Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 2017
Project: Claude Cormier et Associés Design team: Claude Cormier ( project director and lead designer), Marc Hallé ( project manager), Yannick Roberge, Guillaume Vanderveken, Guillaume Paradis
Fountain Design: DEW Inc.
Client: City of Toronto — Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division
day and night, over the summer pedestrian axis of Sainte-Catherine Street East, in the Gay Village of Montreal between St-Hubert Street and Cartier Street. An installation that the citizens of Montreal do not want to give up, so much so that the colours have become real places, where people meet for example ‘in the yellow sector’. Placemaking can also be done with artistic vision!
If we talk about placemaking, there are several interventions by Cormier, where — with a smile — he creates places from scratch, such as Ht0 Beach or Sugar Beach in Toronto, with a few colourful and local gestures transforming not only the area of intervention but the perception of the neighbourhood itself, a change that in turn translates into increased real-estate value.
Among the works in existing buildings there is the reference to Berczy Park in Toronto, a place much loved by the inhabitants of the three adjacent neighbourhoods. The redesign of the park is centred on the square with a fountain, to which is added a dog zone, perennial garden and trajectories to increase the perceived size of the park. In itself nothing transcendental except for the multi-level fountain embellished with statues of dogs. The first reaction of the administration was a curt “no”, dogs would not be allowed and had no artistic value. Cormier, however, has managed to get it right: Berczy Park and its “kitsch fountain” with reproductions of dogs on the model of contemporary collectible cards, is one of the most popular squares in the city, with many human and animal users. As is often the case with Cormier’s works, the public liked what was done; the art critics were sceptical.
Among the dogs in the fountain there is also a cat, perhaps the best image to explain the work of Cormier, a joyful voice outside the choir of landscape architecture where the ‘fun factor’ determines the true sustainability of urban interventions.
Find the odd one out...
Christiane Bürklein, critic, blogger and online editor, is the author of various publications on communication, photography, and sustainable architecture, and a consultant for international artists and architects.