A NEW DESIGN AESTHETIC
Nowhere is Munge Leung’s vision more clearly on display than in the stunning ground floor lobby that can be entered from the principal pedestrian entrance off Yonge, or from the auto entrance under a cantilevered porte-cochere on Cowbell Lane, on the east side of the building. On an axis with each other, the entrances bookend this dramatic linear space. With its floor to ceiling curtain glass walls on both sides, the Lobby is a visually transparent pavilion with a steeped Zen garden, enclosed in glass, as its focal point. As Munge notes, “The garden is the ‘Wow!’ factor in the design,” and he believes nothing should overly distract from this verdant centerpiece.
What does distinguish the space is the luxuriousness of the materials that compose it, its simplicity, and its elegance: a colonnade of stone columns frame the garden, an Algonquin stone floor, a ceiling in wood, a dramatically long reception desk in stone and wood, and detailing in polished metal, or stainless steel.
Among the lobby’s most intriguing design gestures is a ribbon of glass floor abutting the walls framing the garden that will permit natural light to cascade down into a mezzanine-level spa. “I want everything to be natural, organic, uncluttered, holistic” says Munge.
And to keep the interior spaces clean, classic, timeless, Munge envisions contemporary Italian furniture, or perhaps some classic furniture pieces from the International Style. “Clean lines, nothing fussy, nothing overdone.” And any art chosen for the space will complement this modernist aesthetic. Possibly a colour field painting, in the style of a Jack Bush, or Claude Tousignant distinctive circle paintings.
The Lobby’s aesthetic will be reprised on the Seventh Floor amenity spaces and in the mezzanine level spa. “There will be one design language for the whole building,” says Munge, “but because so much of the Seventh Floor amenity level is outdoor space, we want a seamless experience between the interior and exterior.” The centerpiece of the Seventh Floor is a glass-walled two-storey high Lounge overlooking a large terrace facing Yonge Street. That room will host anything from large parties, to intimate get-togethers, and in the season of alfresco living, residents will move between the indoor and outdoor spaces effortlessly. The wellness theme carries through to the state-of-the-art fitness studio and the serene spa. Next to the Lounge are a smaller Bar/Lounge and then a Private Dining Room, with a show kitchen. Other Seventh Floor amenities include two side-by-side Media/Gaming Lounges with built-in TVs and a mini-bar, a Pilates Studio and a Fitness Room.
The expansive outdoor terrace overlooking Yonge Street has also been divided into a series of rooms separated by planting material. At each end of the terrace is a social space with cabanas, tables and barbeque stations for alfresco dining and in between, two outdoor lounges whose focal point is a linear outdoor fireplace. As in the ground-floor Lobby and the mezzanine-level spa, the Seventh Floor amenity spaces will be natural, organic, holistic, with furniture whose clean lines and sleek styling evoke the era of International Style Modernism.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Constructed on the roof of the access ramp to the underground parking, the garden is framed on two sides by a colonnade of floor-to-ceiling windows. Open to the sky, the garden is “technically” outside, but its intensely intimate relationship with the lobby almost gives the illusion it’s inside. As 2221 YONGE landscape architect Paul Ferris observes, “We’re bringing the outdoors indoor, and it’s a very strong visual element, almost like an art piece.” Complementing the lobby’s Zen garden is a delicate planting bed on Yonge.
Possibly an even more dramatic outdoor space is the roof garden carved out of the sloping roof on the 56th floor of 2221 YONGE. Open to the air above, the garden is sealed to the elements on its north and south sides with vast expansive windows, which allow residents to enjoy forever vistas of the city skyline and the lake. “Without putting a glass skin on the walls of the terrace, you’d have to strap yourself in to enter the space because of the wind,” explains Ferris. Long banquettes will line the garden’s edge, permitting residents to look out over the city in style, or look into the serene passive tranquility of this one-of-a-kind garden-in-the-clouds.
The final green element at 2221 YONGE is the extensive terraces bordering the amenity spaces on the Seventh Floor. To Quadrangle Architects’ Les Klein, the project’s executive architect, 2221 YONGE is like a Doric column (the tower) attached to a base (the podium). And the tower, sitting slightly askew on its base, permits much of the podium roof to become open space. Though the terraces wrap around the tower, the designers have maximized the outdoor space to face Yonge Street. As envisioned now, this space will be artfully divided into a series of “outdoor rooms” separated by planting material. At each end of the terrace will be a social amenity space with cabanas, tables and barbeque stations and in between, two alfresco lounges facing a linear outdoor fireplace. A perfect setting to kick back, relax and enjoy summer in the city. And, weather permitting, fall and spring too.