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New AGO will feature furniture by leading Danish and Canadian designers

(Toronto: October 16, 2008) When the transformed AGO opens on November 14, it will not only be filled with spectacular art, but will feature beautiful, contemporary furniture by avant-garde Danish and Canadian designers.

Thanks to two generous partnerships, the exceptional AGO building will be enhanced by outstanding furniture design. The Gallery has worked with leading suppliers to integrate furnishings into the Frank Gehry-designed spaces, providing visitors with both comfort and style.

The AGO has joined forces with the Royal Danish Consulate General in Toronto to incorporate the work of some of Denmark’s most acclaimed designers. Through several leading Danish supporters and the generosity of furniture manufacturers, the AGO has purchased more than $1.5 million worth of Danish-designed furniture at a significant discount. Pieces supplied by Carl Hansen, Fritz Hansen, Erik Jørgensen and One Collection, to name only a few, will be found in the AGO’s new restaurant FRANK, Café AGO, the Norma Ridley Members’ Lounge, the espresso bar and the contemporary galleries.

To make the purchase possible, more than $430,000 was provided by several Danish foundations – the A.P. Møller and Chastine Mc-Kinney Møller Foundation, Augustinus Fonden, Oticon Fonden, Knud Højgaards Fond – and local Canadian contributions.

The SuperDanish project began two years ago, when architect Frank Gehry and the AGO enthusiastically embraced the offer to give the new Gallery a Danish design profile. Denmark’s honorary Consul General, Arne Nordtorp, and Trade Commissioner and Consul, Peter Moerk, have worked closely with the AGO to select a design that focuses on comfort, quality and functionality.

“Partnering first class Danish design with the spectacular new AGO, this project is an exceptional story of the opportunities created when culture and business work together. It is a permanent imprint for Denmark in Canada,” says Carina Christensen, the Danish Minister for Culture.

The furniture in the Gallery’s restaurant and café was selected by Frank Gehry. The AGO’s new restaurant will also feature tableware by Danish designers George Jensen, Eva Solo, Rikke Jakobsen and Holmegaard. Several pieces of furniture, as well as some of the tableware, will be available for purchase in the AGO retail shop.

“Danish designers are among the leaders in innovative design and these new pieces work seamlessly with our new building,” says Linda Milrod, program director of Transformation AGO. “The incredible generosity and commitment of the Royal Danish Consulate General has allowed us to achieve something very, very special.”

Thanks to a new partnership, the AGO will also feature furniture by the Toronto-based Teknion Corporation, an award-winning Canadian furniture manufacturer. Through this generous corporate support, the entrance lobby, staff and volunteer offices and lounges, and selected galleries will be furnished with Teknion-designed and fabricated pieces.

“Teknion is very excited to be part of the new AGO and this stunning new Gallery with spaces by famed Canadian architect Frank Gehry,” says David Feldberg, Teknion president and CEO.

Teknion has won more than 50 design awards in the past four years, including the Design of the Decade award from the Industrial Designers Society of America. Teknion’s highly functional, integrated product design enhances both the aesthetic vision and practical nature of the transformed AGO.

“The relationships that have resulted from Transformation AGO have had a resounding impact on the project’s success,” says Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO’s Michael and Sonja Koerner director and CEO. “The support we have received from our Danish partners, Teknion Corporation and Gehry International have all enhanced the Gallery’s design and atmosphere.”

The AGO gratefully acknowledges the support of its Lead Inaugural Partner, BMO Financial Group.

The launch of the transformed AGO is also been financially assisted by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Culture, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation.

The Transformation AGO project is further supported by the generous commitments of hundreds of donors, building on the late Ken Thomson’s unprecedented gift of art and funding, the vital support of the provincial and federal governments, and an innovative expansion by architect Frank Gehry.

With a permanent collection of more than 73,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. The Gallery began an extraordinary chapter when it launched Transformation AGO in 2002. Multi-faceted in scope, Transformation AGO involves the unprecedented growth of the permanent collection, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, and the strengthening of the museum’s endowment resources. As the imaginative centre of the city, the transformed AGO will dramatically enrich our visitors’ experiences and provide greater access to the full vibrancy of the art museum.

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For media information or visuals, please call:
Antonietta Mirabelli, 416 979 6660, X454,
Peter Moerk, 416 962 5661, X325,
Arne Nordtorp, 416 968 2768,
Linda Friis Petersen, Royal Danish Embassy, 613 562 1811 ext. 223,

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Culture. Additional operating support is received from the Volunteers of the AGO, the City of Toronto, the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts.

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