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A Colourful Past by Giaimo revealed at DesignTO Festival 2021

Revealed as part of DesignTO Festival 2021, A Colourful Past transforms the upper windows of The Hermant Building at 19 Dundas Square through vibrant light and patterns, highlighting the many stories of the site and its cultural history.

Photo courtesy of Giaimo.

Designed by Giaimo, a Toronto based architecture and heritage conservation firm, A Colourful Past aims to foster awareness of The Hermant Buildings’ cultural value by displaying an abstract interpretation of the many different historic narratives and unique features associated with the site.

When originally built in 1913, 19 Dundas Square was briefly the tallest building in Toronto and designed with ornaments that emphasized this vertical feat. It also demonstrated technological achievements at the time, with its early use of reinforced concrete construction.

Photo courtesy of Giaimo.

Beside it is 21 Dundas Square, designed in 1929 by Benjamin Brown, the first practicing Jewish architect in Toronto, displaying a high degree of craftsmanship through its Art Deco influences and decorative paneling.

Over the decades, the activity within the buildings added to its rich history, with tenants ranging from Imperial Optical to conspicuous jewelry shops. The evolution of the site reflects the changing local needs of the area and the general intensification and development of the downtown core.

Today, these buildings often go unnoticed by the public when thinking of Yonge-Dundas Square, dwarfed by the bright billboards, digital advertisements, and busy mall activity. The installation  offers a different perspective and experience to this reality, creating space in the densely populated downtown focal point for public art and engaging heritage interpretation.

Photo courtesy of Giaimo.

A Colourful Past also represents the transformation underway at 19 Dundas Square. Giaimo is currently renovating The Hermant Buildings, restoring the architecturally unique features and reimagining the old interior spaces to develop a renewed aesthetic and accommodate future full-floor tenancies.

Visitors are encouraged to look up and step back to take in the glowing windows, sparking curiosity about the building.

The installation is sponsored by HNR Properties and Walton GC. A Colourful Past will be visible from Yonge-Dundas Square January 22-31, 2021. As a light-based installation, the windows are best viewed after dark (5:30pm to 7:30am).

If viewing DesignTO Window Installations, please follow proper physical distancing measures and stop to view installations only if this doesn’t put you or others at risk. More details here: https://designto.org/blog/the-2021-distanced-and-digital-designto-festival-continues/ 

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