January 11, 2018

Spotlight: superkül talks #TODO18 and Design here at Yonge + St. Clair

The Toronto Design Offsite Festival is coming to #YongeStClair for the first time THIS month from January 15-21st, 2018.

There will be a week’s worth of art and festival programming anchored by three immersive installations designed by leading architecture and design firms GenslerIBI Group and superkül.

We had the chance to catch up with the Kevin James who is the principle architect at superkül here in Toronto for his views on the Yonge + St. Clair, and for more details about the interactive installation titled “Second Life“.

Can you give us some background on the firm and its approach to design? What are your guiding principles?

superkül is the Toronto-based architectural studio of principals Meg Graham and Andre D’Elia. Founded in 2002 upon an extensive body of professional experience acquired in Canada and abroad, superkül is recognized as a leading Canadian design practice. Its commitment to excellence, pragmatism and advanced building technologies has resulted in numerous architecture and design awards and recognition in several esteemed publications in local, national and international contexts.
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 of the projects undertaken evidence 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 is the first year TO DO festival is at Yonge + St. Clair. What was the thinking behind your installation and its relevance to the community?

The area around Yonge + St. Clair has seen and will continue to see an incredible amount of construction activity. It’s position as a critical node within Toronto fosters a liveliness to the area and supports a dynamic neighbourhood of businesses and residences. Our installation is meant to bring awareness to the amount of waste generated during construction, an oft unseen aspect. As architects, we have both the capacity and responsibility to develop systems to help reduce and/or reuse these by-products. As part of our installation, a large vessel fabricated of pieces of wood the size of which would typically be considered waste will provide a counter-point to the video images of resource and waste. The sculpture is a means of re-framing how we consider that which we typically throw away.

This installation seeks to focus awareness on the by-products and waste of design and construction. Through a series of curated images, this installation tracks the volume and nature of waste generated by a number of local building sites and shops over a series of days. It then considers and presents waste reframed as opportunity. Our hope is to bring attention to the manner in which construction waste is perceived, and to encourage innovation and the adoption of lower-waste methods and re-use strategies as part of a larger strategy of sustainability.

How important was making this installation interactive for the community?

The ability to host the installation in the lobby at 40 St. Clair W provided us with the opportunity to bring our Toronto Design Offsite installation to more people than it would typically be exposed to if located in a gallery or showroom. Placing the installation directly across from the elevators ensures that everyone entering the building will be exposed to the images and sculpture. We have intentionally avoided making the installation too fact & figure heavy in favour of allowing the images to speak for themselves. Given the nature and occupancy of the building, we expect many individuals will encounter the installation on multiple occasions over the week the installation occupies the lobby.

Structurally, how will the installation be displayed?

In order to keep the installation fairly simple and to avoid the need to create temporary structure which itself would likely become waste, the installation will utilize a TV on a mobile stand for the image-based aspect of the installation while the large sculptural vessel will rest on an existing plinth in front of the TV and across from the elevator doors.


Second Life” is one of three installations that will be up during the Toronto Design Offsite Festival here at Yonge + St. Clair from January 12-21. You can view the installation by visiting 40 St. Clair W
Hours are Mon-Fri 9am-6pm

To find out what else is going on during the festival, be sure to visit our main page HERE.