The Allen Lambert Galleria is one of Toronto's most distinctive spaces. Running most of the way from Bay Street to Yonge Street through the Brookfield Place office-retail complex in the city's Financial Core, the Santiago Calatrava-designed passageway is on the tour for many when taking visitors through Toronto. With light filtering through the arches and ribs by day or flooding up from below at night, the space is one of the most dramatic in the city, and over the years has become a favourite for free public events such as the annual World Press Photo shows, and installations curated by Arts Brookfield and Luminato.
From now until June 19, visitors to Brookfield Place have the chance to enjoy Arts Brookfield's latest intervention in the space; five giant flower-like fabric bells by Canadian artist Heather Nicol are now suspended overhead, slowly twirling. Entitled Soft Spin, the work interrupts the hard-surfaced geometry of the space with the playful, colourful and flowing forms. Visitors are enticed to look up and enjoy the juxtaposed objects, with which Nicol hopes to highlight "the ever-present potential for encounters with unforeseen pleasure and drama in the day-to-day". Nicol "infuses the clean, engineered certainty of corporate grandeur with an immersive dose of the whimsical, the feminine, and the celebratory".
Arts Brookfield has commissioned several works over the years, enlivening the public spaces in a number of their office towers across North America, and many of the installations in the Allen Lambert Galleria in Toronto's Brookfield Place have become celebrated if all too brief additions to the local cultural scene. Some of the works that have drawn crowds over the years have included Alto Cumulus by Max Streicher, Enclosed Fields by Scott Massey, and Chandelier by Katharine Harvey, all included below.
Harvey is best known on UrbanToronto for her new permanent outdoor installation at Concord CityPlace entitled Gardiner Streams.
Possibly the best remembered of the installations in the Allen Lambert Galleria was David Rokeby's Long Wave, presented by Arts Brookfield in conjunction with the Luminato arts festival in June, 2009.
Heather Nicol's Soft Spin can be enjoyed this year, for free, day or night until June 19. Brookfield Place is connected to Toronto's PATH system and has a direct underground connection to Union subway station. Note: Line 1 is closed this weekend between Bloor and St. George stations; replacement buses will be plying the routes on city streets instead.