A pair of major new public artworks were recently celebrated at a pair of recently opened new Toronto buildings. Today and tomorrow we celebrate both events, artists, artworks, and buildings, each with their own story. This story focuses on Nova by Kingston, Ontario-based artist Shayne Dark, at Tableau Condominiums, a recently opened development by UrbanCapital, ALIT Developments, and Malibu Investments at Richmond and Peter Streets in the city's Entertainment District. The 36-storey tower is recognizable on the skyline for its chevron shaped floor-plate and staggered black two-storey frames, but near ground level its most notable for the five-storey-high 'table' upon which the tower rests.

Approaching Tableau from the east, with Nova in the corner, image by Craig White

The design of the building is by Wallman Architects, with RJC Engineers responsible for the feat of post-tensioned magic that keeps 31 storeys held aloft above the dramatic ground level space. Piercing through Tableau's table is Dark's Nova, an artwork of eleven brightly painted elements that reach over 37 metres into the air as they lean upon each other for support.

A couple walks by Nova, image by Craig White

Dark's distinctive artwork is already familiar to Torontonians who have passed by the corner of Jarvis and Charles Streets, where the bright orange 'Double Vision' and the brilliant blue 'Double Take' grace the public realm outside X and X2 Condos. The latter of those buildings—a joint venture between Lifetime Developments and Great Gulf—was also a Wallman work, while architectsAlliance designed Great Gulf's X.

Looking at Nova from the northwest, image by Craig White

Dark will tell you that he has no narrative subtext to imbue his artworks with—they are art for art's sake and meant to be enjoyed simply for their physicality and visual delight. Invariably, the works are boldly but monochromatically painted, resulting in objects that are in their glory when in direct sunlight, or brightly lit at night like here at Tableau. It's the reflective highlights and recessed shadows that heighten the works' shape and texture, and give them greater dynamism.

Nova's illumination comes from spotlights arranged in a night sky pattern under the table. As final touches are applied in the coming months, the intensity of individual lights will be tweaked to better evoke the starry firmament.

Looking across Peter Street toward Tableau and Nova, image by Craig White

Up close at ground level, Nova acts like a dozen exclamation points in the widest area of the sheltered public piazza that makes up the building's connection to the city. While the space is relatively quiet for the moment, it should be hopping by summertime when The Anne Boleyn (opening in February), a British-themed pub by the guys at The Social Group—well known for Parts and Labour, The Hoxton, and Dog & Bear—spills out its 100 patio seats around Nova.

David Wex led hosted the event to celebrate Nova, image by Craig White

To kick things off at the November 29th event, David Wex, partner at Urban Capital, told the story of a time in 2007 when he was in Mexico City, and found a phone booth so he could make a call back to Toronto to seal a deal on the purchase of the property here at Tableau. Wex told the crowd—mostly residents of the building, but increased in size by many of those who had help create the building, and with a number of guests—that the last nine years had been complicated and at times fraught, but that the end result was a building he and his team are very proud of. Along with Wex, Rony Hirsch of Malibu Investments also noted their delight in having created something distinctive, and not just another 'Toronto Box.' 

Rony Hirsch, Rudy Wallman, Shayne Dark, and David Wex cut the ribbon, image by Craig White

Dark was next to address the crowd, expounding upon the collaborative process that brought Nova into being. "I came into the presentation a little nervous and excited as it is quite a monumental piece. I was going to have the work sit underneath the table. So I spent all this time and energy and effort into building the maquette, then David goes over with an X-acto knife and starts cutting a hole into the table and says "This is how I envision it. Why don't we bring it up through?" This was a collaboration that I had never had before with the architect, the builder and myself."

Rudy Wallman stands under Nova, with his firms new offices lit up over his shoulder, image by Craig White

The collaboration went deep here. Rudy Wallman was convinced enough by the development that he recently moved his firm's own offices into the building upon completion. Those are Wallman Architects' offices over Rudy's right shoulder in the image above, where they enjoy a great view over the space and across to Nova, and where they have an office painted the same pistachio green as the artwork.

The Cecconi Simone-designed lobby from outside, image by Craig White

The collaboration culminated in the building's interior design by Cecconi Simone. Their extensive work here starts with the dramatic glassed-in lobby. Tied into Nova's canted pieces, angled 'beams' of light pierce richly-veined marble walls between elevator doors.

Inside the Cecconi Simone-designed lobby, image by Craig White

Those beams reappear four floors up in Tableau's amenity lobby, a dramatic black and white space that leads to a suite of sophisticated rooms and hallways that expand upon the textured but high contrast theme. On the 29th, the amenities were previewed (final touches are still under way here), and outfitted for the celebration.

Arriving at the Cecconi Simone-designed amenity lobby, image by Craig White

Joining UrbanCapital partner Mark Reeve at the party were Gail Krieger, Associate at Cecconi Simone, and Elaine Cecconi, Partner at the firm she co-created with Anna Simone. Krieger and Cecconi headed up with design at Tableau, and we hope to be back in the future to get a more thorough tour when their amenity spaces are declared 'done!'

Gail Krieger and Elaine Cecconi of Cecconi Simone flank Mark Reeve of UrbanCapital, image by Craig White

With colour having been withheld from the spaces here, it's the people who will use these rooms who will bring the colour and life. Even an exit sign (below) becomes punctuation in the dramatic but minimalist design.

Cecconi Simone-designed backlit hallway space on the amenity floor at Tableau, image by Craig White

Also still to be completed as part of the Tableau development is a Claude Cormier-designed park in the triangle across Richmond Street at Peter, so we will have further stories to tell related to Tableau long into 2017.

Residents and guests enjoy the party in the Tableau lounge, image by Craig White

In the meantime, if you want to know more about Tableau, more information is available in our dataBase file, linked below. You can get in on the conversation in the associated Forum threads, or leave a comment in the field provided at the bottom of this page.

Related Companies:  ALIT Developments, Cecconi Simone, Claude Cormier + Associés, DeepRoot Green Infrastructure, Malibu Investments, Milborne Group, Quest Window Systems, RJC Engineers, TUCKER HIRISE Construction, Urban Capital Property Group, Wallman Architects