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Montreal’s Luminous Pathway: a High-Tech Public Art Exhibition

Philips Lighting blogger Monique Cousineau visits Canadian city Montreal’s high-tech public art exhibitions. For details please see the full blog entry below:

Montreal does it again. The city has found the best antidote to long, dark and grey winters. It’s the fourth annual “Luminothérapie”, a design competition that promotes new ways of using public spaces as open-air galleries. This year’s winning project Entre les rangs is one of two installations chosen from among 44 submissions.

From December 11 to February 2, the Luminous Pathway in the heart of the city is transformed into an illuminated futuristic wheat field created by a multidisciplinary team led by the Kanva architecture firm. Inspired by the wind and by history, the team produced a large-scale urban metaphor for a wheat field in rural Quebec, one made of more than 28,500 plastic rods topped with simple white bicycle reflectors. In the winter wind, bathed in reflected light, the stylized stems sway as they would in a blustery wheat field.

Luminous Pathway designed by architecture firm Kanva. (LEDinside/ Philips Lighting)

Anchored in recycled plastic posts, the stems measuring 3½ to 5-feet-tall are arranged closely together and topped with a simple old-fashioned bicycle reflector that catches the light emitted from overhead colored lamps. The colors move with the wind as music plays. When the wind picks up the sound emanating from speakers, hidden at street level, gets louder giving the impression of a moving melody.

A man walking in the Entres les rangs of the Luminous Pathway. (LEDinside/ Philips Lighting)

The Entre les rangs field is laid out in a series of slightly curved lines with breaks every now and then creating a path for people to walk through. The 6-foot-wide aisles are perfect for strolling side by side or for walking through alone. As you stand among the luminous stalks, you hear an all-new melodies from Montreal own prize-winning musician Patrick Watson.

Quartier des Spectactles year-round artistic video prejections. (LEDinside/ Philips Lighting)

Also, the eight building façades in Quartier des Spectacles (Entertainment district) used for year-round artistic video projections will be lit up throughout the Luminothérapie event by a playful series of projections called Trouve Bob, by the CHAMPAGNE CLUB SANDWICH collective.

Trouve Bob (Find Bob) is a large scale animated game that uses the city as a screen. By reimagining the popular game Where’s Waldo the creators have designed and produced a lively and colorful diversion that brings the same fun energy to Montreal’s winter that we usually get during summer festival season.

“The eight sets of Quartier des Spectacles projection façades light up with the fantastical world of a nutty character accompanied by an odd assortment of adorable companions. The public is asked to find Bob, lurking somewhere in the outlandish background of the eight dynamic scenes. This city-scale game makes connections between the buildings in Quartier des Spectacles used as projection surfaces by presenting a series of animations with an exciting mix of formats, graphic compositions, colours and levels of difficulty.”

Quartier des Spectactles year-round artistic video prejections. (LEDinside/ Philips Lighting)

After you’ve found Bob and ran through the illuminated wheat field, you realize that winter in Montreal is like no other. It is unexpected, cleverly high-tech fun in the heart of this vibrant and creative city. Click here for video of Luminothérapie 2013-2014.

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