Public Display of Affection’s Parimal Gosai (left), Katherine Ngui and René Ng.
PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION publicdisplaysofaffection.ca
"Design has the ability to do more than make things look pretty," says René Ng as we tour the main floor of 40 Oak Street in revitalized Regent Park with his Public Displays of Affection colleagues Parimal Gosai and Katherine Ngui.
The building is the new headquarters for Toronto's Christian Resource Centre and houses 87 affordable housing units and a 10,000-square-foot community hub, including a multi-faith worship space. PDA is putting its stamp on the structure by having local designers outfit the space with over 100 pieces of sustainable, custom-designed furniture.
This isn't the first time the team has brought design out of its sometimes exclusive bubble. Public Displays of Affection's first major project in 2009 was Edmond Place, an affordable housing development in Parkdale. That initiative opened PDA's eyes to how enthusiastically the design community might support similar ones.
"It's surprising how many people come forward when we put out the call," says Ngui.
If you attend tomorrow evening's opening reception for 40 Oaks (Friday, January 27 from 6 to 10 pm), you'll pass through an entranceway outfitted with a Brothers Dressler fixture and a donor wall by Rob Southcott. Connie Chisholm engaged her Sheridan College furniture design class to create 20 custom cabinets, while George Brown students developed a mural for a community meeting room that's also home to a Fugitive Glue pendant light and a table by Studio Junction.