In 2012 we collaborated with the Lululemon Design team led by Emily Robin and Quadrangle Architects to add some unique elements to their new store at Yorkdale Mall in Toronto. From our initial concept we designed and built the storefront facade along with a unique art installation, a chandelier made with beaver chewed sticks and a water feature within the store.
The front facade and entrance is a mosaic crafted from 35,788 wooden blocks made from a variety of woods salvaged from the collected history of the Brothers Dressler workshop. Inspired by our photograph of a fallen leaf, the palette is comprised of all the natural colours of these woods pixelated into the image. This mosaic embodies the history of these woods from tree to beam to stave to lumber and everything in between. An historic mixture that spans years and even centuries. The trimmed ends of solid wood tables, staves of a 16 foot diameter barrel, portions of an old Toronto school, shipping pallets, submerged beams and off cuts from countless other furniture pieces come together in their true colours to begin another chapter of their story.
The woods were collected from the stock at the Brothers Dressler Workshop. They include off-cuts from pieces, leftovers from jobs and extra pieces collected over the years and are shown all in their natural colours.
Over 100 years ago these trees were cut down in British Columbia and brought to Toronto to be used as beams and posts in much of the construction. These pieces were salvaged from an old manufacturing plant, a metal foundry and an old school all within a few kilometres of our shop in the Junction Triangle. Leftovers from various jobs including a few Toronto restaurants, art galleries and the offices of Evergreen at the Brickworks.
These trees doted much of Ontario before they were all taken away, most of their trunks sent to England to be used as ships masts. These pieces were salvaged from an old manufacturing plant a few km from our shop.
These pieces were reclaimed from an abandoned storage locker.
Sourced all in Southern Ontario quite often from storm fallen trees, all of these pieces were taken from the scrap bins and leftovers of our shop.
All from Ontario these are leftovers from locally made toy blocks and other various off-cuts from our studio, some of the maple also came from the off cuts of solid maple bowling alley that became dining tables and shelving.
Few Elm trees remain in Ontario due to Dutch Elm disease, this tree succumbed in 2010 in Dufferin Grove Park just 2 km from our shop and we had it milled and dried at our studio, there are also pieces from a tree cut down at Upper Canada College in Toronto. Some more elm comes from barn beams that were built into many barns in the 30’s in Ontario when Dutch elm disease devastated much of the elm population.
Toronto and Southern Ontario are part of an invasion of the Emerald Ash Borer beetle, which will decimate the Ash tree population over the next 5 plus years. Read more about our Ash Out of Quarantine project.
A very hard wood, these pieces came from a furniture manufacturer in Toronto who had to go out of business as a direct result of overseas competition and not being able to compete against low wages.
Pieces of old growth white oak that were reclaimed from the bottom of Georgian Bay where they sat for the last hundred plus years, remnants of the first harvest of Canadian trees that sunk to the bottom of the lakes as they were mostly on their way to England. Also some white oak reclaimed from a barn in Kentucky, some veneer backing boards, and leftovers from a defunct Toronto furniture manufacturer.
Reclaimed from church pews and leftovers from a defunct Toronto furniture manufacturer.
Many cut-offs from some of the other woodworkers in our co-op as well as some amazingly coloured wood salvaged from a 16 foot diameter tanning barrel from a tannery in Southern Ontario.
Uniquely greyish-green in colour this wood was recovered from underwater piers holding up the former Queens Wharf terminal in Toronto as well as supports for a wood mill that sat in the middle of the Muskoka river over 100 years ago.
These trees grow on the shores of Lake Erie and Southern Ontario, typically they were used as fence posts because of their resilience in the outdoors but are an incredible bright yellow colour.
Leftovers from building Sunset Cabin and a few other structures we built in the past.
This bright orange wood traveled from the coastal forests of British Columbia.
Behind the cash desk hangs our exploration of the relationship between natural growth, our bodies and the calm nature of trees. Re-created out of misplaced limbs and sections of found trees, an uprooted tree is divided into the 7 chakras of the body and breathes calmly with embedded LEDs glowing through cast glass sections of bark. The idea of this piece was to evoke a peaceful experience as one looks up to the re-assembled tree. The corresponding sections of the chakras to each section of tree are as follows:
1-2. ROOT + SACRAL
These two sections were joined within a Siberian Elm root that was salvaged from the shores of a river that drains into Lake Erie, a direct result of poor farming practices and excess run-off within the rivers.
This mid-section was made with an elm tree that died due to Dutch elm disease in 2010 near Dufferin Grove in Toronto only a few kilometres from the shop. Its unique pattern where the bark was a result of the beetles that spread the disease. This pattern was used as the texture on the cast glass blocks within the piece.
A cleaned up section of a cherry tree that had to come down in a neighbours yard 1km from our studio.
The throat is also made of the same cherry tree but left rough with the bark on.
6-7. BROW + CROWN
Both of these branching sections came from an elm tree that had to come down on Manitoulin Island due to Dutch elms disease earlier this year.
To replenish those precious fluids we created a water station out of veneer mill ends of a walnut tree with Arne Jacobson’s timeless faucet design pouring from a crevice into a white corian sink.
At the far end of the store hangs a new light fixture resplendent with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS crystals and melding the steam bent workmanship of our workshop with the incredible tenacity of the beaver who cleaned up the found sticks to eat the bark but could not build his dam as we intercepted them floating in Lake Manitouwabing.