A terrazzo medallion called the “Circle of Indigenous Knowledge” at the new Centre for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) at Seneca, a learning institute with campuses in the greater Toronto area, has been named Project of the Year by the Terrazzo, Tile and Marble Association of Canada.
Designed by Indigenous artist Joseph Sagaj, the medallion measures 10 metres in diameter and features a turtle in the centre, a reference to Turtle Island, which represents the continent of North America in many Indigenous cultures.
The turtle is enclosed by elements of the First Nations people of the Great Lakes region, the Métis and the Inuit.
“It’s a beautiful piece of artwork by a talented Indigenous artist that’s been installed with a great deal of precision and care,” said Angelo Miranda, director of Major Capital Projects at Seneca.
“We are proud to have it as the welcome point into the CITE building and thrilled that it’s been recognized by the industry.”
“This design represents a glimpse of their culture, spirituality, ceremonies, origins, teachings, history, symbols, stories, art, clans, system of governance, the sky world and worldview,” Sagaj said.
“These stories and teachings were shared through protocol, with Elders and the people from these communities presented here. All these symbols and ways continue to reflect and thrive in the people and in the land today.”
To translate Sagaj’s vision onto the floor and create a highly-durable installation to last the life of the building, terrazzo was identified as the best flooring product to get the colour rendition and durability desired. Franklin Terrazzo was chosen to carry out the detailed project.
The medallion is just one of several design elements that pay tribute to Indigenous communities throughout CITE, a project designed and built by Perkins and Will.
Seneca will celebrate the building’s official grand opening this fall.