Ron Arad Safe Hands Unveiling Yonge and Bloor

Dragana Maznic

Outside of One Bloor East, two towering cylindrical figures slink around one another. The sculpture’s reflective steel encasement is contrasted with hints of red and orange that emerge at rupture points between the cylinders. The artwork, Safe Hands, is by Israeli-born artist Ron Arad and commissioned by Great Gulf, the developers of One Bloor East. With the sculpture reaching a height of 27 meters, it weighs in at over 32 tonnes.

In a phone interview with Irene Szylinger, the public art consultant for Safe Hands, and Dragana Maznic, the design director at Great Gulf, both women were adamant about the weight and significance a public artwork would have in front of such a highly visible and much talked about development.

“We were all aware that One Bloor was going to be the iconic project of Toronto,” said Maznic, a claim that could be contended. “It really required a piece that would merit that flagship project and the city. We were going to create a project that was unlike anything that had been presented to the city in terms of the creativity, impact, quality, and the experience [of] the residents”

Both Szylinger and Maznic emphasized to Arad the importance of the Yonge and Bloor intersection and the gravitas of the project. “It was truly an ambition to enrich our city and to break the boundaries that were there before,” said Maznic, in reference to the artwork’s commission.

Speakers at the event, like Deputy Mayor Michael Thompson and City Councillor Michael Layton, also made reference to the iconic status of the Yonge and Bloor intersection. Safe Hands was not only perceived as a reflection but also an affirmation of the locale’s seminal importance.

Its stainless-steel modules stacked together and painted vibrant hues at their joints, the tower is now a focal point at Yonge and Bloor Streets. And it’s also the subject of a Doors Open talk on Saturday (tomorrow) moderated by Azure Editorial Director Nelda Rodger and featuring Ron Arad, Great Gulf Executive Vice President Alan Vihant, Dragana Maznic of Dragana Maznic Design and Jane Perdue, Senior Planner Urban Design at the City of Toronto. Tickets to the talk, being held at St. Paul’s Bloor Street at 1PM, are free (first come, first served) and details are here.