Every development is more than bricks and mortar – it sells a lifestyle. And the value of getting an artist involved is priceless.
When artists participate in a project design or provide art installations, that becomes for the developer a part of the branding, part of the sell and part of the uniqueness of their builds.
For buyers, it’s the sum of these parts that matters. We want to step into something that fits our lives and elevate us. Ideally, our homes and public spaces should have as much cachet and style and long-term value as an early Air Jordan.
Just ask Brian Brown, principal of Lifetime Developments in Toronto, whose Oscar Residences project in the Annex neighbourhood goes on sale in April. The nine-storey boutique building at 500 Dupont St. W. will be studded with artfully arranged photos by Toronto-based celebrity photographer George Pimentel. Pimentel, a fixture on Hollywood’s red carpets, is the “official artist collaborator” on the project, which Brown describes as “Hollywood glamour meets contemporary design.”
Brown has Pimentel involved with marketing and design, and his works will grace the walls throughout Oscar’s shared amenity spaces.
“Art is definitely part of the sale, but it’s more,” Brown says. “When people live in buildings, their front door is the lobby. It’s the first representation of their home when they invite friends. Art on the wall makes a strong statement.”
Pimentel’s photographs will be integrated throughout the building, starting with the main piece in, of course, the lobby.
Brown has helped to bring artists who are headliners in various mediums into his developments for years. Lenny Kravitz’s design company created an exclusive luxury suite at Bisha Hotel & Residences at 80 Blue Jays Way to reflect the musician’s art and music.
The XO Condos at 1221 King St. W. feature artist Daniel Bombardier, also known as Denial, who lived in the Parkdale community when it was fledgling and who has created hundreds of standout murals.
“We’re a strong supporter of the arts in Toronto and have been for 15 years,” Brown says. “It’s about supporting artists and the community and it’s adding great features to our buildings.”
Menkes Developments Ltd. has been at the forefront of melding art and design, restoring pieces for public display and working with communities.
“All developments require a certain percentage of the total cost to include public art but Menkes really embraces the opportunity,” says Jamie Okorofsky, Menkes’ manager of communications. “We believe culture is an important part of life that everyone should be exposed to.”
Menkes has helped to incorporate and preserve artwork, including a piece on concrete done by the world-renowned graffiti artist Banksy.
Menkes salvaged and restored the piece, Guard with a Balloon Dog, benefiting its Harbour Plaza residents, One York Street residents and the community through Toronto’s indoor PATH network.
“It was a piece of art that we really liked, and we wanted to be able to give back to the public,” Okorofsky says.
The City of Vaughan collaborated with Menkes and QuadReal Property Group for a 10-foot tall art installation, Metropolis in Motion, by local artist Frank Mazzuca.
“The interactive public art installation was tasked with serving dually as a gateway and landmark feature leading to and from the Mobility Hub of the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre,” says Sharon Gaum-Kuchar, senior art curator and planner for the City of Vaughan. Menkes’ Mobilio project offers condos and towns in Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, just north of Toronto.
Sometimes, we want art a little closer to home. North Drive Investments co-founder and partner Jordan Morassutti, whose properties include One Forest Hill, 10 Prince Arthur and 36 Birch, says he is seeing clients who want to ensure there is space in their new homes for displaying their own art collections.
Art can also move beyond walls and installations and into nature. North Drive’s head of sales, Jana Korim, says the developer infuses art into its interiors with unique designs. Yet, it considers the sculpted topiary garden at 10 Prince Arthur, and the lush garden lane visible from the terraced suites at 36 Birch, created by Janet Rosenberg + Studio, artful as well. “Done with artistic vision, nature can also become everyday art,” she says.
There may not be a red carpet, but with the right vision, even greenery on a walkway can be considered a star in the right project for the right buyer.
Advertising feature produced by Globe Content Studio. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.