Currently under construction, Concert’s Salt condominium in downtown Vancouver is set to complete in spring 2014. Part of this now sold out development will be an innovative public art installation that will further differentiate Salt from its neighbours and help to make a mark on the city.
At the outset of this process, a group of artists were invited to develop artwork proposals for Salt which would serve to add visual interest as well as engage and activate the public realm. The winning concept from Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovksy entails the installation of CNC-cut, metal type which would run vertically on Salt’s northwest corner to spell the phrase “we must cultivate our garden”. This phrase, the closing line in Voltaire’s most famous book, was chosen for “the slipperiness of this famously enigmatic phrase” and how it “…hovers between idealism and pragmatism, between optimism and world-weariness, wherein each term lends itself to multiple, conflicting readings. This phrase is an invitation to think about how we relate to each other and to our environment.”
The three dimensional letters will utilize a font designed by the artists, evoking the latticework of a trellis which serves visually connect to the quote’s garden reference. Another interesting element of this work will be the variable spacing between the words, decreasing as the words get closer to the ground. While the decision to employ variable spacing was made for many reasons, the most notable is how this treatment will compensate for the optical illusion of perspective. Because of the effect of perspective, standing on the ground closer to the building and looking up at the phrase make the higher words compress back together again.
Concert is excited to be able to integrate a dynamic piece of public art at Salt, and has similar plans for other developments currently in the planning phases.