A building full of art is an inspiring place to live
Deirdre Kelly – Globe and Mail
When Ken Zuckerman, owner of Zinc Construction, completed a new, boutique-hotel-inspired loft conversion in downtown Toronto last year, he decided to keep the best loft for himself. Located at 113-115 Dupont, this old commercial warehouse is now home to seven massive multi-million dollar luxury lofts.
Measuring 4,000 square feet with 12-1/2-foot ceilings, the loft was custom-made to showcase art, a passion of Mr. Zuckerman’s since he was a small boy going to galleries with his art-collecting parents.
Art, in fact, is the hallmark of a converted loft building whose lobby is decorated with original contemporary work by such artists as Canada’s Michael Awad and South Africa’s Brett Murray, and whose residents include Sandra Ainsley, owner of Toronto’s Sandra Ainsley Gallery, and Steven Levy, overseer of the Toronto International Art Fair.
Mr. Zuckerman is no stranger to the art world himself, having created over the years a substantial contemporary collection.
Artists whose work he collects include Radcliffe Bailey, Ke-Sook Lee and Hank Willis Thomas.
Their work is large-scale, but easily accommodated inside Mr. Zuckerman’s loft, which he built with an abundance of wall space and gallery-style track lighting.
“I built the place for art,” says Mr. Zuckerman, a brash fortysomething who builds shopping malls and award-winning residences in addition to stylish condos.
“I thought that the people who would live here would be big into art, and so far that’s been true of everybody who lives here. All the suites are full of art. It’s an inspiring place to live.”
And no wonder, when the lofts themselves were made to be as much an aesthetic experience as comfortable and convenient places to live.
From the random-sized-plank wood flooring imported from Germany through Toronto’s Floorworks to the sculpted modernist vanities by Italy’s Antonio Lupi bathroom design company, every detail inside the three-storey building was chosen for flair as well as function.
Inside his own loft, Mr. Zuckerman calls the all-white, contemporary Italian kitchen “sculptural” before noting that with two dishwashers, three fridges and a 14-foot-long centre island topped with Carrera marble it’s practical, as well.
Other everyday objects that intersect the subjective world of beauty include the egg-shaped Agape bathtub in the master ensuite, and the large brushed-metal doors that close off the large walk-in closet from a master bedroom so commodious it houses a small home gym in addition to a king-sized bed and library.
While the main living area is open-concept, the loft splinters off into a series of rooms that are smaller – although no less grand in scale – where Mr. Zuckerman has been able to create a sense of seclusion.
One of these rooms is a home office with a walkout to a screened terrace. This is where Mr. Zuckerman conducts most of the affairs of Zinc Construction, recently handed an Ontario Association of Architects award for a private residence on nearby Bishop Street. The table is littered with papers, signs of a mind in full development mode.
“I’m going to build another building, and likely live there,” he says, explaining why he is leaving the one that so fully bears his imprint.
“I seem to like the process more than the end. I like being involved in the creative process.”
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