“The Old Market Square Stage”, (otherwise known as “The Cube”) is an open-air performance venue situated in Old Market Square, an iconic green space and summer festival hub in Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District. In 2009, 5468796 Architecture won an invited competition with a multi-functional design that throws out the old bandshell concept on the grounds that when a conventional stage is not in use it would look forlorn – especially through the city’s long winters.
A concrete cube enclosed by a flexible metal membrane, The Cube functions as a multipurpose environment. The membrane is composed of 20,000 identical hollow aluminum pieces strung together on aircraft cables. The orientation of the pieces alternates, forming a flexible and shimmering curtain – a contemporary take on medieval chain mail, that can stand like a wall, be pulled in to reveal the performance space, or function as a light-refracting surface – allowing it to morph into a projection screen, performance venue, shelter or sculptural object. The curtain’s flexibility also allows for acoustical fine tuning.
Internal lighting refracts through the mesh so that the The Cube softly glows on the outside. An internal projector also enables images to be projected on the front curtain. The membrane’s diamond extrusions capture and refract light and images to their outer surface, creating a unique pixel matrix for artists to appropriate at will.