Toronto Pockets


by Alchemy
Gabrielle Leighton, Eira Roberts

Scope of installation

For the theme of Urban Fabric, our installation aims to celebrate the beauty and heart that is the City of Toronto. In our vision, each puzzle piece represents a neighbourhood from the downtown core. As they playfully exchange with each other, it highlights how we might interact in a city filled with a fusion of culture and diversity. We created cardboard layers to help visually depict the building and population densities and put them into motion to aid in bringing the city scene alive with our animations.

We collaborated on this project remotely, finding ways to create, edit and refine; with the stop motion functioning very well as we could manipulate and co-create while working separately. The puzzle imagery is a tribute to all the ways we have been staying occupied and connected during this pandemic. The animations celebrate every aspect that we are excited to come back to and simply create the fabric of what Toronto means to us. This installation combines our collective visions and makes a playful, lighthearted resting ground in an otherwise exceptional and unsettling time.

The filming process set up for the final stop motion video using our layered cardboard model.

The earliest sketch done of our initial idea after many conversations and alterations to our concept.

Cutting cardboard was one of the beginnings of the final model-making process. We expored different thicknesses and colours of cardboard before coming to this point.

Taken during the model-making process, this was the first cut layer of cardboard for the final model. We used a downtown Toronto map and had cut-outs to trace and ensure the pieces fit together and were the correct shape.

For this sketch model, we chose not to clue together the layers of cardboard strategically to play with each neighbourhood's height and see how the layered appearances played with one another.

Pictured is an alternate partial sketch model. When we first started exploring different ways to represent the city and landed on towered or layered. This model was our experiment with a towered model.

One of many additional sketch models created. This one honed in on Toronto's downtown core and had numerous layers to play with different stop motion test videos.

This first study model explored shapes of the whole city and put them to the test in a quick bird's-eye view stop motion video.

Gabrielle Leighton

Gabrielle is a Queer designer/artist who spent her early years in Lincoln, Nebraska. She travelled around parts of Canada before moving to Toronto; this is where she earned a BFA at OCAD University. Her work during her time at OCAD focused on materiality using plywood and wood tools as a vehicle to document a mark and sustain a voice as a record of time. Currently, she is pursuing a bachelor's in interior design at Ryerson University. Her experience at OCAD has been a jumping-off point to further realize her practice in designing spaces through her work in installation. Her focus is on spaces that provide inclusion as well as sustainability.

Eira Roberts

Eira is a recent Ontario high school graduate just finishing her first year at Ryerson's School of Interior Design. She has always been a maker, problem solver, and lover of the arts. Growing up, she had the opportunity to travel and explore various parts of the world, which built a passion for art, architecture, museums and interiors. Through her studies, she hopes to develop creatively and pursue a career in design.