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OCADU students unveil new bike stands on Queen St.

Posted by Jennifer Tse / November 18, 2010

OCADU Bike Stand Queen StreetSpeech bubbles and halos have popped up along Queen St. West -- they're the city's newest bike stands, devised by students at OCAD University with the goal of merging conceptual urban sculpture with functional infrastructure.

The fourteen new stands can be found along Queen St. West from Simcoe to Bathurst Street. The designs were originally submitted to the Gateway Bike Stand Challenge held at OCADU in 2009, meant for a property redevelopment at Queen and McCaul Streets. In the end, speech bubble designers Evi Hui and Olivier Mayrand and halo designer Michael Pham had their concepts chosen to develop into reality, in partnership with the Queen St. West Business Improvement Area (BIA).

OCAD bike Stand Queen Street"As a jury member in the original competition, I was so impressed with the designs, I felt it was imperative we find a way to incorporate some of them into the Queen St. West streetscape," said Marc Glassman, Chair of the Queen St. West BIA. "I am proud that we were able to collaborate with the City of Toronto, an innovative fabrication company and these talented students to execute their design concepts."

Evi Hui and Olivier Mayrand are two fourth-year Industrial Design students, while Michael Pham is a fourth-year Environmental Design student. Each of their concepts is simple, but they make a statement. Hui and Mayrand's speech bubbles feature a question mark, quotation marks, and an exclamation point, while Pham's halo is an elegant circular design embedded into the sidewalk.

OCAD Queen Street Bike StandsHui and Mayrand designed the speech bubbles. "The inspiration came from Queen Street itself, and the street is a place of culture and expression," said Hui. "We also drew inspiration from pop culture signs and symbols."

"Designing them wasn't the challenge so much as getting them into the real world," Mayrand said. "We spent a good two weeks designing, but actually bringing them out onto the street took another year. We needed to secure all the locations along the street, get permits from the city, address concerns like whether they would scratch people's bikes, and check to make sure the manufacturing could be done."

OCAD Queen Street Bike Stands Michael PhamAccording to Pham, his halo design came to him unexpectedly. "I like to play with form. I threw a ring on the floor and watched the way it spun," he said. "I wanted to do something different."

Like Hui and Mayrand, Pham found the biggest challenge to be the in the physical development of the stands. "When you work with the city and you set a date for a project, you never know what will happen," he said. "The project was prolonged, and there was one point where they said they couldn't even build the stands. That was frustrating. It was complicated, but we eventually got it done."

Representatives from the City of Toronto and the Queen St. West BIA worked with the students to make sure their original designs would remain unchanged. The bike stands, according to Hui, have been in use on Queen Street since late October.

More photos below.

OCAD bike stand Queen Street

OCAD bike stand Queen Street

OCAD bike stand Queen Street

OCAD bike stand Queen Street

OCAD bike Stand Queen StreetThird and fourth photos by Jen Tse. All other images by Denis Marciniak.



Justin / November 18, 2010 at 04:45 pm
It'll be interesting to see how street artists use the speech and thought bubbles.
G / November 18, 2010 at 04:49 pm

Exactly the type of stuff this city needs.

Next, the garbage cans!!
better4toronto / November 18, 2010 at 04:55 pm
what a waste of money.

mr. ford stop this spending!
Cassssssss / November 18, 2010 at 04:56 pm
These are really ingenious by the students. Too bad they had to go through the typical red tape bureaucratic nonsense so typical of city hall.
tracy / November 18, 2010 at 05:06 pm
can someone please invent something for downtown Toronto that holds more than 2 bikes!
Paul / November 18, 2010 at 05:15 pm
I have very mixed feelings about this. First, kudos on the public art portion of this project, but when it comes to function, I've had the displeasure of trying to lock my bike to one of the more creative bike posts already in the city. It can be a real challenge sometimes to get the right angle that gets your frame, wheel and post. Now every time I lock to different one of these it's going to be a new five minute challenge to lock up.
Rob Ford replying to a comment from better4toronto / November 18, 2010 at 05:18 pm

Its gravy like this that is tearing the city apart!!

These should be replaced with extra lanes for cars.
The Switch / November 18, 2010 at 05:38 pm
I think it's quite a novel idea! Give the streetscape a nice, unique feel.
serious / November 18, 2010 at 06:05 pm
looks like the war on cars is still going. thank goodness for rob ford. also cars are holding their own -

when will people learn that downtown is for driving not living. all bikes and pedestrians should be banned. all new stores should be required to have drive up windows. we should cancel transit funding and hire more police to enforce the bike and pedestrian ban.
Northernsoul / November 18, 2010 at 06:54 pm
I like them! Original-quirky and intelligent. Making a necessity a little less drab!
Mike W / November 18, 2010 at 07:08 pm
It's sad to see a article on innovations in Toronto gets peppered by ugly political brain farts.
You think Ford would revoke the Constitution if he could, and are too lazy to talk to your Councillor about it, we get it.

These stands are the kind of things that makes cities world class. More of this, less political foaming at the mouth.
irina / November 18, 2010 at 07:16 pm
Awesome!! So crazy how much this city changes right before your eyes. This is exciting.
shannon / November 18, 2010 at 07:56 pm
I love see things like this, helps gives the area character. But they should keep in mind if it is easy for people to lock their bikes to them.

sjb replying to a comment from better4toronto / November 18, 2010 at 08:02 pm
better4toronto.... U suck! go move to some banal city with nothing going on!
sjb replying to a comment from serious / November 18, 2010 at 08:05 pm
Serious needs to be checked into CAMH! Ford and this commentator have so much in common... blaming pedestrians not cars for their death.... highways are for cars.... not DTs where millions live! Get bent and move the the burbs!
Sir Crapsalot / November 18, 2010 at 08:41 pm
Bikes, art, culture and anything else that will brighten your day needs to corralled up into downsview park in a 5 meter by 5 meter spot, and set it on fire!

All hail Rob Ford!!!

Ya bunch of commies!
Randy / November 18, 2010 at 08:50 pm
I love the idea of functional art, but I dread the thought of some vandalizing idiots spray-painting, breaking, and wrecking these things.

A big part of the problem with Toronto is so many emotionally immature morons who spray graffiti, smash things, throw trash in flower beds, pull up city trees, etc. If people grew up a bit more and respected this city instead of treating it as their personal garbage can, maybe we could actually have some art and beauty that lasts.
bob / November 18, 2010 at 10:02 pm
While the stands are great, the installation into the sidewalk isn't...
Bonk / November 18, 2010 at 10:25 pm
Clearly the text bubble should read "stolen"
ML / November 18, 2010 at 11:42 pm
People who couldnt afford cars go against drivers while people who have cars go against pedestrians and cyclist, this battle will never end. The real ban should be the street car congestions, whats up with that? more pollution while 100 other cars behind them are idling for it to move on.
V / November 19, 2010 at 10:11 am
My question is- are these new bike posts tough enough to guard from bike thieves?
Mike W replying to a comment from sjb / November 19, 2010 at 10:49 am
If you think Serious is a Ford supporter you're more gullible than I thought possible.
searchengineman / November 19, 2010 at 11:33 am
My only concern is small children, If some kid sticks his head inside, this looks like a potential choking hazzard, or a broken arm. And before you all go ballistic..If you know kids they do this kind of stuff all the time, sticking stuff where it doesn't belong.. small area's should be blocked with Perspex or something..
Stewart Reid / November 19, 2010 at 12:09 pm
GO Mike Pham!!!!
Polin / November 19, 2010 at 01:21 pm
downtown isnt just for driving..... thats the suburbs

great that they are designed to look interesting but should be easy to use too...

Thats what your trained to do at OCAD isnt it?

efficiency, the ability to fit more than 2 bikes would also be awesome, wont it?
spacedog / November 19, 2010 at 01:38 pm
LOVE IT. just the kind of thing the city needs. a little sidewalk smile.

p.s. the sarcastic political commentary from the colbert/stewart wannabes is getting tedious. let it go and move on.
Red Iculous replying to a comment from searchengineman / November 19, 2010 at 02:01 pm
I think that the bike racks should be equipped with soft helmets, mouth guards and legal retainers for infants and children in the proximity in of the equipment on Queen St. West area.

We should also prescribe percoset and Zoloft for the parents who would be traumatized by the advent of injury of their precious snowflake as a result of playing on the street equipment mere inches from the curb line.
Jim Reed / November 19, 2010 at 02:15 pm
Love these bike stands !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
dark wing duck replying to a comment from better4toronto / November 19, 2010 at 02:25 pm
How is this a waste of money when bike stands have to be designed manufacture and installed anyway, cutting the cost of designing the stands through competition saves money. As well these stands are made from one piece not the current two piece with out counting the mechanical fasteners, and the repair work that goes into adding a second ring when thieves break them. If anything these stand save the city money in the long run, watch what you write and think before you speak.
Mike W replying to a comment from dark wing duck / November 19, 2010 at 04:02 pm
It'd be an interesting idea to support local artists and design students to run bus shelters, trash cans, etc through initiatives like this.
bullring / November 19, 2010 at 09:08 pm
Talk about gravy.
stuart reid / November 22, 2010 at 02:01 pm
great work!
TOcyclist / November 26, 2010 at 03:55 pm
Do we need these yes. The designs are cool. Did the designers actually try to use them? A good project that went astray. Yes we need stands so sure lets make them appealing. At the end of the day. THEY HAVE TO BE FUCTIONAL OR YOU HAVE WASTED EVERYONES TIME. The worst is that now they become unuasable and cyclist are still running around locking bikes up to hydro meters while your pretty new stand is pleasantly view by its designers.
Gregory Alan Elliott / February 3, 2011 at 10:27 am
If Mayor Rob Ford or his office staff IS reading this thread, take note please (you too OCADU design students):

Of all of these bike rack designs, the Halo by Mr. Pham is the least visually intrusive - Attention design students, there's enough visual pollution on any streetscape, DON'T ADD TO IT with permanent 'art'. Designers should stick to design and leave the art to the artists.

Also, Mr. Pham's design is the most cost-effective. Cost is a very inportant thing to consider, now and into the future, considering that Toronto taxpayers as SICK of the previous Mayor David Miller and all of his incredibly stupid and irresponsible spending.

Lastly, Mr. Pham's design also allows unlimited interaction with any bike frame by suimply shifting the bicycle backwards or forwards a bit.

Good job, Mr. Pham.


Gregory Alan Elliott
Other Cities: Montreal