The Guinness Tower [by Charles Paine & Associates, 1969] is as sexy as the International Style gets back in provincial 1960's Vancouver. Almost 50 years on, it can still hold its own with its sleek proportions, its silver threading through aqua-green glass, its seductive black "leggings", and its ageless integrity. Mies van der Rohe would be justly proud of this well-heeled derivative of his own tall pristine temples.
And, of course, thank you, Guinness family fortune.
Within this paean to Miesian symmetrical sexiness is a full-wall tile mural in the lobby that is so unexpected in its large scale chaotic surrealist conception, as only a one-armed wild-haired Catalan artiste from the realm of Gaudi can execute. Entitled "The Fathomless Richness of the Seabed", the ceramic tile abstractions sweeps one into a maelstrom of swirling sea creatures and blue tidal depths in low relief. I learned about an artist whom I have not known of before - Jordi Bonet, born in Barcelona in 1932 and after moving to Montreal, sustained a most prolific practice in painting, sculpture, ceramics and public wall installations during his short life.
And thanks again to the fathomless wealth of the Guinness family, we are graced with one of his magnificent, albeit a little hidden away, creations in our fair city of aggregating richness.
The Guinness Tower at 1055 West Hastings Street
Completed in 1969 by Charles Paine & Associates
*Please enjoy my new photo-essay book, BARCELONA PRIMITIVA, available for previewing on blurb.ca/b/4589830-b-a-r-c-e-l-o-n-a-p-r-i-m-i-t-i-v-a