RAW Canvas blankets Toronto’s evolving waterfront

Over 3,000 of Toronto’s design and art crowd flocked to Toronto’s waterfront on June 25th for RAW Canvas, a one-night-only interactive pop-up gallery. Hosted by RAW architects, the artistic installation saw over 30,000 square feet transformed into a giant canvas by dozens of painters, sculptors, architects, designers and graffiti artists. Hanging above it all was a 2,000-square-foot canvas of Toronto’s cityscape, suspended from a crane over Toronto’s waterfront.

“We wanted to celebrate the intersection of art and architecture and create a reason for the two to mix,” says Roland Rom Colthoff, RAW’s founder. “We turned the stark space along Lakeshore and Jarvis into a giant canvas of graffiti, murals, paintings and interactive installations—making a statement that our city is a raw canvas.”

Fittingly located on the future site of City of the Arts, RAW’s 8th annual installation RAW Canvas was a projection of the waterfront’s future and reflection on its past of dated nightclubs, factories and industrial buildings.
“RAW’s philosophy is always to respond to the context of the site. That goes for the buildings we design, and also our installations, with themes pulled from the unexpected venues we choose,” adds Colthoff.

A live cultural experiment in three distinct spaces, RAW Canvas explored what happens when art and architecture collaborate and collide. Using paint supplied by Benjamin Moore, artists covered floors, windows and walls with colourful and evocative compositions. Provoking guests to interact with the art, installations included a playful paint gun wall, oversized wall puzzle and paint-by-numbers.

Meanwhile, an adjacent dark room was transformed into an eerie maze of installations illuminated by wall projections, while suspended flower installations dripped paint throughout the space. Bars were integrated into the bare bones of the room’s industrial framework, built around the sweeping rows of old wire cages and exposed pipes.

RAW Canvas is a natural progression in RAW’s successful foray into the art scene. Over the last year and half, the boundary-pushing firm unveiled the critically acclaimed public installation Prismatica, as part of Montreal’s Luminotherapie Festival. Soon after, they co-founded Winter Stations, Toronto’s international design competition.

For more information, please visit www.rawdesign.ca.