ARIDO Award Winner: The Selby – Still Light
Still Light, the custom ceiling sculpture suspended in the lobby of The Selby is intended to remind residents of the storied history of the site and the presence of the historic Gooderham home. One of the client directives was to create an art piece that is visually accessible and engaging to viewers. Following this, we created a timeless, hybrid aesthetic that is at once traditional and modern, literal and abstract, conceived as a means of seamlessly blending old and new.
Interior Designer: Johnson Chou, ARIDO
Design Firm: Johnson Chou Inc.
Photographer: Rajeshta Julatum, Designstor
Still Light is an abstraction or reinterpretation of a distillery still, which pays homage to the history of the site as a distillery and to the Gooderham’s as the original occupants of the historic mansion and co-founders of Gooderham and Worts Distillery, which was once the largest distillery in the world.
Suspended from the ceiling and hovering over the Lobby, Still Light is a material and symbolic reference to the stills once used in the production of spirit: constructed of sheets of copper wrapped around an aluminum structure. The interior of the 'still' is gently illuminated suggesting the fermenting process.
The ceiling sculpture is an abstraction or reinterpretation of a distillery still, the livelihood of the Gooderham family, in what is currently known to many as Toronto's Distillery District. By deconstructing the common still, the result is a new, abstracted form that inspires wonder through its complexity and detail, adding another dimension that exposes the exterior and interior of the still simultaneously.
The warmth of the copper is heightened against the cool white marble of the lobby, while the overlapping layers, reflections, and illumination from within draw the viewer closer and create a dynamic visual and sensory experience.
Steeped in history and lore, the historic mansion located at the foot of a new 50-story residential development was once the residence of the Gooderham family. Built in 1884, the mansion had a number of incarnations, more recently, a period when it functioned as a hotel, where a yet unknown writer named Ernest Hemingway resided in the 1920s during his stint with the local newspaper The Toronto Star.
The historic mansion inspired the design concepts for the interiors of the project, both aesthetically and as a point of reference for details within the mansion and the new residential tower. As designers of the development, we were able to ensure the two were harmonious.
Featuring 20 sheets of mirror polished, laser-cut, solid 22 gauge copper, riveted to a ribbed aluminum frame and LED lights the 25-foot long ceiling sculpture that engages the viewer through its metaphorical form, inspiring a narrative that resonates with the history of the storied family and their legacy within the city.
Still Light is intended to be accessible to all, engaging viewers on intellectual, emotional, and physiological levels of experience. The concierge at the building has relayed that there have been numerous inquiries about the piece, inspiring conversation, connection, and building a sense of community around the history of the building and the Gooderham family.
“We worked very hard to give [the designers] a profound understanding of what Tricon House meant and [they] successfully translated our brand aesthetic in design,” says Chief Marketing Officer at Tricon House, Alexandra Blum. “For The Selby, it was a mixture of the vibrant geographical area, honouring the past and incorporating a very layered interior design, like rich caramel leather sofas in the mansion, cow-hide back chairs, and a stunning copper chandelier in the lobby.”
Project Location: Toronto, ON
Project Completion Date: July 2019
Project Square Footage: 6’ diameter X 25’ long