Now in its 12th year, the annual alternative design event 'Come Up To My Room' has provided Toronto artists with a platform to experiment and show off brand new site-specific installations. Created by Christina Zeidler and Pamila Matharu, the exhibition invites audiences out of the cold and into the historic Gladstone Hotel just east of Queen Street West and Dufferin Street.
The exhibition is just one of many events taking place next week as part of the Toronto Design Offsite Festival, which also coincides with the Interior Design Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Robert Cram and Jaclyn Blumas return as curators this year, joined by Caitlin Plewes from Craft Ontario, who together with dozens of artists, have transformed each of the Gladstone's four floors.
The sights and sounds of the various displays provide the guest with a sensory experience as they traverse the impressive and often quirky spaces of the 125-year-old hotel. One of the most visible and striking pieces hugs the wall of the entire grand staircase, serving as a visual pathway that guides participants through the hotel. Appropriately dubbed 'Ascent', the meandering mural by Phil Irish captures rugged scenes inspired by the Albertan landscape, including mountain peaks and pipelines.
Annie Tung's 'X' brings to life the "idea of hidden messages and unknown desires" through the use of several face casts occupying the wall of the second floor west hallway.
Also on the second floor, 'Alula' by Jacky Lac, Priscilla Lee and Julian Paulo Rodrigues encompasses the east hallway with a series of large, reflective pieces meant to encapsulate identities, space, time and form. The metallic material used manipulate the hall to provide onlookers with a warped sense of space.
The entire fourth floor has been transformed by curator Carla Poirier with 'In a Space', an exhibition which explores physical composition and the fundamentals of design.
Carla Poirier explains her vision for the space in the video below by Richelle Sibolboro:
With the interior spaces fully decked out, the rear exterior of the building needed some love that was met with a massive homage to construction stretching from the roof of the hotel to the ground. 'Orange Crush' by DTAH represents Toronto's development boom, celebrating the prosperity and growth that results from the dozens of new projects completed every year.
Upon closer inspection, the bright wave of colour is actually comprised of orange construction fencing that is juxtaposed with the looming Toronto skyline when viewed from the upper floors.
In addition to viewing the unique works on display, the exhibition also gives attendees the opportunity to explore some of the Gladstone's 37 permanent artist-designed hotel rooms, each of which have their own personality and flair. The Gladstone Hotel's extensive renovations, completed in 2008, have pumped new life into the building and the surrounding neighbourhood. With events like 'Come Up To My Room', the hotel's resurgence has been fully realized as the once declining property has been reincarnated as a cultural hub.
The event officially begins tonight with an opening reception party followed by live music. Admission to the exhibition, which ends on the 25th, is $10. For more information, visit the 'Come Up To My Room' website.