Love inspires art at new XO2 Condos in Liberty Village

Love inspires art at new XO2 Condos in Liberty Village

Matthew Del Degan believes you’ve got to put a little love in your art.

That’s why, in 2011, the artist created Lovebot, a geometric robot with a big, red heart as a symbol of the Love Invasion, a Toronto-based grassroots movement to share love and kindness. It started with 100, two-foot concrete Lovebot sculptures placed across the city and dedicated to people or groups that performed acts of kindness. Lovebot has become a Toronto icon and gone global on stickers, posters, toys and apparel.

When XO2 Condos by Lifetime Developments — the sister building to XO Condos and one of the first highrise launches this year — is completed in Liberty Village, Lovebots will take up residence among the human inhabitants. As well as a completed five-foot black matte Lovebot that Lifetime has purchased, Del Degan will be creating indoor and outdoor sculptures and murals for XO2. He’s done multi-faceted projects before, but this will be his largest.

“Every Lifetime development has an artist collaborator,” explains Lifetime Developments’ principal Brian Brown. “We believe in supporting great talent in Toronto to tell a story, capture the essence of the neighbourhood, and to add an extra creative layer to our buildings.

“We are very excited to work with Matthew. When we reached out to him, he became part of the family and it’s been really a good collaboration,” added Brown. For the first XO building, Lifetime partnered with street artist Daniel Bombardier — also known as Denial.

Del Degan got the idea for Lovebot while studying industrial and product design at OCAD University. He noticed how passengers on the subway ignored each other and acted like robots with their devices, so he was inspired to create a robot — but one with a heart.

Lovebot’s design and message are aimed at the young professionals and families who want to make Liberty Village their home. When the first tower, XO Condos, was launched in 2019, it sold out almost immediately and XO2 is expected to generate the same response. Brown says there will be retail space on the ground floor to bring additional amenities to the area.

“It’s a very young, up-and-coming neighbourhood going through a transition,” says Brown. “There’s a lot happening in the Liberty Village-King West area and it’s rare to have a development on two streetcar car lines, plus the proposed SmartTrack line and Ontario Line. It’s a major connected neighbourhood and one reason Liberty Village is growing so quickly.”

The SmartTrack plan is to expand GO Transit service within Toronto. The Ontario line is the new 15.6-km line, including subway service, planned for inside the city. Both will have stops in Liberty Village. The XO2 location boasts a perfect Transit Score of 100 and a Walk Score of 96, and has direct access to the King-Liberty Pedestrian Cycle Bridge. It’s also within a walk to restaurants, shops, pubs and cafes.

XO2 will be a 19-storey building with 410 suites, designed by Turner Fleischer Architects with interiors by Tomas Pearce. Brown says it has been designed with two key elements in mind: to accommodate the next generation of home buyers looking for a highly accessible area and to address residents’ desires to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Amenities in the building include a 3,500-sq.-ft., state-of-the-art fitness centre. For the second time, Lifetime is partnering with Freemotion Fitness to design the space that will be powered by iFit to provide live and on-demand studio classes and global workouts (the first partnership was with Oscar Residences, in The Annex). The KO-XO dedicated boxing studio will be outfitted with heavy bags.

Brown uses iFit himself. “It really changed my home workout. I could be jogging with someone in South Africa or Croatia. It’s a more enriching experience and is where fitness is going — to be more content-driven and interactive,” he said. Other XO2 amenities include a residents’ lounge with kitchen and dining area, outdoor dining and lounging areas, rooftop bocce court, a co-working facility, indoor-outdoor facility for children and a games arcade where a 3D mural by Del Degan will be installed.

Del Degan plans to follow the process he used to create a mural in Trinity-Bellwoods Park — talking to residents and friends in the neighbourhood for insights about what’s important to them. Based on those conversations, he’ll create the 3D mural to reflect the experiences and stories he hears.

XO2 will also be the second Lifetime Developments’ building to use Clear Inc.’s air- and water-filtration systems. The air system has received regulatory approval from Israel’s Ministry of Health and has passed initial testing at its California facility, indicating it’s 99.9 per cent effective in removing viruses, such as SARS COV-2 in enclosed spaces. Gil Blutrich, founder and CEO of Clear Inc. (and founder and former president of Skyline International Developments) says his company’s mission is to improve public health and safety with technologies that deliver clean indoor air and water. Lifetime is Clear Inc.’s first Toronto developer partner.

“We are hearing that purchasers are concerned about how air is filtered through a building and that it’s a key decision factor,” says Brown. “As well as this incredible technology that will eliminate 99 per cent of viruses and pathogens, the water is filtered in the building so the tap water is as clear as bottled water.”

Source: Toronto Star

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