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Laying Important Foundations Together

18 December 2010 159 views One Comment

By True Daley

Best known for his soulful hip-hop, Sean ‘Subliminal’ Mauricette wears many hats. The rapper is also an accomplished actor, host and public speaker who promotes the importance of the arts and post-secondary education through his program Laying Important Foundations Together (L.I.F.T).

Despite gaining recognition in North  America and the U.K. for his motivational speeches, he is least known for his talent as an architectural designer. Mauricette says his degree in architecture from the University of Toronto has given him all the skills necessary to succeed in life. “The training and the education is what has allowed me to switch hats so easily,” he says. “You understand the concept of how to take an idea and make it a reality. It taught me time management, how to present clearly and to always be professional.”

His talent and training also prepared him for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to design Toronto’s only drop-in centre for single fathers, tentatively titled The Young Potential Fathers Project (located at 1901 Weston Rd.). The founder, Noah Boakye-Yiadom, says various programs for young and potential Black fathers will be offered to enhance parent-child relationships. Some of the activities will include cooking classes, game nights, music and video nights, and parenting workshops.

Fathers will also have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of their civil, social and legal responsibilities. Mauricette’s connection to the purpose of the centre gave him deeper insight when designing the space. “I want people who pass by to be able to look inside and see spaces that appear active, transformable, bright and inviting at all times of the day,” he says.

When designing, Mauricette felt that the office areas needed to be warm and relaxing, while the play and living areas towards the back of the centre should have an open concept, but still differ from one to the other. How did he achieve his vision? “I did this through various colours of highly polished concrete on the floor and distinct wall colours and images to help define the spaces,” he explains. “The computer area blends in with the TV and lounge area, which hinges off a modern kitchen that is complete with child-size sink. The spine of the centre is a hallway lined with espresso brown wooden slats that not only links the front and rear areas, but doubles as an art gallery of sorts, to display various images, paintings and drawings.”

Mauricette also drew inspiration from images that reflected energy, history and a sense of community, including African wooden sculptures of fathers and sons, Caribbean and African flags with warm and cool colours, and abstract paintings. The multifaceted artist finds it personally rewarding to see his vision come to life and is inspired by the centre’s mission to support single fathers.

“This drop-in centre will give the youth the tools they need to raise respectable young adults. Being able to meld these two worlds that I’m part of — the design and the work with the youth — feels amazing. I feel very honoured to be a part of it and I hope that it’s the first of many.”

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