Montreal has long been known as the ”city of a hundred steeples”. Through the heart of this northern metropolis, ATOMIC3 has scattered Éclats de verre: a giant shattered stained-glass window reorganised into a playful maze that offers a unique immersive experience to its visitors, and a colourful panorama to passersby.
Winner of the Créer l’hiver competition, Éclats de verre is one of three works that make up Luminothérapie 2012. The goal of this event produced by the Partenariat du Quartier des Spectacles in Montreal is to beat the winter blues, using interactive light-based installations.
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Éclats de verre transforms Place Émilie-Gamelin, located in the Latin Quarter, into a field of vibrant hues. Passersby are invited to enter a maze of 60 panes of multicoloured glass that comes alive when touched by sunlight.
When night falls, spotlights take over, illuminating the esplanade with shifting multicoloured reflections. Across the square, the massive façade of Hotel des Gouverneurs becomes the backdrop for video projections, while the three sculptures by Melvin Charney overlooking the square to the north are bathed in light.
The spotlights guide visitors to the centre of the installation, where two glowing cubes await on a raised terrace. Set on pivoting bases equipped with sensors, the cubes are designed to affect the site’s lighting, soundscape and video projections. By simply moving them about, visitors can transform their immediate surroundings.
The video projections highlight the architectural features of Hotel des Gouverneurs, giving visitors a chance to reshape its monolithic structure. In deconstructing the façade of this building overlooking the square, they take their lead from Charney, who used façade elements from the surrounding buildings to create his three sculptures.
Félix Dagenais, Louis-Xavier Gagnon-Lebrun and Eric Gautron founded ATOMIC3 for Éclats de verre. The three performing arts designers conceived a unique work that makes light of the winter doldrums with a display of lively colours, invites spectators into its midst and gives them the opportunity to take back a too-often ignored public space.
Designers:ATOMIC3 – Félix Dagenais, Louis-Xavier Gagnon-Lebrun, Eric Gautron
Produced by: Michel Granger
Team: Les Ateliers Numériques – Philippe Jean, interactive system; Jean-Sébastien Côté, sound design; Alexis Rivest, video programming; VYV corporation, image display and processing system
Location: Place Émilie-Gamelin, Montreal, Canada
Client: Partenariat du Quartier des Spectacles
Year: Winter 2011-2012
Area: 4,645 sqm
Photographs: Martine Doyon, Jean-Sébastien Côté, Louis-Xavier Gagnon-Lebrun
Project description provided by ATOMIC3.