Rodeo Drive Condo – Rodeo Drive’s look

Rodeo Drive Condo – Rodeo Drive’s look
If you ask Alessandro Munge what he most enjoys about his internationally ac-claimed design practice he says it’s the strong emotional response his interior spac-es invariably elicit. And those emotions vary from one space to the next, sometimes sexy and visceral like the mood evoked at night-clubs like Prohibition, other times serene and contemplative like the cool vibe of his recent-ly completed ICE condominium on Toronto’s burgeoning waterfront, or other times drop-dead elegant and Old World like his multi award-winning interiors for Vancouver’s Rose-wood Hotel Georgia. And invariably there’s a sense of occasion and touch of the theatrical in most Munge spaces, which makes perfect sense for a firm that has designed some of the hottest night spots in cities as diverse as New York City and Vegas, Shanghai and LA and, of course, in his hometown of Toronto.  An interior design graduate from Ryerson University, Alessandro started his business in 1997 sketching on his then girlfriend’s kitchen table. How times have changed. The girlfriend is now his wife and Studio Munge now em-ploys scores of talented designers and sup-port staff at his office in Toronto. And for his newest commission—the interior spaces for the Rodeo Drive condominium at the Shops at Don Mills—Alessandro has been inspired by the inherent drama involved in being a la mode, fashion forward and at the cutting edge of luxury retail culture. “When you en-ter one those extraordinarily luxurious stores on Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive you enter a uni-verse where every item is not only exquisite-ly crafted but is also an expression what the world’s most creative people think is totally chic, sophisticated and happening right now,” notes Munge. “Window-shopping and bou-tique-hopping on Rodeo is like taking a crash course in the what’s happening in internation-al design right now. It’s amazing.”
Window-shopping and boutique-hopping on
Rodeo is like taking a crash course in the what’s happening in international design right now. It’s amazing.
Munge’s challenge designing Toronto’s Rod- eo Drive has been to create residential in-teriors that are elegant and sophisticated,  cosmopolitan and contemporary while still re-maining timeless and classic. Some designers have a knack for creating spaces that remain chic and of-the-moment eons after their cre-ation. Does the Barcelona Chair look any less relevant now than when it was first created? Does a Jean-Michel Franck interior ever seem  dated? That was the bar Munge set for himself at Rodeo Drive, and he’s succeeded brilliantly.  Nowhere is that more in evidence than in what Munge terms Rodeo Drive’s “impactful” lobby with its soaring 16’ ceiling, a sculptur-al copper-toned metal concierge desk, strik-ing marble feature walls and extensive blond wood paneling that add warmth to a space that “reads” as classically minimalist. That sleek modern retail look is reprised in Ro-deo Drive’s exceedingly contemporary gym. Close your eyes and imagine you’re work-ing out in a Prada boutique and you’ll get a sense of just how cool pumping iron can be at  Rodeo Drive. A bright room with floor to ceil-ing windows, the gym overlooks a pool deck redolent of a swanky St. Barth’s resort: in the foreground, white cabanas flanking a nega-tive edge pool and, beyond, endless vistas of the neighbourhood’s verdant and abundant parkland.  All the complex’s common spaces are designed with one overarching purpose: to make social interaction between residents and their guests effortless, exciting and fun. It’s social engineering with glamour, pizzazz—and a smile on its face.
(Rodeo Drive Condo)

Rodeo Condos – residential style

Rodeo Condos – T.O PARALLELS TO
The most glamorous and glitzy neighbourhoods in Los Angeles are places like Beverly Hills and Bel Air, Pacific Palisades and Laurel Canyon, all characterized by sprawling estates on winding roads with man-sions hidden from the public gaze by ginormous boxwood hedges. Sound familiar. If weren’t for the palm tress and the bougainvillea you could just as easily be in Rosedale or The Bridle Path, Don Mills’ fancy next-door neighbour.  Amazingly Beverly Hills and the Bridle Path/Don Mills dis-trict are quite similar. Consider the following. LA’s most  famous ‘hood is actually divided into two parts: “The Flats,” where expensive but not over the top homes are located along with the luxury shops on Rodeo Drive, and then there’s “The Hillside” north of Sunset Boulevard where The Big Stars with Big Money live. Don Mills and The Bri-dle Path are the mirror image. An open-air shopping mall and pricey but not palatial homes in Don Mills and a few minutes away on The Bridle Path, The Super Rich. The two ‘hoods could be twins. It may seem counter-intuitive but T.O. and LA are more alike than you might think. So here’s a little checklist to prove the point:
Except for Cannes, the TIFF is the biggest film festival in the world by a long shot and  because of its place on the film-fest calen-dar—in early September—it easily trumps the French Riviera flick fest for “Oscar buzz.” Since its opening in 2010, the TIFF’s home, The Bell Lightbox, has become one of the globe’s go-to places for a total immersion in film culture. The city’s love of the cinema is not just ten-day fling in the Fall, it carries on all year long.

Clearly many Canadians have made it big in LA—Ryan Gosling, Ryan Reynolds, & The Biebs—but it is less well known that some A-list show biz celebs commute to work Cali-fornia preferring to pay the mortgage in Hog-town rather than Hollywood. Pearson to LAX is 4 hours, about the same as a bad day on the DVP, so it’s eminently doable. Among the biggest stay-at-home stars in the Toronto  firmament is Rachel McAdams, soon-to-be-seen in the upcoming movie Dr. Strange with Benedict Cumberbatch. Another big-name actor who prefers Rosedale to Bel Air is Eugene Levy, and Drake, of course has an-nounced plans for a new palace in the Bridle Path, not Beverly Hills.

Toronto is frequently dubbed “Hollywood North” because it competes with Vancouver for bragging rights for being the second larg-est film production centre in North America after LA. Toronto has its Studio District in South Riverdale, just north of the Port Lands and since there are only three major studios still HQed in the City of Angels—Paramount, Columbia, 20th Century Fox—T.O. could soon be nipping at LA’s high heels for #1.
(Rodeo Condos)

Rodeo Condos – Don Mills then & now

Rodeo Condos – Don Mills then & now
If it hadn’t been for a change of heart-and mind-by the  legendary Canadian business mogul E. P. (Eddie) Taylor, Don  Mills might have become the site of one of the world’s largest breweries instead of Canada’s first planned community. When he  initially bought the 2000 acres of farmland back in the late 1940s  Taylor, the man who consolidated the beer business in Canada, planned to construct an enormous plant to churn out stouts and pale ales. But the visionary businessman suddenly had a better idea.  At the end of the Second World War, vets returned to both a booming economy and a baby boom. Why not thought Eddie build a model community where this post-war generation could live and work, play and pray in a self-sufficient “new town,” where everything was “up-to-the-minute” and “spanking new”-and designed in the modernist aesthetic that germinated in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s. The result of Eddie’s “brain wave” was Don Mills, Canada’s first model town, and remnants of Eddie Taylor’s great experiment in city building can be seen at every turn in the totally unique urban precinct radiating from the intersection of Don Mills Road and Lawrence Avenue East. Don Mills would be a community where contemporary style would reign supreme. Only those with a modernist sensibility were permitted to build in this new dream town of 1950s Toronto. And to live in it.


Shas the Don Mills dream died? Well, not exactly, it is being reborn with a new vision where the community’s architec-tural style may not be as “uniform,” as it once was, but the lifestyle vision for a 21st century  Don Mills is as vibrant and cutting-edge as ever.  And the city builders in this new incarnation of Don Mills are two remarkable Canadian  companies, Cadillac Fairview and Lanterra  Developments.  A little over a decade ago Cadillac Fairview made a visionary “bet” on Canada’s model town. Let’s do something akin to a West Coast “makeover” on the old Don Mills Shopping Centre and give it a Southern California vibe. Let’s give T.O. an LA nip and tuck. Down came the old cavernous indoor Don Mills Shopping Centre, and in its place, CF Shops at Don Mills, Ontario’s first en-plein-air alfresco retailing and lifestyle urban village, arose. Along its cobble-stoned streets, and around its verdant village common, is a dazzling and diverse assortment of shops and stores, bars and restaurants, even a movie multiplex. Many wondered whether a California-style outdoor mall would work in a country pretty chilly for a few months each year. But it worked so well that Cadillac Fairview is presently putting a $21-million upgrade to the shopping precinct, which will add cobblestone-effect avenues, new street furniture, atmospheric lighting and a new entertainment event space. And  together with Lanterra Developments, it is now developing Rodeo Drive, the first of a new multiphase residential and commercial development within the village precinct to make the CF Shops at Don Mills the complete lifestyle package: a place to shop, dine, catch a flick, tipple a char—and LIVE LARGE.   So why has Don Mills embraced the LA  Lifestyle so avidly—unreservedly? It is per-haps slightly counter-intuitive but we’d argue that Toronto and Los Angeles are very similar. Read further and we’ll explain why.

(Rodeo Condos)