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Architecture Firm Partisans on a Winning Streak

Partisans studio’s co-founder, Alex Josephson, was just named winner of the Design Exchange’s prestigious Emerging Designer Competition – only the most recent in a string of accolades

By David Dick-Agnew

In Azure’s 30th Anniversary Issue in May, DL’s sister magazine named Partisans and its co-founder Alex Josephson one of Toronto’s “firms to watch.” Since then, they’ve exceeded all expectations and garnered heaps of recognition.

First, Partisans was named Best Emerging Practice by the Ontario Association of Architects. Then in June, their interior for Bar Raval – a muscular sculpture of CNC’d mahogany in Toronto’s trendy College St. neighbourhood – was shortlisted for a Restaurant & Bar Design Award. And on November 12th, Josephson’s Gweilo wavy floor and pendant lamps claimed the top prize among established firms from L A M P, Vancouver’s annual celebration of all things illuminated.

Most recently, the Design Exchange has named Josephson the winner of its Emerging Designer Competition – a prestigious Canada-wide event now in its second edition. As winner, Josephson’s work will be exhibited at the DX from December 8th to January 30th. Jury member and Designlines editor Tory Healy remarked that the jury was taken not only with the scope of his completed projects, but also with the sensitivity they demonstrate. “What impressed me most about Partisans’ projects – beyond the material palette and use of advanced technology – is how they make me feel,” says Healy. “The sinuous interiors of Bar Raval and the Grotto Sauna in Georgian Bay are human-scale to the point of being embracive; every sense is locked in to the environments Partisans has CNC-sculpted from wood.”

partisans
The Grotto Sauna, a private spa on a remote island of the Georgian Bay, is CNC’d from solid wood to create soft curves that embrace sitters.

Partisans’ ongoing projects include the expansion and renovation of Toronto’s Union Station – a multi-year, multi-phase endeavor with a budget in the hundreds of millions. Another of Partisans’ major updates to a Toronto landmark – announced just days ago – is their plan for the Hearn Generating Station, which will be transformed into an arts hub in time for the 2016 Luminato festival in June.

Readers can vote for the Emerging Designer Competition’s Cosentino People’s Choice Award until November 28 by “liking” their favourite finalist on Facebook.


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