Info & Images: courtesy Lightemotion
Photography: Patrick mevel photographe
Responding to the soul of Cartier Avenue in Québec City, Canada, lighting design firm, Lightemotion create an installation of 34 giant backlit lampshades decorated with select works of art from the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec…
From illuminating building façades and interiors in Europe, North America, Asia and Oceania, to conceptualizing this giant light installation that makes Québec “a true international winter capital”, Lightemotion has earned a formidable name for originality and effectiveness of its lighting designs across the globe.
Art and the cozy neighbourhood
With the giant lampshades, the firm aims at capturing the warmth of a neighbourhood life characterized by a strong community spirit. At the same time, the installation needed to be spectacular enough to be an event in itself. The idea of hanging lampshades was a perfect fit as on the one hand, the shape of the lighting fixtures gives the avenue the cozy warmth of a residential interior; while on the other, the large works of art, backlit by LED strips and mounted on circular structures 8 feet across by 5 feet high, are an original urban medium for displaying art.
A flexible concept
Designing the positioning, shape and size of its lampshades so as to compose an environment capable of creating movement in the city, while working within Cartier Avenue’s technical and architectural constraints, Lightemotion has developed a concept of an art gallery floating in space, which could inspire many more such projects around the world.
The city’s major museum of fine arts, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, has helped turn the 34 lampshades into a temporary outdoor art gallery; with a selection of works by Alfred Pellan and Fernand Leduc from its permanent collection and by handling the artistic direction for their reproduction on the giant lighting fixtures. The choice of the two Québécois painters brings Lightemotion’s concept to its full expression, thanks to the graphic-design elements found in the first artist’s work and Leduc’s signature explorations of light.
While the winter exhibition is designed to be temporary (it is scheduled to continue until the end of March), Lightemotion’s creation has the advantage of being flexible. The works mounted on the shades can be easily replaced to feature a different artist or theme every year. That capability suggests a vast range of possibilities for the system of displaying suspended backlit materials, whether it may be art, urban-art competition entries, concert posters or images of different aspects of neighbourhood life. Moreover, the existing project includes provisions for the re-use of the lighting fixtures to create new annual shows for the next five years.
A vehicle for urban identity
The project is part of a master plan proposed by Lightemotion in 2013 to the Office du Tourisme de Québec, which calls for the illumination of several more major arteries. More than a simple street installation, the project is a true vehicle for expressing urban identity. Emphasizing the importance of light for northern cities, the Office du Tourisme de Québec plans to use this type of installation to highlight its tourism programs and promote the city internationally as a winter capital.