Posts Tagged ‘design’

Saturday, December 17th 2017
The day six new TTC subway stations opened.

So, of course, off we went on a subway adventure….  An exploration of the TYSSE, or in other words, the Toronto York Spadina Subway Extension.   I have presented the stations in order that I visited them, from north to south – Vaughan, Highway 407, Pioneer Village, York University, Finch West, and Donwsview Park.  It’s not every day that new subway stations come along… and these have been a long time coming!

 

below:  The northernmost station on Line 1 is now Vaughan Metropolitan Centre.

map of line 1 of the TOronto subway system, with red "you are here" arrow at the top left hand side, for Vaughan subway station.

below: ‘Atmospheric Lens’ by Paul Raff Studio is the artwork that is incorporated into the roof of the station.  It features skylights and reflective panels.  The yellow is reflections from a glowing disk mounted on top of the elevator shaft – you can’t actually see the disk, just its reflection.

reflective ceiling of Vaughan subway station, with people going up the escalator towards it, taking pictures.

escalators and shiny walls of Vaughan subway station

below: Vaughan Metropolitan Centre station, from the outside

exterior view of the dome like Vaughan TTC subway station, some snow on the ground, some people standing around outside the doors.

The rest of the ‘metropolitan centre’ needs a bit of work… as does the parking that this orange sign mentions.   I was surprised at how undeveloped that this part of Vaughan is.  This is the view to the east of the station.  On the west there is a development of “big box” stores some of which have just been built.  Smart Vaughan – get the subway and then build around it rather than disrupt an already built city with years of construction and the consequent traffic problems (i.e. building the Eglinton Crosstown link)

suburbia - empty field with orange sign that says Subway parking. one tall building, a gas station, a street,

All six stations are quite deep and all six require two escalator rides to get to street level (or you can climb a lot of stairs!… stairs are not always an option though).  There are plenty of elevators.

people on a very long escalator at one of the new TTC subway stations in Toronto

below:  The walls are concrete beside the subway tracks.  Each station has its name on the wall similar to this at Highway 407 station (just south of the 407 at Jane Street).

concrete wall of the subway, with words highway 407 on the wall, at the new Highway 407 subway station TTC

below: A large coloured glass window dominates the area at the top of the escalators (by the bus station) at Highway 407.   This artwork is by David Pearl and is one of two pieces that he did for this station.

people standing and looking at a large painted window, abstract in yellows, turquoise andpink, large window, at subway station, sunlight outside

below: Highway 407 has a large GO Transit bus terminal as well.  There is still some work to be done on that part!  The worrisome part of all this is that the two stations at the end of the line are transportation hubs designed to help those commuting into Toronto.  Yes, they funnel even more people into an already overcrowded subway.  Note to the city of Vaughan – please use this as an opportunity to increase the reasons why people would commute north!

unfinished part of the subway station, indent in wall with sign tickets billets but the niche is empty except for two large black and orange striped construction cones

below:  One of the entrances to Highway 407 – the center window is the same as the coloured window above (it looks much better from inside!).  On either side are GO Transit bus terminals.  Behind me when I took the photo is a large parking lot for about 600 cars.   Functional but not necessarily pretty – it may look better from other angles but it was a cold day and it seemed like a long walk to get to the other sides).

people walking towards the entrance to HUghway 407 TYSSE station, a low concrete and glass building.

below: The new bus loop at Pioneer Village Station.  There are actually 2 bus terminals here – one for the TTC and one for YRT buses.   This station is on Steeles between Jane and Keele.   Originally this station was going to be called Steeles West – mercifully the TTC actually showed some creativity and came up with a better name.  All the ‘West’ stations drive me crazy.

exterior at new Pioneer Village TTC subway station at Steeles Ave., new bus loops with wood overhangs, still under construction

below: Coming up the escalator in the Pioneer Village station towards the large light in the ceiling.   The dominant features of the station are the large vertical windows and the red and wood cladding.   The red and wood are continued to the exterior as well.

interior of Pioneer Village subway station, top of one of the escalators, vertical windows looking outside, some red glass as accents, a large light artwork on the ceiling, people on the escalators

below:  Close up of part of the exterior.

abstract of the exterior walls of Pioneer Village subway station, red panels with wood roof and grey steel beams

below: Looking up into one of the skylights

abstract geometrics, triabngles and diamonds, reflective surfaces in a cone shaped skylight, in blacks and blues,

below: The main artwork at Pioneer Village station is “LightSpell” by German artists Tim and Jan Edler.   It’s an interactive installation that also helps provide light in the station.  This photo shows some of the 40 elements that make up the installation. By lighting certain sections of each element, letters of the alphabet can be formed, and in turn, words can be written.   Numbers and other special characters can also be lit.  In addition, the intensity of the light can be automatically controlled to maintain a constant light level in the station.   There are also a lot of speakers on black poles in this area but that is a mystery for another day.

art installation, LightSpell by Jan andTim Edler hangs over th escalator at Pioneer Village TTC subway station,

below: Inside York University station which is right on campus.  The stairs and escalators to the trains are in the center.  On both ends of the curved structure are the exits.

large round high window of concourse level of new York University subway station, snow on the ground outside, people inside

looking down the escalator at York University station,

below: At Finch West station there are bright and shiny red hexagonal tiles on many of the interior walls.  (Argh, there’s that ‘west’ again)

shiny red hexagonal shaped tiles line the wall beside an escalator at the new York University subway station on TTC line 1

below: As you go up to street level, you are greeted by a flood of coloured light.

people on an escalator, red hexagonal tiles on the wall beside them, lots of streaks of pink and yellow light above them at the top of the escalator, Finch West subway station TTC, toronto

below: The light comes from tall sunlit windows of different colours.  Stripes of grey and white tile on the floor and ceiling add to the slightly surreal effect.

people passing through Finch West station with its tall vertical windows covered in colours, pink, blue and yellow, also with its stripes of white and dark grey tiles
Expect to see many photos taken at this station in the future!  The light and colour makes for some interesting effects.

coloured glass at Finch West station

coloured glass at Finch West station

man standing in front of coloured glass at Finch West station

… and I have probably gotten carried away.  There’s still one more new station so let’s take a look at it – Downsview Park.

below: Looking up…

looking up over the heads of some people going up the escalator at Downsview Park subway station

below: … and looking waaaay down at Downsview Park station.

looking down two levels of the new Downsview Park subway station, long escalator and flight of stairs

below: Eventually (soon?) GO trains between Union Station and Barrie will connect with the subway here.   The subway actually runs under the GO railway tracks here.  The street level of Downsview Park station is two halves, one on each side of the GO tracks.

 

looking out a set of glass doors that is locked closed with a danger sign on the door.   Future GO transit exit at Donwsview Park TTC subway

below: I am going to end with this.  Part observation and part editorializing –  a sign seemingly in the middle of nowhere.  I look at this and think of old pictures I have seen of the Yonge line when it was first built.  It serviced parts of Toronto like Davisville and Summerhill that were of fairly low density but the city and/or province had the foresight to build that far north anyhow.  If you read the TTC websites about these new stations, there is a lot of talk about planning for future development and making that future development transit friendly.  A great idea.  Now, let’s apply that thinking to Scarborough…. and what do you get?  A lot of naysayers with arguments about density.  Grumble grumble oh how poor we are.   And don’t even get me started on Mike Harris and how he cancelled the Eglinton line in 1995.  Twenty two years later we’re building it at extra cost and with extra traffic disruption.  Sigh.

GO Transit and TTC subway sign in the middle of snow covered field

I went on a whim.   No one has ever called me ‘fashionable’ when it comes to clothing!

I went not knowing what to expect and was very pleasantly surprised at what I encountered.   The majority of the exhibit consists of dresses designed by Christian Dior from 1947 to 1957.

people looking at the Christian Dior exhibit at the ROM, Royal Ontario Museum

Christian Dior was born in a seaside town in northern France in 1905.  He began his career in fashion by selling fashion sketches in the early 1930’s after a failed attempt to run an art gallery.  This led to a job as a design assistant with Paris couturier Robert Piguet.   His career took off after WW2 when he started his own business, House of Dior (Maison Dior), in 1947.

a red knee-length dress in the foreground, a black one in the background, also a black and white striped dress, part of a museum display of Christian Dior clothing

below: This simple but classy two piece dress with black cummerbund is from Dior’s 1948 autumn-winter collection.   It is made with black velvet with iridescent bead work.  The bottom part is a mid-calf length skirt with the same beading.   Actually, the words simple and classy describe most of the dresses here.

two headless mannequins with black dresses, upper parts only are shown, part of a ROyal Ontario museum exhibit dress in foreground has iridescent beads sewn on it

below:  Embroidery with beads and stacked sequins in intricate designs.

close up shot of the back of dress that is heavily ebroidered and beaded in blue and purple floral motifs

below: The fabulous colours of fabric samples – this is only a small part of the display of fabrics with “a silk warp and a dupion weft”.  Warp and weft are weaving terms – warp refers to the threads that run lengthwise down the fabric while weft refers to the crosswise threads.   Dupion is similar to silk but it is thicker and more uneven.

silk fabric samples of many different colour

below: This dress is made from the silk fabric described above.

pale blue grey silk Christian Dior dress in the background, a red and a black dress are in the background, ROM exhibit,

beige suit, jacket and skirt. Jacket has tailored waist and 6 very large mother of pearl buttons,

Christian Dior’s success as a designer and a businessman continued until 1957 when he died while on vacation in Italy.  Yves Saint Laurent spent a few years as the Artistic Director immediately after Dior’s death although he was only 21.  There have been countless designers and many changes since then but the the company still exists as part of LVMH.   I was surprised to learn that the full name of the company is LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE.  I also hadn’t realized that many of the luxury brands that we recognize the names of are actually controlled/owned by 3 companies: LVMH, Kering, and Richemont.  If you have a few minutes, take a cruise through wikipedia.

part of an orange dress with cloth covered orange buttons on both the front and side

below: There was a small display of jewelry, including this necklace by Maison Gripoix.   It is a string of lily of the valley flowers made from green and white handmade glass paste.   Glass paste, or pâte de verre, is made by mixing finely ground glass, binding agents, and colour.  The resulting ‘paste; is molded and then kiln fired.  Apparently the lily of the valley was Christian Dior’s “lucky flower”.

Dior necklace with green glass leaves and white flowers made of beads, gold as well, large and short

The exhibit is presented by Holt Renfrew and you can find it on the 4th floor of the ROM…. until 18 March 2018. In the meantime, you can find more information on the ROM website.

 

#ROMDIOR

Did you know that we share 50% of our DNA with a banana?  Bananas don’t have DNA that codes for eye colour and we probably don’t any genes that produce yellow peels.   What we share is similar basic biochemistry, such things as DNA replication, cell metabolism, and regulation of cell growth, to name a few.  One thing that you can do with banana DNA is easily extract it.  We all know that cells are too small to see and that DNA is even smaller,  BUT if you mash a whole a banana, you can produce enough DNA to make a small clump.   That was one of the activities at Science Rendezvous this past Saturday.

Two young girls are performing an science experiment using beakers and a graduated cylinder. One of them is pouring liquid into the cylinder while the younger one watches.

Science Rendezvous is science outreach festival that occurs across Canada, a day when science hits the streets.  This year it was May 7th.  In Toronto, there were information booths, demonstrations, and activities by students from Ryerson (at Yonge Dundas Square) and students from U of T (St. George Street).

“There’s no place like GenHome” is a project by Ryerson students to break a Guinness World Record by building the longest DNA model.    DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid,  is a double helix.  Although it is a complex molecule, it can be broken down into components called nucleotides.  Nucleotides consist three parts – deoxyribose which is a sugar molecule, phosphate, and an organic base.  At the risk of being too simplistic (because the chemistry of DNA is way beyond the scope of this blog), the sugar and phosphate of the nucleotides form the backbone of the double helices.  The organic bases are in the space between the two backbones and if they are ordered properly, the bases hold the double helix together.

A couple more things you need to know about DNA.  First, there are four bases, adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C), and guanine (G).  And second, bases come in pairs and only certain pairs can exist if the double helix is to form properly.  Adenine has to pair with thymine and cytosine has to pair with guanine, i.e. A with T and C with G and nothing else.

How would you build a DNA model?  The Ryerson University students wanted to get people involved in the project and if you were at Science Rendezvous, you could have become part of their DNA model.

below: Bases need partners and so do you !  Find a partner and take a spin.
Are the two of you A & T or G & C?

A young woman is standing beside a spinner with AT and GC being the possible landing places. She is talking to a couple who have spun and landed on GC

below: Next, have your picture taken with your base letter.

A young woman has her picture taken with a large orange letter A on a blue square.

A few moments later your picture is printed and ready to attach to the DNA model.

below: My partner for the activity adds his G (toe to toe with my C).

People making a DNA model using photos that volunteers have had taken of themselves with one of the letter of DNA. The four letters are A, C, T, and G. They are the nucleosides that make up DNA

I don’t know how long the DNA model is at this point.  I was hoping that there would be some information online but nothing has shown up yet.

Also, If you want to try extracting the DNA from a banana, the instructions are online at numerous sites including Scientific American.  You will need a banana, water, salt, detergent, rubbing alcohol, and a coffee filter.  Have fun!

 

***  a little breather after all that molecular biology ***

below:  At Science Rendezvous they were walking together until she saw my camera and then she tried to get away.  Hmmm…. Mr. Scientist Creature (mutant science rodent?!), maybe she was embarrassed? 🙂

A person dressed in a costume that looks like an animal - squirrel? fox? that is wearing a lab coat. An Asian woman who was walking with him before the photo was taken is shyly turning away, she is also laughing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

King East Design District Life.Style.Fair is a festival celebrating contemporary design.
This year’s event was last Saturday and these are some of the things I saw as I walked King Street East that day:

A section of sidewalk. On it is painted the logo for King East Design District. There are also three lovebot stencil shapes spray painted in white on the sidewalk.

below: Frederick Street painting collaboration, organized by George Brown College School of Design students.

painting a large Mondrian-like painting on the street. A large mat is laid out along Frederick Street and students have marked off squares and rectangles with tape. People are painting the shapes in red, orange, yellow, green and purple.

painting a large Mondrian-like painting on the street. A large mat is laid out along Frederick Street and students have marked off squares and rectangles with tape. People are painting the shapes in red, orange, yellow, green and purple. A young girls is using a small roller to paint purple in this picture

painting a large Mondrian-like painting on the street. A large mat is laid out along Frederick Street and students have marked off squares and rectangles with tape. People are painting the shapes in red, orange, yellow, green and purple. A small boy watches while his mother and a girl paint

painting a large Mondrian-like painting on the street. A large mat is laid out along Frederick Street and students have marked off squares and rectangles with tape. People are painting the shapes in red, orange, yellow, green and purple. Looking down the length of the canvas as it nears completion

below: What do you like about Toronto? This man was writing “Rob Ford” as I took the picture.
In hindsight, maybe I should have written something like “is not the mayor” beside it?
Some of the other things people wrote include, coffee shops, bikes, freedom, trees, TTC and lovebot.

A man with spiky black hair is writing on a board covered with different coloured post it notes.

below: The Beauchamp Art Gallery had strips of dried acrylic paint hanging from the ceiling that you could walk through.

Curtains of long strips of dried acrylic paint in many bright colours hang from the ceiling of an art gallery.

below: Also at the Beauchamp Gallery, artist Mike Hammer was creating a colourful painting consisting of blobs of acrylic paint.  The blobs flattened as additional drops of paint were added on top.  The paint flowed over the edge and created stripes.

an artwork in progress, made of many blobs of acrylic paint. The blobs flatten as other blobs are placed on top of them. The artist Mike Hammer is making this piece (although only his hand is in the picture)

below: Cubeworks studio demo.  Yes, she really does hand twist each Rubiks Cube into the colour pattern needed for the artwork.  This particular picture, of a gnome face, requires 500 cubes.  The algorithms for solving the cube are online so you can teach yourself and become a Rubiks Cube artist!

A woman is getting a rubiks cube ready to add to a picture that she is making using 500 rubiks cubes. The picture, about half done, is on an easel in the window of a store.

below: Painting by Jessica Gorlicky.  The easel spins to make the painting easier.

 

In the immediate foreground, but a little out of focus, is the shoulder and arm of a man taking a picture. The subject of his picture, a woman with long blond hair, is painting a picture of a TTC street car and a Toronto street scene. She is in this picture too.

below: Lovebots to colour

A large lovebot on paper is on a table. Black lines on white paper. It is more than a meter high. There are shapes in the middle and it is designed to be coloured. A hand holding a black sharpie is also in the picture, colouring part of the lovebot

below: Pizza carpets outside and pizza making inside, at the corner of King and Parliament.

A man and a woman are crossing the street. They are close to the sidewalk on the other side of the street. On that sidewalk are a number of carpets that look like wedge shaped pepperoni pizza slices. Each carpet is just over a meter long. They are in front of a shop that sells appliances.

below: The store Relative Space displayed three pieces by Stan Olthuis made from flooring materials that they sell.  This one is called ‘Dance Like No One’s Watching’

Part of the store window for the store Relative Space. The word space is seen in this picture. In the window is a design of a woman's silhouette in light yellowish woods inlaid into grey flooring.

below:  Will Graham and the beginnings of his sidewalk dragon.

A man is creating a dragon drawing in chalk on a sidewalk.

below: And last but not least, we can’t forget   – neon signs by Gary Taxali.  This is one of two that were on display at DOM Interiors.

In sursive writing the words Unforget Me in neon tubing to make a sign that is hanging in a store window.

#kedd2015