Project: Under Gardiner

Project: Under Gardiner

This project is the reimagining of a 1.75 km stretch of city land under Toronto's Gardiner expressway. Designholmen, together with cultural consultants Kristina Ljubanovic, Christina Bagatavicius and Sabrina Richard at Bespoke, was hired to lead the visual design and communications for this fantastic urban planning project that will see a divisive barrier turned into something that brings communities together. Vital partners in this project include: urban architects Marc Ryan and Adam Nicklin and the team at Public Work; urban designer Ken Greenberg; philanthropic partners Judy and Wil Matthews; Waterfront Toronto; Naomi Kriss at PR firm Kriss Communication; web designers Tim Robertson and Sonia Chai at Good Digital Culture; director Ngardy Conteh George, and photographer Harry Choi. The role of Designholmen was to spearhead the look and feel of the project brand and creatively lead on all visual components.

The project brand draws on two key building blocks: the literal structure of the physical space and the open ended opportunity at play.  The bold, and slightly unrefined letterforms along with the column pattern represent the physical structure, while the highlighter yellow speaks to the opportunity and the notion of a field where the story can begin to take shape. It's a call to the public to dream up what's possible. 

The columns below the Gardiner will be re-envisioned as  55 "civic rooms". These columns, also known as "bents", form the visual language for the brand icon and pattern. They give the project a rich, yet simple and flexible toolkit to draw from as this exciting project grows and evolves in the months and years ahead.

Project launch video

Meet the Bents.

Bent pattern

Our yellow Bent, painted to celebrate the announcement of the project. Photo: Harry Choi