WITH FRIENDS OF RUBY
In 2022, Figure3 initiated a partnership with Friends of Ruby, a Toronto-based organization dedicated to supporting 2SLGBTQIA+ youth. The collaboration gained significant momentum in 2023 when Friends of Ruby was announced as the Charity of Choice for the Toronto’s Pride parade, which features over 250 participating groups and in 2019 attracted over 1.5 million attendees. This honour marked a unique opportunity to shine a spotlight on the organization, creating a powerful platform to raise awareness and funds. However, it also posed a challenge that required substantial external support as the organization geared up for the event.
Figure3, leveraging its expertise, stepped in to address the needs for both a parade float and booth. The design and construction of these components demanded a multi-faceted and collaborative approach. Figure3 provided the visual design concepts and design-intent drawings, while Home Depot Canada, Women Who Build Stuff, and Pinewood Studios contributed additional support and materials for the build.
The collaborative vision aimed to craft a booth and float that not only represented Friends of Ruby but also embodied a sense of shelter, security, and tranquility. Being a queer youth organization with a focus on mental health and comprehensive support, the initial theme centered around a Tranquil Garden. Figure3 set out to translate this theme into the design, capturing the essence of the organization’s mission in both form and function.
“We wanted to bring the Friends of Ruby brand visuals to life, and really shine a light on this incredible organization with a float that had a majestic, impactful presence at street level.”
/ Mardi Najafi, VP, Retail Strategy and Design
The float, which was built on a 6’x12’ utility trailer, became a mobile ruby-like structure, an important symbol of strength for Friends of Ruby, that housed Pogi the DJ who kept the energy high. In the booth, the atmosphere was undoubtedly more tranquil, with a comfortable inviting lounge area, ample biophilia and warm ambient lighting to replicate a backyard sanctuary. Friends of Ruby staff and volunteers worked tirelessly to provide resources to passersby and invite them to lounge in the booth with friends to connect, craft and recharge. “Pride weekend can be an incredibly busy and potentially overwhelming experience, especially for youth, so the booth was designed to be a reprieve”, states Mardi Najafi, VP, Retail Strategy and Design at Figure3.
Despite the tight timelines, various moving pieces, and multiple contributors having to come together so quickly, the Friends of Ruby float and booth were a huge success from design to reality. “Both the float and booth were well received by all, and it was a true testament to teamwork and collaboration of everyone involved” notes Darryl Balaski, Principal at Figure3. “We look forward to continuing our partnership and support of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community with Friends of Ruby.”
“We are thankful for Figure3’s unique interpretation, so many people commented that we had one of the best booths at the festival and that our float made a positive impression on people watching the parade. Thank you for partnering with us, for your attention to detail, and supporting the 2SLGBTQIA+ youth we serve” stated a representative from Friends of Ruby.
“It was such an honor to be part of this incredible initiative, and to help bring more awareness and celebration to Friends of Ruby, an organization that’s so dear to our hearts.”
/ Darryl Balaski, Principal