Toronto's city-wide building boom is resulting in public art wherever new buildings pop up, adding colour and texture to the city, and enlivening streetscapes where sometimes the buildings on their own do not always stand out. One developer that has shown a particular dedication to creating a memorable public art collection is Concord Adex. Their collection of pieces at Concord CityPlace in Downtown Toronto now ranks as the largest such assemblage in Canada, and one that can boast of works by noted artists in several media, both Canadian and from beyond our borders, including pieces by Maha Mustafa, Douglas Coupland, Mark Di Suvero, and many more. A companion piece also running today in UrbanToronto highlights works recently unveiled there.

Summer Clouds by Jakko Pernu at Discovery, Concord Park Place, North YorkSummer Clouds by Jakko Pernu at Discovery Condominiums, image by Craig White

Concord Adex has also brought their art chops to Concord Park Place in North York. Both neighbourhood collections have been curated over the years by Karen and Ben Mills of Public Art Management Ltd., and while this younger neighbourhood has fewer buildings and therefore fewer art works to boast of so far, the smaller collection is already of interest. With pieces like Jakko Pernu's Summer Clouds at Discovery, Derek Root's Field Map I and II at Discovery II, and James Lahey's Spring at Tango, the nascent community is already gaining a sense of place.

Discovery2 condos at Concord Park Place by Concord Adex, North YorkDerek Root's Field Map I and Field Map II at Discovery2, image by Craig White

The latest art in the community comes at the latest condominium to be completed there. From a distance, Tango2's podium looks like many other Toronto condo podiums from the current boom: the tower rises upward from a widened version of itself, while at street level, sheltering horizontal elements and natural tones are used to root the building firmly to the ground. 

Achim Zeman's Straight Forward at Tango2 in Concord Park Place, North YorkThe base of Tango2 in Concord Park Place in North York, image by Craig White

It's here on the podium—both at ground level and where the tower transitions away from the top of the podium—where Straight Forward by Achim Zeman has been applied. And while Straight Forward is not small—it transforms a couple of large spaces—it has to experienced from up close, as it is in the details where you start to appreciate Achim Zeman's complex work of simple stripes.

Achim Zeman's Straight Forward at Tango2 in Concord Park Place, North YorkPorte Cochère at Tango2 in Concord Park Place in North York, image by Craig White

Zeman is a prolific German artist who looks to the geometry of spaces and to what use they will be put to inform his creations. At Tango2 the primary space for inspiration is the lounge atop the podium from where residents can get a view of the neighbourhood and the wider skyline beyond. It was the horizontality of the views that Zeman wanted to emphasize in his art, made manifest in variously tinted blue and turquoise strips, applied in colourfast film to the windows, and in robust acrylic strips on walls. 

Achim Zeman's Straight Forward at Tango2 in Concord Park Place, North YorkGym and Porte Cochère at Tango2 in Concord Park Place in North York, image by Craig White 

At ground level, Straight Forward animates the porte cochère and the windows of Tango2's fitness studio, its tightly packed lines add a striking amount of energy to wide spaces. For those working out behind the glass, Straight Forward paints the view of the sidewalk and street beyond with a myriad of translucent aqua-toned strips. For those on the sidewalk, movement in the gym can be seen through the windows—and a curious passerby could press their nose up to the glass to look through a gap if they felt they just had to—but the colourful work mostly makes abstract the details behind it, affording some privacy for those running on the treadmills.

Unveiling of Straight Forward at Tango2 in Concord Park Place, North YorkKaren Mills, Concord Adex's Gabriel Leung, and Achim Zeman at the unveiling of Straight Forward, image by Craig White

Atop the podium, Straight Forward turns the glass walls of the lounge into a unique space. The different tones of blue pick up the blues of the sky at different times of the day, while the turquoises mesh with the canopy of treed neighbourhoods, receding into the distant horizon to the north and the south. 

Achim Zeman's Straight Forward at Tango2 in Concord Park Place, North YorkTerrace Vista of Straight Forward installation at Tango2, image by Craig White

Zeman describes the work here as an artificial landscape, one that can be enjoyed simply in sections, but which if the viewer wants to take it all in, they must move around the space, interacting with and becoming a part of the art themselves.

When sunlight floods in through the lounge's windows, coloured strips paint the lounge's walls, furniture, and floors with colour too, recalling the uplifting effects of stained glass in cathedrals. Zeman is looking to create a simple, optimistic space for residents and visitors to Tango2 to delight in.

Achim Zeman's Straight Forward at Tango2 in Concord Park Place, North YorkTerrace Vista of Straight Forward installation at Tango2, image by Craig White

Back down at ground level, Straight Ahead turns the back of the porte cochère into a memorable space…

Achim Zeman's Straight Forward at Tango2 in Concord Park Place, North YorkPorte Cochère detail of Straight Forward at Tango2, image by Craig White

…while cars heading out on the street look like they've just emerged from an idealized digital realm into the real world again.

Achim Zeman's Straight Forward at Tango2 in Concord Park Place, North YorkAchim Zeman's Straight Forward at Tango2 in North York, image by Craig White

Want to know more about Achim Zeman's work? Your main source for it on the web is here. Want to know more about Tango2? Information on and renderings of the development can be found in our dataBase file for it, linked below. Want to talk about Straight Forward? You can join in on the conversation in our associated Forum threads, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.