a subway station. We were thrilled to be part of the artistic expression happening at Yonge + St. Clair, pieces like Equilibrium and the Tunnel of Glam , and now PULP: Exhibit + Home, in collaboration with At Odds Collective.

Can you describe the installations and how they came about?

All of the installations at PULP : Exhibit + Home are made completely or mostly of reclaimed materials – printed paper, discarded cardboard, old cloths, or reclaimed wood. There are more than ten installations so I’ll only get into a few. We have Ripple Effect by Natalia Bakaeva (creator of Equilibrium) and Xiao Sunny Li which is a hung piece made of dozens of cardboard tubes gathered at architecture offices and printing shops, cut into an interesting doubly curved surface. It is quite interesting to look at the installation from different places as the hollow tubes create optic effects.

Another piece is Sky-scrapper by Daemon K Retren and Hillary Predko which consists of Pre-cut and drilled geometric shapes made of scrap wood are provided for a playful sandbox experience. Guests at the exhibit are encouraged to take existing constructions apart and create their own. Then there is Fated Forest by Alisha Sunderji and Brianna Smrke (A_B Collective). This piece invites participants to sift through old National Geographic magazines and add to a hanging, kaleidoscopic forest of mini-collages. Each floating leaf in the forest will capture different views of the past, present or future of someone’s life or the state of the world. Guests entering The Delisle Space will pass through Ksenija Spasic’s jelly fish made of old tomato cages and printed mylar, followed by paper ropes woven by Mona Dai and Evan Brock and hung above the stairs.

Among other pieces are an 11′ tensegrity structure by Ron Wild and David Brown, a Threaded Vortex made of old cloths by Tamara Navarrete, a Cardboard Cathedra by Jason Bond, Semi-translucent walls of coloured light on wheels by Jazmine Yerbury, a Recycled Quilt by Lynn Mona, Paper Poppers by Nancy Nguyen, and Adhacks by Stephanie Avery (you’ll have to come to The Delisle Space to discover what those are, or read about them on our art page!)

Before and during the exhibit, At Odds Collective will be at the space creating sculptures out of reused materials which represent how we build ourselves up in the present using pieces of our past : a survivor sewing themselves back together after having dissolved into a storm of flowers; a lonely lover made of past love letters; a traveller made into a library of past treasures; a bowing child holding up a new knick knack to be taken by the person viewing the piece, always replaced by another collected piece to lose.The PULP exhibit will slowly get populated with little sculptures engaging with the installations. At Odds Collective is made of Enrique Gaudite, krivvy, Natascha Malta, and Sylvia Thorn.

What do you hope visitors take away from the experience?
Reclaimed materials art or found objects art is different from other forms of art which utilize off the shelf media. An artist working with reclaimed materials cannot create anything they desire, they must translate the existing object into a new form or use and inject it with new meaning. At PULP, we add an additional complication – paper and plastic based materials must remain recycleable at the end of the exhibit and we discourage the use of glue and oil paints or glitter on such materials. I hope guests will entertain these concepts of translation as I believe they are key to the development of sustainable commodities manufacture and reuse. PULP : Exhibit + Home simply shows the value embedded in so many materials Canadian society labels as unwanted.


Spotlight: Nicola Woods on Her Unique Process

The DesignTO Festival (formerly the Toronto Design Offsite Festival) returns to #YongeStClair from January 18 – 27th, 2019. The event features 10 days of art and festival programming anchored by immersive installations designed by local artists, architects, and design firms.

We spoke with Nicola Woods, the artist behind “The Trees Amongst Us” at Mary Be’s – 21B St. Clair W, about her unique process and why trees are so important to neighbourhoods.

Portrait of artist Nicola Woods. Photo by Melissa Maltby.


Can you describe your practice and why you wanted to get involved with DesignTO at Yonge + St. Clair?

For several years I have been photographing trees and in particular street trees. In May 2018 as part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, I exhibited 75 portraits of street trees in the Junction neighbourhood where I live. This exhibit grew from daily walks with my dog where I noticed the street trees that were part of an Adopt-a-Street-Tree program a joint collaboration between LEAF, the City of Toronto, Green 13 and the Junction BIA. And so, a concept grew in my mind to both record and pay homage to this group of trees cared for by various businesses, organizations and volunteers in the Junction. I wanted to honour how the trees knit the neighbourhood together.

When I saw the call for submissions for DesignTO at Yonge + St. Clair, I thought what a great opportunity to discover and highlight another neighbourhood’s trees.  I was especially pleased that Mary Be Kitchen offered to host my exhibition because they have a striking maple tree growing beside the restaurant.  In the summer and fall the tree’s leaves provide shade to the side of the restaurant and at street level in the winter the bare branches reveal the amazing mural by Phlegm.

Norway Maple, early winter 2018

In addition to the maple tree my exhibition highlights sixteen other trees, mostly the ones planted along Yonge Street.

Why is this installation important in the context of Yonge + St. Clair? What do you hope visitors take away from the experience?

I hope my installation heightens an awareness of the benefits that street trees provide and show how they bring colour and life to the neighbourhood. And I hope it will have the same effect that the trees have on me — that viewers become more mindful of the trees that live amongst us.

Can you describe what the build process looks like for your installation? How did the idea come about, and what did it take to see it come to life?

I started by exploring the neighbourhood and photographing the trees. Yonge and St. Clair has an interesting combination of old and new buildings and the trees mirror this. I found an interesting mix of mature trees (mostly honey locusts) and some new plantings in attractive wooden containers.

Pioneer Elm in container, 2018

Once I finished photographing the next step in my process was to edit my photographs and digitally render them so that the trees are in colour and the surrounding streetscape is in black and white; a technique that results in a digital version of the hand coloured photograph.

To add another vintage element to my work I used metal leaf as a background.  I applied the metal leaf to 7-inch wooden circles or rounds.  The gold, silver and copper metallic backgrounds shimmer and change according to the light conditions and resemble early photographic processes such as daguerreotypes and tintypes.  And then I finished up the pieces by printing my photographs onto transparent film which allows the metal leaf to shine through the image.

Metal leafing process


Adhering print to round process

The final step in the process was installing the framed pieces in Mary Be Kitchen.  I consulted with the owners to make sure they were happy with the placement of pieces and after several hours of work I’m happy to say my installation is up and ready for both restaurant patrons and DesignTO festival goers to enjoy.

Spotlight: Studio F Minus on sequins, art, and #DesignTO19

The DesignTO Festival (formerly the Toronto Design Offsite Festival) returns to #YongeStClair from January 18 – 27th, 2019. The event features 10 days of art and festival programming anchored by immersive installations designed by local artists, architects, and design firms.

Studio F Minus, the visionaries behind the celebrated Tunnel of Glam at Yonge + St. Clair, are returning to the neighbourhood with a brand new sequin-inspired installation for #DesignTO19 entitled ‘Sparkle Squish Plush Pond‘. We sat down with Brad Hindson and Mitchell Chan, principals of the studio, for their thoughts on the community, design, and what it takes to see vision come to life.

Can you describe your firm and why you wanted to get involved with DesignTO at Yonge + St. Clair?

Studio F Minus makes public conversations through art. Our work is often tactile and/or interactive and/or kinetic. We are always excited to insert artworks into spaces that don’t typically have them. We find it reaches a broader audience and are often discovered unexpectedly.

Why is this installation important in the context of Yonge + St. Clair? What do you hope visitors take away from the experience?

We hope that visitors who work in these spaces get to see their place of work differently. Further, we hope that residences of the surrounding area come out and explore buildings that typically thought of as closed off to the public.

Can you describe what the construction process looks like? How did the idea come about, and what will it take to see it come to life?

Reverse sequin fabric is mesmerizing and very underutilized as a material. We first explored it as a medium when we built the 80′ long ‘Tunnel of Glam‘. Here we are studying how it works in a sculpture that undulates and swirls while still allowing it to be touched by the viewer.

From left to right: Mitchell F. Chan, Brad Hindson, principals of Studio F Minus


Sparkle Squish Plush Pond runs from January 18 to 27th, 2019 at 95 St. Clair W in the lobby. An opening reception will be held on January 18 from 7 – 10pm.

Spotlight: SUPERKÜL on #DesignTO19 at Yonge + St. Clair

The DesignTO Festival (formerly the Toronto Design Offsite Festival) returns to #YongeStClair from January 18 – 27th, 2019. The event features 10 days of art and festival programming anchored by immersive installations designed by local artists, architects, and design firms.

We spoke with Alexandra Lavallée, an architectural designer at superkül here in Toronto for her views on the art coming to Yonge + St. Clair, and for more details about their installation titled “ReflectLive“.

1. Can you describe your firm and why you wanted to get involved with DesignTO at Yonge + St. Clair?

superkül is a Toronto-based architectural studio founded in 2002 and headed by Meg Graham and Andre D’Elia. The firm’s portfolio encompasses a wide array of project types, ranging from residential, commercial and institutional buildings to master planning and feasibility studies. While diverse, all undertaken projects display an immaculate attention to detail and material resolution, regardless of scale, and a profound connection to their built and natural contexts. The practice prioritizes a thorough engagement with all clients and stakeholders, and a belief in long-term sustainability guides the direction of the firm towards creating a brighter future.

This type of festival brings on a high energy project under a relatively short time frame, not to mention that installation projects are really fun! It is an opportunity to explore and expand upon conceptual design ideas, and get our hands dirty. Participating in the DesignTO festival is an obvious choice as Deborah Wang, the artistic director and a founding member of DesignTO, worked at superkül for many years – she recently left to work for the festival full-time.

2. Why the Delisle Parkette?

Last year, superkül designed an installation for the lobby of 40 St. Clair W. This was an interesting location as it made our installation visible to people who wouldn’t generally seek out design installations. However, the installation was mainly targeted towards the building’s users. For 2019’s edition, we really wanted to engage with the Yonge + St. Clair community. Designing an installation for Delisle Parkette means it’s accessible during the evenings and on weekends. Our installation becomes more accessible to people living in the area – passersby, children, dog-walkers, transit-takers.

3. Can you describe what the construction process looks like? How did the idea come about, and what will it take to see it come to life?

Starting an installation, much like starting larger projects, begins with an understanding of the site it is to occupy. We were first inspired by the trees of Delisle Parkette and how delightful it is to amble through this urban forest. We set out to increase its density and extents by introducing reflective “tree-trunks”, adding an element of whimsy and playfulness to the parkette.

Following the concept was the realisation: figuring out how to easily build, transport, install on site. We tested several materials and structural systems by building a number of mock-ups at a park by our office. Budget and constructability constraints necessitated a creative and resourceful approach to the use of materials, and structural systems that support them. For example, we considered using emergency blankets as the reflective film. By trying it out, we discovered that we couldn’t remove the fold marks. We ended up finding reflective film at a gardening store – it’s used to reflect light back onto plants.

Finally, a larger team is recruited to help with the assembly and, after more issues are discovered and resolved, the assembly process is streamlined. The first of our 30 reflective tree trunks must’ve taken two days to assemble, disassemble and reassemble…the last took under an hour!

The design, construction, and execution of this year’s DesignTO installation is a true embodiment of design as an iterative process: to evolve and develop a concept into a realisation, all while adopting a creative, and sometimes unorthodox, approach to achieve the desired outcome.

The superkül ReflectLive team, from left to right : Mo Soroor, Quan Thai, Alexandra Lavallée, Erica Govan, Tristan Roberton (Missing : Andre D’Elia, Janean Bruhn, Candice Gouveia).


ReflectLive runs from January 18 to 27th, 2019 at the Delisle Parkette – 17 Delisle Avenue. 

Spotlight: Raising STEPS, an Auction of Artist-designed Shoes

Header image by Stephanie Boutari. Reset (detail) 2018, overlay on New Balance product.


What happens when the blank canvas for an artist is a new pair of white runners? As part of the Yonge + St. Clair BIA’s programming for the DesignTO Festival, New Balance Yonge Street is excited to host seven emerging Toronto-based artists as they reimagine the look of New Balance.

These one-of-a-kind works will be auctioned during DesignTO week, January 18-27 during store hours at New Balance Yonge Street. Bid on your favourite pair in support of local charitable arts organization, The STEPS Initiative. From sculptural to functional, these kicks will pull influence from street art, sculpture, design and fashion.

The STEPS Initiative is an award winning charitable organization that bridges culture, community and city-building by animating unlikely spaces with unlikely partners. We seek to inspire cities across Canada and around the world to create welcoming public spaces that reflect and celebrate local community through artistic excellence. The funds raised during this auction will support our STEPS.Talent pillar which cultivates local talent through training, exhibition, production, mentorship and equitably-paid embedding learning opportunities for local emerging artists throughout our many projects.

Raising STEPS – Auction of Artist-designed Shoes
New Balance Yonge Street
1510 Yonge Street
January 18 – 27



Jieun Kim
Jieun June Kim is a Toronto based, Korean-born painter and muralist. She has exhibited her paintings around the world since 2010, and painted murals since 2017, exploring the idea of “home” and creating safe space.



Laura Elliott
Laura Elliott is a DJ and illustrator who continuously explores the relationship between art and music through vibrant and detailed drawings which utilize traditional as well as digital drawing techniques.




Stephanie Boutari
Stephanie Boutari is an artist and muralist with a background in architecture. She started painting murals while completing her MArch degree at the University of Waterloo in 2014. After graduating, she worked full-time as a designer for a few years while painting murals whenever she could. In June 2017, she left her job in architecture to pursue art full-time.


Anya Mielniczek
Anya Mielniczek is a Toronto based artist whose work explores combinations of fine art and street dirt mediums within installation and mural work. The artist’s practice is experimentally charged and intuitive, playing between an organically loose and raw aesthetic – inspired by garbage, time & place, human consumption and love for nature.





Bareket Kezwer
Bareket Kezwer is a muralist, curator, and eternal optimist. Her work is motivated by a desire to spread joy, cultivate gratitude, and foster new social interactions. She is passionate about creating art that both aesthetically and psychologically brightens the streets and works to build a community around positive living. She is an inquisitive, adaptive and active urban resident dedicated to making Toronto more socially inclusive.


Stephanie Bellefleur
Stephanie Bellefleur is a Contemporary Visual Artist who was born in Venezuela, South America. She has created for Street Art Toronto, Facebook, Skechers, K-Swiss, and Baycrest Foundation. Stephanie ’s high impact projects include contributing to the 8-story Phlegm mural at Yonge and St.Clair. Most recently, Stephanie contributed to the unique 23-story “Equilibrium Mural” alongside International Muralist, Okuda San Miguel.


Katrina Canedo
Katrina Canedo is a Filipino-Canadian artist and live painter currently based in Toronto. Her works often utilize a vibrant/colourful palette to reflect the complex stories all of us possess from a visually contemporary lense. Through her art, she hopes to inspire others to also share their own colourful stories.




The 2019 DesignTO Festival comes to Yonge + St. Clair

DesignTO, formerly the Toronto Design Offsite Festival, is Canada’s largest cultural celebration of design with over 100 free exhibitions and events forming Toronto’s design week, January 18-27, 2019. Going into its 9th year, DesignTO transforms Toronto into a hub for creativity, taking design and art out of the studio and into the urban sphere, bringing people together to celebrate contemporary culture.

The Yonge + St. Clair BIA is a proud sponsor of the Festival, and will play host to 12 installations and two events across the neighbourhood. Installations include brand new work by Studio F Minus, designers of the Tunnel of Glam.

Use the map below to find all the festival programming, and click the links below for more information.



1 – ‘Morpheus’ by Gensler (2 St. Clair W)

2 – ‘Faux Garden’ by Hi Thanks Bye (30 St. Clair W)

3 – ‘ReflectLive’ by superkül (Delisle Parkette behind 30 St. Clair W)

4 – ‘StrataSphere’ by IBI (55 St. Clair W)

5 – PULP: Exhibit + Home (1 Delisle Ave)

6 – ‘Furnishing Balance’ by Pablo Muñoz (1510 Yonge St)

7 – STEPS x New Balance (1510 Yonge Street)

8 – ‘Sparkle Squish Plush Pond’ by Studio F Minus (95 St. Clair W)

9 – ‘Dissipate Like a Cloud or Smoke or Wintery Breath’ by Derrick Piens (45 St. Clair W)

10 – ‘The Accessibility Experiment: Navigating the World in an Alternative Format’ by CNIB (1525 Yonge St)

11 – ‘The Trees Amongst Us’ by Nicola Woods (21 St. Clair W)

12 – ‘Pro Tem’ by Janine Miedzik (1560 Yonge St)



13 – Tour: Exploring Art at Yonge + St. Clair (January 20, 11:00am – 12:00pm)

14 – Ideas Forum: Watershed to Waterfront (January 24, 6:30pm – 8:30pm)


Use #DesignTO19 and #YongeStClair when you share your photos, and we’ll feature them here.