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2007 06 06
Keep Reaching for the Stars

Matt Blackett may have taken a little flack recently for a map he created for the TTC (needlessly, in my opinion. Print maps and print collateral in general cannot be held to the same visibility guidelines as signage). Yet, at least he could say his design didn't cause public harm. Unlike the new and quickly hated logo unveiled for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, which apparently, when animated triggers epileptic seizures. Wow. I mean really. A design so ugly, it becomes a health concern.

The logo in question, is obviously part of a larger brand, and typically I would defend a design knowing full well the kinds of pressures designs for public use are under (political, bureaucratic, and so on), yet, this particular logo is pretty poor (the colour choices alone won't stand up for another year never mind until 2012). It's obvious the organizers thought there would be some resistance to the look of this tangram -paper cutout-figure-date thing given their efforts to explain it.

I suppose, my real point in discussing this is simply schadenfreude...creating a brand for a public event can be very difficult. Some have done it really well (games in Lillehammer, Barcelona and Calgary all come to mind) and some have done it very poorly (ohhh Atlanta, who can wipe your mascot from their mind's eye?) And so, as the ROM Crystal opens to a cooler than expected reaction, I think it's not so bad, if Toronto still has its share of growing pains. If a design capital like London can't get a logo right, then maybe we're expecting too much of Toronto to suddenly expect several gem-like buildings to help us shed our gray reputation. With Luminato upon us, the last of Toronto's architecture glories in construction (the AGO, the Royal Conservatory of Music) what will we be left with when the dust settles? A logo that causes epileptic seizures? Thankfully, no. A quick ride downtown on Sunday brought me past some recent highlights, the OCAD Sharp Centre, the ROM, the AGO, the Four Seasons Centre - all loved and criticized in equal measure, but all worth doing. It's at least worth trying. Still, I can't help but think we should keep reaching for the stars - that's right, couldn't Toronto use a new Planetarium? OKay, I know this isn't like shoe shopping, but I missed the original Planetarium (shut down by Conservative budget cuts) and there's probably no hope of it ever re-opening (or maybe we do need another new condo tower more than a planetarium anyway). Here's my hope. A new planetarium, in the downtown, designed by a local, hardly-heard-of firm. Perhaps it's asking for too much, but now that Torontonians are getting a taste of "big name" architecture, maybe they'll want a bite of something a little more home grown.
[email this story] Posted by P. Rogers on 06/06 at 05:56 AM

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