The Blue Room is a permanent public art project installed along College Street in Toronto, Ontario. Three installations are located at successive NW corners off of the main street anchoring new ‘Parkettes’ that were installed as part of a wider neighbourhood streetscaping project. Conceived of as one art piece, the three locations are identified separately as Garden, Storefront and Living Room. The installations although similar in size and execution, adapt, highlight and react differently to the particularities of their respective locations.
The project arose as a response to a call for artists issued for integrated art proposals to be developed for the ongoing street enhancement project. The proposed installation was conceived as an art piece that offers a multitude of readings and experiences at varying scales, points of reference and perspectives. Three of the proposed six ‘parkettes’ were identified for the installations, set at the same orientation to the main street, unifying the individual components into one cohesive art piece across several city blocks.
The installation utilizes a colour, in pigment and light, to imply a new set of spaces. These spaces are implied and nestled within the new ‘parkettes’, within the neighbourhood, within the city. The volume of space is defined on the sidewalk by the application of ‘blue’ on all ground, wall and utility and support elements within a set parameter. At a large scale, the installations act as signifiers or gateways along the length of the BIA, visible by pedestrian and vehicular passerby. At a smaller scale, each installation anchors and identifies the respective ‘parkette’ creating an urban stage or interiority. At the immediate scale, the colour, textures and light are experienced as a distinct condition momentarily removed from the adjacent context while highlighting its particularities.
By day, the pigment codifies background material into a new singular, highlighting the basic material fabric of the city and drawing attention to the elements that most take for granted on a normal basis. By night, the spaces are amplified in light that fills the implied volume. Lighting that is matched to the pigment on the surfaces fights to cancel out the perceived colour and creates a soft ambiguous atmosphere and an impalpable reading of the surfaces infused within. Background fully becomes foreground and all relationships become reversed. People and elements that intersect the space enter the colour itself and fold into the foreground/background oscillation.