Public art injects cities, towns and communities with aesthetic wonder and cultural cachet – along with instilling a sense of belonging and civic pride in the community.
We’ve been lucky enough to collaborate on many awesome public art projects throughout our time but one that will forever hold a special place in our hearts is the first-ever public art piece we contributed to – the ‘Granite Sofa’ at Prince Arthur Condominium in Yorkville, Toronto.
The arresting granite Chesterfield weighs in at six tonnes and is visible through the arched entrance of the elegant condo. Its captivating presence has had locals and visitors alike stopping, staring and talking about it since its inception in 1998.
Take a seat
The sofa was created by artists Susan Schelle and Mark Gomes – whom we’ve had the pleasure of working with on projects since. The couch was shaped, carved, polished and completed in Canada and is made from gleaming Crystal Brown granite – which HGH had quarried in South Africa.
Sitting upon a granite clad leaf within a circular patch of vivid green grass, the sculpture surprises and stimulates in equal measure.
We love that it triggers reflection and conversation, cleverly injecting a symbol of everyday domestic life into the busy, elegant metropolis of its neighbourhood. The sofa is a reminder of home, the cosy – a juxtaposition to the buzz of the city.
How does it work?
Working with public artists is always inspiring and interesting, and we’re often asked about the process. So how does it work?
The process of starting to work on a public art piece varies, however it always begins by us working closely with the artists, architects and contractors to set expectations, finalize shop drawings, and confirm colours before sourcing the granite for any project. This tells us where the stone will need to be quarried and the tools needed to achieve the finished product.
Each project is truly unique so there is no standard location or method of sculpting for all jobs – some pieces are carved in-house in our plant in Dundas, while others are fabricated in plants both domestically and overseas.
Tools for the job
Granite is one of the most frequently carved stones – at about 8 on the Mohs scale. It’s the most durable of sculptural stones and, as you can imagine, can be a difficult stone to work. Tools for each project range from technical, high-precision tools to manual hammer and chisel work.
Many large granite projects require specialist tools like robots and CNC machines. These are machine tools that cut and remove material as programmed on a controller. The type of cutting can vary from diamond wire, routing, milling, waterjet and lathe cutting.
Granite is forever
While it can be a labour of love to work, the beauty of working with granite on public art pieces is the sense of ‘forever’ inherent in its ‘hardware’. These aren’t pieces that will come and go.
The Granite Sofa was the first public art project we were a part of and it’s been delighting visitors and locals for over 20 years. What’s thrilling to reflect upon is that it could be delighting communities for 100s of years to come.
Contact us today
Did you know that we at HGH Granite have been providing granite services all over Canada for the last 90 years? Our vision and business model have helped build a loyal customer base that relies on our expertise and quality workmanship. Over the years, our team has grown with like-minded individuals that share the same passion for providing outstanding granite products and services. Let us help build you your vision. Contact us today.