Ever since Dan Menchions and Keith Rushbrook founded II BY IV DESIGN in 1990, the firm has gained renown for pristine interiors that spark intrigue and engage the imagination. Most recently, the Toronto-based firm lent its expertise to masterminding interiors for Aquabella, an upscale condominium tower completed this past year within the city’s emerging Bayside community. Inspired by the “scale and intimacy of a family home,” the firm says, Aquabella simultaneously “possesses a boutique feel” that easily comes across in the marble, brass, velvet, and other material mainstays of contemporary luxury employed throughout the project. It’s perhaps best expressed by the lobby’s rainbow-hued pièce de résistance, a monumental artwork that features the world’s largest single piece of acrylic.
Below, we take a closer look at the project.
Project Inspiration: The main inspiration is refraction, or the change in the direction of a light wave passing from one medium to another. Likewise, the interiors are reminiscent of being underwater while light permeates through. We used monochromatic natural materials to provide a neutral backdrop, framing a central installation. Throughout the day, the lobby’s generous volume offers an intimate, reflective space—curious with a playful changing of the light.
Project Blueprint: A timeless design that offers an exceptional experience through the use of high-quality materials, finishes, and details.
Project Takeaways: The project is unique due to its sense of place, connected to the surrounding waterfront landscape. We approach each project differently based on its required feel, programming, context, and placement.
Project Challenges: Inspired by the experience of being underwater, we wanted to showcase how light would permeate the space. As a result, we made use of the natural light, installing an art piece at the center that dynamically changes with the light throughout day and night. At 40 feet long, this installation features the world’s largest single piece of acrylic. The long pieces of acrylics were built overseas, transported back to Toronto, and incorporated within the construction of the lobby, which proved to be a challenging process. The ground-floor windows were removed to install each piece separately. It took about a year, yet we value-engineered it to keep the installation on budget. We find that the real installation far exceeds the conceptual renderings.