Flipping Properties

Toronto laneway transformed into makeshift art gallery

Residents of Little Portugal who venture down the alley behind Sheridan and Gordon will stumble upon a new design exhibit this summer thanks to Rear View (Projects). Flipping Properties, architect Jimenez Lai (Bureau Spectacular)'s guerrilla-ish art installation of several large-scale, sit-able design works (too large to be furniture, but too small to be houses), opened Friday and will stay up in the dead-end laneway until September 14 (or such is the plan).

At the opening Lai and the CBC/WNYC's Britt Wray gave a muddled run down of the project as a couple of guys buzzed away on a project of their own by a garage nearby (who were asked, as the area became populated with art fans and architecture grads, to cut the noise). The presenters confessed the laneway was employed when the project didn't find gallery space* - yet it was surprising that neither touched on community related issues or ideas for re-use of Toronto's often dead laneways, as David Suzuki's Homegrown Design Challenge winner Tawab Hlimi did with project Carolinian Way.

Still, Flipping Properties hopes locals will "gather and imagine an architecture that can reorient infinitely" (infinitely!), and social commentary or not the install makes for a fun find and an intriguing under-the-radar hang out spot. Bring your next date or walk your dog by to puzzle over space, architect style.

*This is incorrect - I'll blame the noise of the alley with my sincere apologies. "We never sought a gallery. The laneway site was the inspiration for the project and was always our intended location." -Jennifer Davis, Rear View.

Flipping Properties is on until September 14 in the laneway at Sheridan Avenue & Gordon Street (see their map here). The exhibit is free.

Photo: Denise McMullin


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