OpenInsights – Panelist Bios & Photos
Alan Vihant is Executive Vice President of Great Gulf, where he manages a large portfolio of over twenty high-rise residential and mixed-use projects across North America. Current projects include Monde, Yonge + Rich, Home, 8 Cumberland, and the recently acquired Frank Gehry towers on King Street West. Great Gulf’s portfolio also includes projects in Calgary, Edmonton, Washington DC, Dallas and West Palm Beach.
Prior to joining Great Gulf, Alan managed the Toronto high-rise developments for Concord Adex, including City Place and Concord Park Place.
Alan holds both Architecture and MBA degrees from the University or Toronto and is a past Board/Executive member of BILD and Habitat for Humanity.
Hon. David Crombie
David Crombie has served as Mayor of Toronto (1972-1978), Member of Parliament (1978-1988), and federal cabinet minister. He has also served as President and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute, Chair of Ontario Place, founding Chair of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust and Chancellor of Ryerson University. He is currently chair of the Greenbelt Council and the Toronto Lands Corporation, and recently chaired the Advisory Panel for the Coordinated Land Use Planning Review. He is a Member of the Order of Ontario and an Officer of the Order of Canada. He is also a tireless advocate for the City of Toronto.
Dragana Maznic, Toronto-based international award-winning multidisciplinary Interior Designer has over 25 years of experience. Her portfolio of work has been featured in publications worldwide and includes residential, retail, corporate, hospitality, and recreational spaces as well as private yachts and private estates.
As Design Director at Great Gulf, Dragana established ‘My Design’ developing an identity that would position the company as a leader in the industry. Dragana has been a jury member of successful Public Art Commissions and has collaborated on fine art and sculptural projects with world-renowned artists including Ron Arad, Vinicio Momoli and Shayne Dark. She led the creative vision for a Toronto high-rise residential tower recognized Best International High-Rise Residential Development in 2015. She was awarded First Prize for the Power Yacht Design over 40m at the 2015 International Yacht & Aviation Awards in Venice and received a Gold NAHB Award for Best Design of a Model Home over 5,000 sf.
Elsa Lam is editor of Canadian Architect magazine. She holds a doctorate in architectural history and theory from Columbia University, completed under the supervision of Kenneth Frampton and Vittoria di Palma. She previously studied architectural history at McGill University and architectural design at the University of Waterloo. Lam has written extensively for architecture and design magazines, as well as collaborating on the editing and writing of several books. Previous to her role at Canadian Architect, she worked with the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. She is the co-editor of the book Canadian Modern Architecture, 1967-2017, to be released by Princeton Architectural Press and Canadian Architect this November.
Jane Perdue MCIP, RPP is the Public Art Coordinator, Urban Design, City Planning. Her responsibilities include public art policy development; approval of public art projects on public and private lands; and, the administration of the Toronto Public Art Commission (TPAC), a citizen volunteer group. She has been a member of several art selection committees for other cities and jurisdictions and was recently appointed to the Creative City Network Canada Public Art Advisory Group.
Jermyn Creed is the Community Hub Manager for Daniels Spectrum, an Artscape community cultural hub in Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood. Jermyn has strong ties to Regent Park as a community member of 43 years, and in the last 15 years, as a Community Leader. Jermyn has a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities resulting from revitalization, and sees the importance of arts & culture in such a transition. In his current role, Jermyn diligently bridges the gap between community members and access to arts & culture by “bringing the building to the community and the community to the building.”
For over a decade, Jesse Shapins has been leading ground-breaking work at the intersection of art, design, technology and city-building. Currently, Jesse is Director of Public Realm & 307 at Sidewalk Labs in Toronto, where he leads community engagement, vision, design and prototyping for how to create more inclusive, vibrant urban neighbourhoods. Jesse holds a BA in Urban Studies from Columbia University and a PhD in Urbanism and Critical Media Practice from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. At Harvard, he also served on the Faculty of Architecture and Co-Founded metaLAB (at) Harvard, a Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society lab.
Michelle is currently pursuing a masters degree in architecture at Ryerson University. Her thesis, titled A Queer Assemblage, pieces together a historical narrative that identifies the constructedness of heteronormativity in all facets of life and how such oppressions and aggressions have been translated into the built world. Through design and textual explorations, these architectural histories are marked up and destabilized to delineate space for a proper queer occupation. Her work as an artist and designer focuses on sexuality, ephemera, and digital space.
Nelda Rodger is the co-founder and the Editorial Director of AZURE and Designlines magazines. She initiates and maintains contact with design leaders and organizations from around the world and oversees the contents of the magazines. She has participated as a jury member for numerous design competitions and has written extensively on design and architecture. Under Nelda’s direction, AZURE launched the AZ Awards, an international and multi-disciplinary competition recognizing excellence in design now in its 9th year.
AZURE is an award-winning publication focused on forward-looking architecture and design published in Toronto and directed primarily to professionals in North America.
Designlines was launched in 2001 as a companion to AZURE, providing an essential guide to design in Toronto for consumers. It has become a key reference point for emerging and affirmed local talent and, along inspirational environments, it offers a carefully edited selection of product sources for contemporary interiors.
Born in Tel Aviv in 1951, educated at the Jerusalem Academy of Art and later at the Architectural Association in London, Ron Arad co-founded with Caroline Thorman the design and production studio One Off in 1981 and later, in 1989, Ron Arad Associates architecture and design practice. In 2008 Ron Arad Architects was established alongside Ron Arad Associates. From 1994 to 1999 he established the Ron Arad Studio, design and production unit in Como, Italy. Ron Arad has designed a number of Public Art pieces, including the Vortext in Seoul, Korea, the Kesher Sculpture at Tel Aviv University, Evergreen in Tokyo, and Curtain Call for Roundhouse, London. A new sculpture, Spyre, was installed at the Royal Academy of Arts in London during summer 2016, and Thought of Train of Thought was part of the Terrace Wires installation programme at St Pancras International station in London in 2017. 720 Degrees appeared in September 2016 at the Singapore International Festival of Arts. In October 2017 it was announced that Ron Arad Architects, together with Adjaye Associates and Gustafson Porter + Bowman, had won the UK Holocaust Memorial International Design Competition. Ron Arad’s ‘Safe Hands’ sculpture will be unveiled in Toronto in May 2019.