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Omar Ghandi designs a “light-filled wood cathedral” for Toronto restaurant

Canadian studio Omar Gandhi Architect has created a vaulted-wood interior inside a non-descript brick building for chef Matty Matheson’s restaurant in Toronto.

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Mark Giordano for Atelier Munro

Mark Giordano on his long-awaited return to Toronto and the hard work to get there…

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Slow → Search results for ‘toronto’

Kotn Flagship Toronto

There was a time in which Egyptian cotton stood for the highest possible quality one could get. In particular Helmut Lang's t-shirts made from that particular fiber, for us at least, being the epitomy of understated luxury. Unfortunately, soon after the term and use became established within the globalizing luxury industry, it started to go down hill with the thriving industry. More and more farmers started mixing Indian and American seeds with their original sources for cotton, which caused both a quality drop and resulted in government involvement in the market that eventually toppled the whole industry drastically: with smaller amounts of true premium Egyptian cotton being exported every year. In spite of these developments, in our minds, cotton from Egypt never lost that connotation of the remarkable. Therefore, when at the beginning of 2016 we encountered a small Toronto-based fashion brand named Kotn —honoring the great heritage of true premium Egyptian cotton and understated basic clothing— that came as a wonderful surprise.

A year earlier, Kotn was founded by friends Mackenzie Yeates, Rami Helali and Benjamin Sehl. Based in Toronto, the company partners directly with cotton farmers and textile factories in Egypt's Nile Delta to produce their high-quality basics, including T-shirts, sweats, boxers and dress shirts. By scrapping the middleman, Kotn ensures a fair wage for their manufacturers and an honest price for the consumer. What started with a quest for the perfect white t-shirt has expanded into a full line of men’s standards – hoodies, henleys, sweatshirts, sweatpants, polos, oxfords, pajamas and underwear. Kotn launched with a direct-to-consumer online model, which has garnered a cult-following for the successful Toronto-based start-up. Last week, the company brought their vision to the next level by opening their first brick-and-mortar shop on Toronto’s Queen Street West. Whenever in Ontario's capital, make sure to drop by and get familiar with their inspirational vision! [ Continue reading ]

The Challenge

The new feature documentary by Yuri Ancarani

When we became familiar with the work of Italian visual artist and director Yuri Ancarani, it touched a special place of interests that brought together both our deeply rooted love for cinema and still aesthetics. His immaculate yet very poetic portraiture of whatever subject matter he chooses to focus on, marries content and form in a seldom seen way. Whether it are the marble quarries of Monte Bettogli, where Ancarani portrayed the conduction of the process, the iconic San Siro stadium in Milano or a robotic surgery department in function: as seen through his lens a new kind of beauty evolves out of the ordinary (or unordinary).

Last Thursday, we were lucky enough to have seen his latest feature length documentary named 'The Challenge' at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. The new project took Ancarani to the deserts of Qatar, where he both portrays the sport of falconry and the excessively rich who engage in it, without taking a stance, silently observing. Three years he explored this form of hunting in the field with his camera, which made it possible to capture the spirit of a tradition that today allows its practitioners to keep a close rapport with the desert, despite their predominantly urban lifestyle. The viewer's guide to how they cross that threshold is a falconer taking his birds to compete in a tournament. In the glaring light of an empty landscape, following flight lines and lures, the film recounts a strange kind of desert weekend, in which technological and anthropological microcosms hang in the air, like the falcon, drifting on the irreversible currents of images.

When in Amsterdam, don't miss this incredible work of art that will be shown at IDFA two more times: tonight and coming Saturday! [ Continue reading ]

Alex Bierk

Recently we discovered the stunning work of Canadian painter Alex Bierk via Tumblr, which keeps resonating in our minds strongly ever since. Born into a Toronto-based family of artists -his brothers Nick and Charles are also painters, his brother Jeff a photographer- all sons of the now deceased realist painter David Bierk have chosen to follow his example into the arts. In the case of Alex (and Charles) even his technique of braking (photo-)realistic paintings down into a grid while painting them was passed on. Before pursuing his own career in the arts, Alex worked as Kim Dorland’s studio assistant, after which he started his personal journey into painting under the mentorship of his father, who proved to be a inspiring formative force in his son's early artistic practice.

David Bierk's death in 2002 marked the beginning of a particularly challenging period, lasting four years, in which substance abuse shook up the whole Bierk family and Alex in particular. After eventually kicking the habit and making the subject matter (mostly on a level that is not immediately apparent, but reveals itself after some inspection or contextualization of the images) of his experiences in addiction part of his work, the career of Alex slowly starts to take shape. He begins all his paintings by re-working and re-framing photographs from his everyday life, in early years particularly focussing on his years addicted, but in recent years stretching beyond just that part of his life. The scenes he depicts, mostly in dark tones of black and lucent shades of white, tell stories about the acceptance and defiance of the passing of time, faith, youth and escape, regret, dissatisfaction, displacement, lack of closure, loss and longing. Without a doubt, just seeing it on a computer screen doesn't do the work justice,  but until the day that we will be able to see his work first hand we will keep looking at these pieces in awe with an utmost fascination. [ Continue reading ]

Toshio Saeki — Selected Works: 1972 – 2016

We are catching on at the very last moment, but the super exciting second Canadian exhibition of work by 'The Godfather of Japanese Eroticism' Toshio Saeki will run for one more day at the Toronto-based Narwhal gallery. Presented in the successor of the 2014 debut exhibition of Saeki's work, which took place in the same location, are original ink drawings from 1972 to the present, including three new original drawings exclusively for this exhibition. As part of the exhibition Saeki has recreated one of his most famous scenes and recolored it to create 'Ureshidaruma', an edition of 100 silkscreen prints available only through Narwhal (and online here). Saeki’s artwork draws from the basement of a collective subconscious, depicting universal taboos through surreal narratives and dark humor. Filtering imagery from his photographic memory and childhood experiences through imagination and dreams, Saeki splits open a universally erotic world where iconic characters subject themselves to grotesque behaviors staged within traditional Japanese environments. [ Continue reading ]

The ROADS of Africa

We continue to immerse ourselves in the wonderful world of the finest fragrances on the market and last month we stumbled upon another incredible brand which proves to be very inspirational for us. The Dublin-based ROADS was founded in 2013 by Royal Academy of Dramatic Art graduated Danielle Ryan, granddaughter of Ryanair founder, Tony Ryan; debuting with a collection consisting of 10 fragrances, each named after its direct inspiration or a fictional background story. After its foundation ROADS also introduced a book-publishing arm and documentary film production house under its brand, which all seems to make sense because of the extremely cohesive visual language and represented emotion in all branches. Last month, ROADS showed its continued leading creative energy with the introduction of 4 incredible new perfumes, this time inspired by the rich source being the African continent, both in scent as the commissioned art that decorates the packaging, adding great new depth to its already remarkable collection. [ Continue reading ]

Marcel van Eeden

The absolutely incredible work of Dutch artist Marcel van Eeden, who's been a favorite of ours for years, is known for a deeply characteristic aesthetic reminiscent of film noir, evoking an ambiguous sense of romance and melancholia. Employing charcoal and colored pencils, as well as watercolor paint, his stylized and tightly cropped cinematic images visualize dramatic scenes which immerse the spectator in mysterious narratives. When framed as a entity, van Eeden's individual drawings out of a series form complete compelling fictions based on historical facts, interweaving several chronologies and narratives. Subjected to unforeseen experiences, the protagonists' - often developed by the artist parallel to his own life, traveling and subsequently taking shape inspired by the same places he visits - lives begin to converge as their stories gradually are revealed by van Eeden's ingenious labyrinth of gripping tales and thrilling twists. We can't get enough of van Eeden's remarkable images. [ Continue reading ]

Il Capo

After yesterday's feature we continue to stay in the fascinating Carrara area, with its marble quarries where men and machines dig the mountains, this time moving to Monte Bettogli. Last year in October, Nowness shared this excerpt of the highly inspirational documentary “Il Capo” (The Chief) by the italian visionary Yuri Ancarani. It continues to be one of the best things we've seen in a long time, portraying a maestro quarry manager at work. The extraordinary craftsmen coordinates or even conducts his quarrymen and heavy-duty machines, using a language consisting solely of gestures and signs. Conducting his dangerous and sublime orchestra against the backdrop of the almost surreal landscapes and peaks of the Apuane Alps, The Chief works in total noise, which create a paradoxical silence. The result is an utmost poetic video, finding extraordinary beauty in an extraordinary craft. [ Continue reading ]

The Bonsai Project

The Bonsai Project was a beautiful collaboration between Dutch documentary photographers Sjoerd Knibbeler and Rob Wetzer. They started the project in 2009 out of fascination for the experience of nature and the cultivation of our natural environment and wrapped it up in 2013. Bonsai, man-made trees cultivated in pots, has been a Chinese tradition for more than two thousand years. Since then, it developed into an art form and has spread over the world. Many enthusiasts all over the world make and keep bonsai. Really understanding bonsai involves closely observing one’s natural environment and using it as inspiration. As photographers Knibbeler and Wetzer were fascinated by the condensed experience of nature these magical trees offer. Bonsai can be seen as the most unnatural nature that exists, cultivated for mere beauty, Knibbeler and Wetzer searched for a deeper understanding of what cultivating nature can offer us: a sense of time, respect, reflection and care for things around us. On a very small scale, this happens within the bonsai culture. But it happens in many different ways, everywhere in the world. [ Continue reading ]

Toshio Saeki

On the 8th of May the Toronto-based gallery Narwhal opened an extensive solo exhition of The Godfather of Japanese Eroticism, Toshio Saeki. His beautiful but at the same time sometimes repulsive artwork draws from the basement of a collective subconscious, depicting universal taboos through surreal narratives and dark humor. Filtering imagery from his photographic memory and childhood experiences through imagination and dreams, Saeki splits open a universally erotic world where iconic characters subject themselves to grotesque behaviors staged within traditional Japanese environments. [ Continue reading ]

Harry Rosen by Gary Taxali

In November Harry Rosen will introduce a playful new collection of five special edition pocket squares designed by Canadian artist Gary Taxali. The 100% silk pocket squares, created exclusively for Canada’s premiere menswear retailer, celebrate the culturally-rich heritage of Canada and the featured cities: Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. Each of Taxali’s unique designs plays off of the character, culture and landmarks of the particular city. The results are a set of colourful, comical, and highly wearable, collector’s item. [ Continue reading ]

Another Winter Playlist

We've put another little mix tape together with our favourites of this winter. A Spotify playlist capturing the mood of the season, a mix somewhere between Amsterdam, Toronto, Bangkok and New York. It starts with the warm classic sounds of Yo-Yo Ma's cello suites of Bach, moving to Nicolas Jaar, Atoms for Peace, Halls, Unkle, Calico Horse (a.o.) to end with the serene sounds of Ricardo Donoso, Reflection & Rotation. See the full track list after the click, and enjoy it on Spotify > [ Continue reading ]

Balancing Blocks

I saw them before and bought my pack back in Toronto when I visited Holt Renfrew’s 175th birthday, and I’m happy to see Areaware is now giving it a bigger audience. I’m talking about the balancing blocks by Gregory Buntain and Ian Collings’ Fort Standard. ‘Their… [ Continue reading ]

On Why I Travel

For CitizenMag of the Citizen M Hotel I wrote a little piece 'On Why I Travel'. Here's a little excerpt: "Spruce magazine once had the legendary payoff. "Turn heads. Set the tone. Be informed. Have it first." It inspired me in my work, in my private life -- basically in everything I do. It also helped me in my way of travelling, exploring new cities and places. When people ask me how I plan my travels, how I find those nice products, those sweet places to dine and those perfect spots to shop, the secret lies in this quote. It is the hunger, the craving need and the faith to find those unique and special places. But more important it feeds the fear of missing anything. And last but not least, it fixes the problem of feeling ‘naked’ when visiting unknown places. [ Continue reading ]

175 years Holt Renfrew

At this moment I'm on my way to Toronto to celebrate the 175th birthday of Holt Renfrew. A few month back they asked me to create a special design for their Hot@175 Mobile Tour, a cross-country, travelling pop-up shop that will sell exclusively designed, limited edition sweatshirts in celebration of 175 years of style. Six designers from all over the world were asked to join and I was honored to be one of them.

The piece I made was inspired on an old Hold Renfrew brochure cover from 1940. We see a beautiful lady in a fur coat, and just between the word 'Furs' and 'Fourrures' is this sweet little icon of a small animal. It was very subtile, and probably no one really mentioned it since it was very illustrative and the full attentions was drawn by the beautiful lady, but it was there. That little animal was the inspiration mixed with the roman numerals 175 and two little minks hidden in the illustration. [ Continue reading ]


Next week the Toronto based gallery Narwhal Art Projects will open an exhibition with new works by Carly Waito. Just graduated from Ontario College of Art and Design, Carly creates hyper realistic oil paintings of semi-precious gems and minerals. Beautiful layered, almost fragile and colorful paintings exposing… [ Continue reading ]