Love inspires art at new XO2 condos in Liberty Village
Matthew Del Degan thinks you have to put a little love into your art.
That’s why, in 2011, the artist created Lovebot, a geometric robot with a big red heart as a symbol of the Love Invasion, a grassroots movement based in Toronto to share love and kindness. It all started with 100 two-foot concrete Lovebot sculptures placed across the city dedicated to individuals or groups who have performed acts of kindness. Lovebot became a Toronto icon and went global on stickers, posters, toys and apparel.
When XO2 Condos by Lifetime Developments – XO Condos’ sister building and one of the first skyscraper launches this year – is completed in Liberty Village, Lovebots will take up residence among the human inhabitants. In addition to a five-foot matte black Lovebot that Lifetime purchased, Del Degan will be creating interior and exterior sculptures and murals for XO2. He has done multi-faceted projects before, but this will be his biggest.
“Every Lifetime development has a collaborating artist,” says Brian Brown, director of Lifetime Developments. “We believe in supporting great talent in Toronto to tell a story, capture the essence of the neighborhood and add an extra creative layer to our buildings.
“We are very happy to work with Matthew. When we contacted him, he became part of the family and it was really a good collaboration,” added Brown. For the first XO building, Lifetime partnered with street artist Daniel Bombardier, also known as Denial.
Del Degan came up with the idea for Lovebot while studying industrial and product design at OCAD University. He noticed how subway passengers ignored each other and acted like robots with their devices, so he was inspired to create a robot – but one with a heart.
Lovebot’s design and message is aimed at young professionals and families who want to make Liberty Village their home. When the first tower, XO Condos, launched in 2019, it sold out almost immediately, and XO2 is expected to generate the same response. Brown says there will be retail space on the ground floor to bring additional amenities to the area.
“It’s a very young and up-and-coming neighborhood going through a period of transition,” says Brown. “There’s a lot going on in the Liberty Village-King West area and it’s rare to have development on two streetcar lines, plus the proposed SmartTrack line and the Ontario line. It’s a major connected neighborhood and one of the reasons Liberty Village is growing so rapidly.
The SmartTrack plan aims to expand GO Transit service in Toronto. The Ontario Line is the new 15.6 km line, including subway service, planned within the city. Both will have stops at Liberty Village. The XO2 location boasts a perfect transit score of 100 and a walk score of 96, and has direct access to the King-Liberty Pedestrian Bike Bridge. It is also within walking distance of restaurants, shops, pubs and cafes.
XO2 will be a 19-story building with 410 suites, designed by Turner Fleischer Architects with interiors by Tomas Pearce. Brown says it was designed with two key things in mind: to accommodate the next generation of homebuyers looking for a highly accessible area, and to meet residents’ desires for healthy living.
Building amenities include a state-of-the-art 3,500 square foot fitness center. For the second time, Lifetime is partnering with Freemotion Fitness to design the space that will be powered by iFit to provide live and on-demand studio classes and global workouts (the first partnership was with Oscar Residences, in The Appendix). The dedicated KO-XO boxing studio will be equipped with heavy bags.
Brown uses iFit himself. “It really changed my training at home. I could jog with someone in South Africa or Croatia. It’s a more rewarding experience and that’s where fitness goes – to be more content-driven and interactive,” he said. Other XO2 amenities include a residents’ lounge with kitchen and dining area, outdoor dining and lounging areas, rooftop bocce court, coworking facility, indoor-outdoor kids facility and a games room where a 3D fresco by Del Degan will be installed. .
Del Degan plans to follow the process he used to create a mural in Trinity-Bellwoods Park – talking to neighborhood residents and friends to find out what’s important to them. Based on these conversations, he will create the 3D mural to reflect the experiences and stories he hears.
XO2 will also be the second building from Lifetime Developments to use Clear Inc.’s air and water filtration systems. The air system has received regulatory approval from Israel’s Ministry of Health and has passed initial testing in its California factory, stating that it is 99.9% effective in eliminating viruses, such as SARS COV-2 in enclosed spaces. Gil Blutrich, Founder and CEO of Clear Inc. (and Founder and Former President of Skyline International Developments) says his company’s mission is to improve public health and safety through technologies that provide air and clean interior water. Lifetime is Clear Inc.’s first developer partner in Toronto.
“We hear that buyers are concerned about how the air is filtered through a building and that’s a key decision factor,” says Brown. “In addition to this amazing technology that will remove 99% of viruses and pathogens, water is filtered in the building so tap water is as clear as bottled water.”
Site: King and Dufferin streets.
Developer: Lifetime developments
Architect: Turner Fleischer Architects; Interior decorator: Tomas Pearce Interior Design
Following : 410 units, in a 19-story high-rise, including bachelor, one-, two-, and three-bedroom units, as well as a small two-story townhouse complex for living and working. Condominium suites from 406 to 1,045 square feet, from $500,000 to $1.7 million.
Approvals: King West location serviced by two TTC streetcar lines as well as future SmartTrack and Ontario Line services. Perfect transit score and high walk score. The building will include Freemotion Fitness Lab, a boxing studio, a Think Tank co-working space, a den and children’s play area, a games room, a residents’ lounge with kitchen and dining area, an outdoor terrace, an urban park on the roof with a petanque court.