Permanent installation made of highway traffic light and steel
24 meters diameter
St. Patrick’s Island in Calgary.
Photos by Thomas Porostocky
Bloom is a light-and-metal sculpture measures 24 meters and installed on St. Patrick’s Island in Calgary. The competition guidelines outlined the necessity for a sculpture that would be visible at night, in order to encourage people to frequent the site, which in recent decades has witnessed a decline in use. I accepted an invitation to participate in this national competition as I very compelled by the site, and could imagine my project contributing to the outstanding work of the landscape architect Barbara Wilks (W Architecture & Landscape Architecture). Wilks describes the site: “The 30-acre Living Island is all about creating a lasting and sustainable set of experiences that will attract a diversity of people, families and groups. Park elements include a new channel and beach, bikeway, new wetland habitat and boardwalk, interactive water feature, picnic areas, play areas and a multi-use space for festivals or markets are carefully positioned in restored natural areas to create a Living Island as an Active Park.”
Bloom has been sited in reference to existing paths throughout the island.Tilted around an elaborate polyhedron, the tall poles extend their extremities in a stellation. Like a burst of rays, the asymmetrically arranged streetlights show all possible directions outward and concentrate strength inward. The projections of light connect the artwork to paths on the island and in turn, create a node or point of focus. By illuminating important routes, the radiant shape helps the urban dweller orient themselves within the city.
The sculpture introduces oblique lines in the landscape by folding the existing cityscape. Bloom can be experienced from afar as a landmark and point of orientation. Equally compelling is the way Bloom is anchored to the ground extending its arms, embracing the sky. The configuration of Bloom’s three supporting limbs liberates the ground in and around the sculpture. Rather than occupying a set area, commandeering the ground space, Bloom instead creates a vibrant locale for congregation, interaction, and possibility in allowing people to make use of the space underneath and around the sculpture.