I was up around the Yonge Eglinton (in Toronto) area recently and popped into the mall. The area is the site of major construction, has been for a while now. The design trolls have been working their peculiar talents on the inside of the Centre for a few years, giving it a facelift. The inside scaffolding came down a few months ago and I keep returning, hoping they haven’t finished with the décor.
… I seem to be wrong.
If the feel the designers were going for is clinical, then BRAVO! Well done. It’s the perfect space for robot servants to do their owner’s shopping. Brutal modernity with a few jumbo screens tossed on the walls. All glass and cold and shiny and sterile. As for the human element, well, let’s just say it’s lacking. Devoid of colours, no warmth and no reason to stop and window shop. The building feels like it’s trying to rush patrons out the door. Whenever I’m in the building, I expect to hear HAL say “your presence can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye” and boot me out the door.
Admittedly, it’s kind of neat from the 2nd floor. You get this odd sense you are in an Escher drawing gone very, very wrong. Way too much attention was paid to the big ass screens on the wall and pillars and zero attention to making the space approachable or comfortable. The inner court is a highway that pushes shoppers rapidly out of the area. It’s a fun spot to watch human behaviour. People start to stroll across the floor, get nervous and look around and then pick up speed. There is NO lingering in the centre court. It’s like a superhighway pushing people out – “Beep beep … coming through .. No stopping.. Move along”. It’s a very uncomfortable space to be in for any length of time.
I’ll keep popping back, looking for some sign of humanity in the design. I’m a cockeyed optimist that way. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll put a bench or two in. Oh or maybe traffic lights! That would be a plus.
I’ll keep you posted.