Over the last few months we’ve watched as street level details at Charlie were revealed, including the installation of a row of planters on both King and Charlotte Streets, as well as the lovely board-formed white concrete half-wall that marks the residential address of the condominiums. The most recent addition to this building’s pedestrian level space is a sculpture titled ‘Ballast’ by Canadian-born L.A.-based Jed Lind.
Rising up from the courtyard like the skeletal bow of a Great Lakes freighter, the five-metre tall bronze sculpture is prominently displayed in the building’s forecourt and represents a welcoming touch to the building. Charlie Condominiums, a building designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects for developer Great Gulf, is amongst the most handsome new condominiums currently completing the construction phase in Toronto. Its handsomeness is mostly the result of its high-profile location and the intense interest in filling in a gap in both the streetwall of the rapidly regenerating area and in adding retail frontage that will bring new shops to the growing population in the neighbourhood.
Lind, whose art explores the intersections of the natural and the manmade, wanted to create a work that reflected the transformation of the King Street corridor from the industrial and production-heavy hub it once was to the dynamic cultural space it is today. This is perhaps why Lind’s sculpture was chosen by a panel of highly respected art professionals in a competition for the Charlie public space on behalf of Great Gulf.
In this neighbourhood, high-rise buildings like Charlie are setting the stage in making art a valued and integral part of society, altering the neighbourhood and assisting in the making of a new creative class in the process. Alan Vihant, Senior Vice President of High Rise Development for GreatGulf explained it best, “great public art is one of the requirements of a great city. Our mission, with all our developments, is to enable people to live greatly and to enhance every neighbourhood we are in. Mr. Lind’s ‘Ballast’ is an excellent complement to an already vibrant neighbourhood.” So, if you have passed this five-metre sculpture at King and Charlotte and wondered what it was, well, now you know.