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Hands On: Rain, Gravity, Heat, Cold by Blok, Canada

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Rain, Gravity, Heat, Cold, a book designed by Blok celebrating the first ten years of Canadian architecture studio Superkül

Superkül is a Canadian architecture studio with a diverse portfolio of understated boldness, subtlety and spacial richness, rooted in a process that intends to find the essence of each project and remain true to this throughout design and development. To celebrate the studio’s first ten years Superkül worked with Blok to create Rain, Gravity, Heat, Cold, a book that would serve as a collection of work and as a tool to articulate the firm’s unique philosophy and design approach. This was an exercise in discovery and positioning which then was expressed materially through paper transition, finishes and printing techniques.

In the first of an on-going series, BP&O takes a hands on look at Rain, Gravity, Heat, Cold. This follows, and intends to augment, the initial impressions given by Blok’s press release and promotional images, as reviewed in BP&O’s first article which can be read here.

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The Broadview Hotel by Blok, Canada

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Visual identity designed by Blok for Toronto's The Broadview Hotel

The Broadview Hotel is located within one of Toronto’s most recognisable architectural landmarks. This was built in 1891 by a wealthy businessman who recognised the strategic importance of the East End as the city was expanding. It has been home to a business centre, acted as a political and social hub, and used as a hotel, boarding room and more recently, a strip club.

The building, over the last two years, has undergone extensive restoration and renovation, and now features a distinctive glass structure and new floor on the roof. This was done with great consideration for the original architectural details. Interior design, created by DesignAgency is inspired by the local community and is infused with a contemporary yet old-world grace. The hotel is made up of public spaces and 58 private bedrooms. These are peppered with what is described as a witty eclecticism that pays homage to the building’s past, with certain rooms featuring the original brass poles from the strip club. These homages are set alongside modern finishes and amenities.

Canadian graphic design studio Blok worked with the hotel to develop a visual identity that would embrace and express the building’s contemporary new voice, possess a similar wit and attitude, and finally acknowledge and celebrate the hotel’s East End roots. This is achieved in the contrast and collision of image and type, emphasised by a simple colour palette, and in the variety of secondary typefaces. This run across and links a plethora of printed assets. These included business cards, menus and coasters as documents here, but also wayfinding and signage.

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Superkül: Rain, Gravity, Heat, Cold by Blok, Canada

Opinion by Richard Baird.

Architecture Book – Rain, Gravity, Heat, Cold, a book designed by Blok celebrating the first ten years of Canadian architecture studio Superkül

Superkül is an Canadian architectural studio with a portfolio described as having an understated boldness, subtlety and spacial richness, and a process that intends to find the essence of each project and remain true to this throughout design and development. Superkül has won many awards and is considered one of Canada’s most progressive architecture firms.

To celebrate the studio’s first ten years Superkül worked with Toronto-based Blok on a book that would serve as both a collection of work but also as a tool to articulate the firm’s unique philosophy and design approach. This beame an exercise in discovery and a clarity of positioning which was then conveyed materially through subtle paper transitions, finishes and printing techniques.

This is a companion piece to BP&O’s review of Superkül’s visual identity, published earlier this year. With a desire to broaden the content on the site to include the design of books, and with the site’s favour for material thinking and the architectural, Rain, Gravity, Heat, Cold felt like an appropriate addition. This is an initial impression, based on the press release and images provided by Blok, if you would like to read BP&O’s hands on review, click here.

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