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Starting Block

While the rare and sublime inspire and instill fear, many creatives seek something altogether more elusive: balance.

The Starting Block - FeaturedImage__Germaine-Koh-self-built-Home-Made-Home

Photo by Alana Paterson
Germaine Koh’s self-built Home Made Home: Hemlock Micro Studio (2016) on Saltspring Island, B.C.

MMXXIV, otherwise known as 2024, may come to be known for two extreme natural events, at least in the western hemisphere. April’s total solar eclipse passed over major populated U.S. and Canadian cities—including Niagara Falls, Ont., and Montreal—affording locals and those who made the trek, clear skies permitting, a glimpse of the corona.

Also promising to blot out the sun, a rare double brood of cicadas, amounting to over a trillion of the screaming winged insects, is set to emerge from the earth to moult and mate in much of the United States, darkening skies and sending entomophobes indoors. Broods XIII and XIX will overlap for the first time in more than two centuries, in what’s being described as a bacchanalia for both bug and beast.

While the rare and sublime inspire and instill fear, many creatives seek something altogether more elusive: balance. Sure, it’s a buzzword, but there’s a reason whole industries (not to mention cicada-rivalling broods of influencers) are dedicated to finding and maintaining it.

Balance between our home and work lives. Between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Balancing the natural environment around and within. This issue of Block looks at how some creatives—and even cities—practise and achieve balance.

There’s interiors firm Mason Studio (The Moment, p. 10), which gives new meaning to “mixed-use,” harmonizing various functions in its Toronto office. Chris Fair of the Vancouver-based consultancy Resonance (The Business, p. 16) tells us how great cities hit the right note between livability and lovability. Artist and organizer Germaine Koh (The Creator, p. 26) finds fellowship through creative collaboration and community. And, finally, artist Eric Lachance (Fill in the Blank, inside back cover) achieves a literal balancing act, but figuratively too, and playfully.

“As a kid, I wanted to play hockey on the streets,” says Lachance.

“Now as an adult kid, I want to store chairs in unconventional places.” He asks anyone who comes by an errant stool or seat to text him at (416) 450-5343 so he can add it to the precarious pile.

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