What’s with the stone chesterfield on Avenue Road north of Bloor?
Dear Urban Decoder: What’s with the stone chesterfield visible through the arched entrance to that ritzy new condo on Avenue Road north of Bloor?—Britney Taylor, Yorkville
Kick back and relax. Here’s the story. When developers want to build something that contravenes zoning requirements, the city will often agree to waive these requirements if the developer will devote over one per cent of the project’s cost to a public amenity. Past amenities have included daycare centres, parks and (you guessed it) public art installations. So that couch is baksheesh forked over by the developers of the condo in question—it’s called the Prince Arthur—to allow them to exceed zoned height restrictions. The couch, by the way, is only the pièce de résistance of this installation by Susan Schelle and Mark Gomes (the duo behind the dominoes at Bloor and Spadina). If you snoop around the site, you’ll find ottomans, leaf-patterned tree grates and gates decorated with the shapes of household objects—keys, cameras and sunglasses. Would-be pranksters from nearby fraternities take note: borrowing the couch for the brothers’ rec room is not advisable; it’s pure granite and weighs in at six tons.