309 | Puzzle Room
The Puzzle Room exploits the ubiquitous imagery of tourist landscapes, knowing that we all use landmarks as a way to locate ourselves, especially when one is traveling in a new city. Jigsaw puzzles and video explore and emphasize the similarities, connectedness and glamour of city skylines.
- Queen bed
- 176 sq ft (16 sq m)
- 3 piece bathroom with hairdryer
- Hypo-allergenic duvet and pillows, 300 thread count sheets
- Studio-size ironing board (full sized ironing board available by calling the Front Desk)
- Samsung Galaxy Tablet with digital concierge system and browser for free internet surfing
- Coffee and tea service in the 3rd floor lounge (7am-10am)
- Fitness facilities available at 99 Sudbury Gym
- Telephone with private voice mail and free local calls
- 20″ flat screen television with premium cable
- All-natural Canadian bath products
- Safety deposit box
Find out more about our complimentary and extra room amenities HERE.
Designed by Melissa Levin
Melissa is a multi disciplinary artist. She began as a textile printer and costume designer and has been making videos and films since 1997. Her award winning short works have been shown internationally in over a hundred festivals and her first feature documentary “Class Queers” (co-directed with Roxana Spicer) aired on CBC television’s Rough Cuts in 2003.
She has a BFA from Philadelphia College of Art and a Masters of Art from School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She taught Textile Printing at Sheridan College for five years and is currently working on a new body of work using found jigsaw puzzles. She has been living in Toronto for the last 7 years.
THANKS | The Puzzle Room could not have happened with out the help, expertise and moral support of the following two wonder-women:
Designer & Carpenter:
Lisa (it will only take 15 minutes) Dooher for Mrs. Murphy’s Fine Furniture. Thank you for your perseverance, fine eye to detail as well as your encouragement. Lisa and I worked together on the design of the furniture and with the exception of the bed, Lisa built and installed all the furniture. Contact: 416.533.4824
Consultant: Janna Levitt, Levitt Goodman Architects Ltd
Hours and hours were spent putting together the original puzzles before they were collaged. For that painstaking task I thank the following people!
Lukkas Blak, Dara Gelman, Kim Simon, Kim Stephenson, Fredie Towe. And especially: Thank you to Nina Levitt for her puzzling skills as well as the extended use of her studio table, bookshelves and patience with the process.
CN Tower @2005 Video Production: Director: Melissa Levin Camera: Nas Khan and Melissa Levin Editor: Aleesa Cohene. Thank you to both Nas and Aleesa for their extra efforts and keen eyes.
A big thank you to – Suanne McGregor for her attention to the details, as well as all the tradespeople at The Gladstone, who sanded, cleaned, painted and put on the finishing touches. To the upholsterer, Peter Gray for saving the day! And finally thank you to Christina Zeidler for her vision and tenacity to make it happen.
For The Puzzle Room I used vintage jigsaw puzzles as my inspiration. I wanted to create a space that was retro funk with elegance. I wanted the room to be a respite from the whorl of the city. A place to come back to where one would feel comfortable relaxed and yet is intrigued, and visually stimulated. I began with the idea of using my jigsaw puzzle collages* as the central theme for the room. For The Gladstone Hotel I was specifically thinking about how a tourist begins to find their way around a new location. Knowing that we all use landmarks as a way to locate ourselves I wanted to exploit the ubiquitous imagery of tourist landscapes to create a new hybrid cityscape. In Room 309 I used six different puzzles from cities in North America. I mixed up the pieces so that buildings no longer sit on any foundation, or are completely out of place. Bridges end haphazardly, the reflection of the Toronto Sky Dome is the wrong place for the building, and the Twin Towers no longer stands upright but rests in the water only as a mere reflection. On the left side of the TV monitor you will find buildings, bridges and waterways from San Francisco, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Closer to the window is Toronto, Dallas, Texas, and New York City (pre Twin Towers disaster). The silent video work that can be viewed on the TV was shot from several different viewpoints of the around the city and shows slow motion images of the CN Tower. After all the Tower is Toronto ’s most visible, and impressive landmark.
*Note: The puzzle collages are made up of several different jigsaw puzzles that happen to be cut from the same die cut. I use whatever puzzles come my way through thrift stores, garage sales, and friends. It takes a long time to find the ones that fit together.
Why Jigsaw Puzzles? During a lengthy recovery from an illness I became interested in how puzzles are used in times of contemplation and as a way to mark the passing of “lost” time. Puzzles are predictable fixtures in hospitals, senior’s centres and summer cottages; they are often brought out during healing, and as a way to pass time. I also discovered that some puzzles are cut from the same die cut and you can interchange the pieces from puzzle to puzzle. Generally I am interested in reclaiming discarded and undervalued objects that over time have lost their value to their owner. In fact the original jigsaw puzzles I used for the Gladstone are souvenirs of bygone days, represented by “tourist views” and “nature.” The final work presents a topsy-turvy world where nothing sits in its expected place. They are disrupted scenes that reflect our uneasy times while representing a kind of collapsed time and memory.