A Downtown Forest: Steve Driscoll at CIBC Square

Toronto’s downtown core lacks the sprawling wilderness that Canada is known for. But for CIBC Square by Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines – of which a 49-storey, 1,500,000-sq.-ft. office tower is set to open, the first phase of a three million square foot downtown Toronto campus — the architectural team of WilkinsonEyre and Adamson Associates commissioned painter Steve Driscoll to bring a hint of the Northern Boreal forest into a tower of concrete, steel and glass.

Main lobby – 6 panels, “A light stolen from the sun” (Main floor lobby), 2021, Digital print on laminated low iron glass, 432” x 108”, CIBC Square, Toronto

Driscoll — a notable painter with works found in many collections, including the Four Seasons, TD Bank, BMO, Scotiabank and the McMichael Art Collection – says he is inspired equally by Gaugin and Go-Pro. Using a process that took over five years to complete, Driscoll created 12 enormous paintings that were then printed on glass, laminated and sandwiched together with another large glass piece then installed and back lit.

First, he painted the pieces with urethane tinged with oil paints on a plastic panel, which is his normal practice.

Steve Driscoll painting, “A light stolen from the sun”, in-studio

Once the painting was complete Driscoll moved onto the digitization process, which involved using medium format cameras to take multitudes of close-up images of the artwork and then stitching all the images together to create one incredibly large file.

The image was then printed on low iron (extra clear) glass using a large format UV inkjet printer capable of printing up to 1,500 dpi. The glass was then laminated on to a second piece of glass resulting in the artistic image being sandwiched between the two pieces. Depending on which side the artwork is to be lit from, the glass includes a layer of UV protection to protect and prolong the image.

At six pounds per square foot, Driscoll needed to develop a hoist to transport the pieces and then lift the glass into place.

One panel installed at CIBC Square, Main Lobby

On the 4th Floor Sky Elevators, there is another six-panel, 16-ft. by 9-ft. LED back lit image of when a canopy of tree tops meet the sky.

“A light stolen from the sun” (4th floor canopy), 2021, Digital print on laminated low iron glass, 192” x 108”, CIBC Square, Toronto – 6 panels

Painted artwork in actual scale, on view at Angell Gallery for CIBC Square approval.

Painted artwork in actual scale, on view at Angell Gallery for CIBC Square approvalThe complex will attain LEED Platinum Core & Shell certification, WELL Certification and WiredScore Platinum accreditation which will compliment the artwork given its environmental nature.

Photography by: Steve Driscoll Studios