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Public art ‘Blooms’ in Calgary; vote on your favourite design

Watch above: You could soon be seeing the northern lights in a downtown underpass, or a giant flower on Saint Patrick’s Island. Here’s Doug Vaessen with a few unique art projects underway in Calgary.

CALGARY – Two new public art projects are underway in Calgary, and the city wants your opinion on one of the designs.

The 4th Street S.W. Underpass Enhancement Project is asking for online input from the public on three of its preliminary designs. Marc Boutin’s architectural collaborative and artist Krzysztof Wodiczko focused on creating a unique pedestrian experience that would use durable materials appropriate for a “winter city.” The enhancement is part of the broader Centre City Underpass Enhancement Program, hoping to improve connections between the Beltline and downtown neighbourhoods.

Take a look at the three designs as presented on the City of Calgary, then head to its website for more information and to provide your feedback on which you like best. The city is asking for input until May 26, and the final design will be decided in June.

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Here are two angles of Design 1, which uses “light-reflecting and refracting elements that are strategically located to create shifting light and shadow,” according to the website. The animation is activated by people moving through the space.

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Design 1 of the 4 Street Underpass. City of Calgary
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Another angle of Design 1 of the 4 Street Underpass. City of Calgary

Here are two angles of Design 2, which involves light “trailing slightly behind” visitors at night, and more intense lights when there are couples or groups of people.

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Design 2 of the 4 Street Underpass. City of Calgary
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Another angle of Design 2 of the 4 Street Underpass. City of Calgary

Here are two angles of Design 3, which uses reflective objects to project light and sound from the overpasses below to the underpasses. “Moving beneath the bridge, glimpses of the activity on the overpasses above are projected below,” says the website.

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Design 3 of the 4 Street Underpass. City of Calgary
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Another angle of Design 3 of the 4 Street Underpass. City of Calgary

Another art project underway in Calgary is called “Bloom” by Canadian artist Michel de Broin. It’s part of the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation’s (CMLC) revitalization of St. Patrick’s Island. The 23-metre tall sculpture is made of streetlights put together to represent a towering flower. The piece is currently being assembled in Montreal (see photo below) but will be shipped to Calgary in time for the park’s grand re-opening set for this summer.

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Michel de Broin, photo by Lafontaine Ironwerks

The $500,000 allocated to the “Bloom” art installation was part of the $20 million budget for St. Patrick’s Island redevelopment program.

The artist said he was “inspired by the encounter between the natural landscape of the park and the urban cityscape.”

“The monumental sculpture of streetlights blossomed, softly awakening the island and watching over it at night. Like the flower, the monumentality of the lights lies in sharp contrast to the delicacy of the stems, filaments and petals,” said de Broin in a release.

With files from Doug Vaessen

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