Jason Bruges Studio has been commissioned by award-winning Canadian developer Tridel to design and build a highly innovative interactive art installation. It will permanently reside in a privately owned, publically accessible park as part of Tridel’s 300 Front Street West condominium development, which is currently under construction in Toronto’s busy downtown entertainment district.

The piece is entitled ‘Front to Back’, which relates to its location on Front Street, nearby to the city’s historic waterfront and to Lake Ontario that exposes the city to dramatic weather fronts all year round.

‘Front to Back’, is due to be launched in Autumn 2014, and will consist of an array of monolithic granite structures that sense changing levels of light within the park in real-time. People walk through the park, trees shift and the sun moves across the site, casting dynamic shadows onto the monoliths. These shadows are sensed by the artwork and transferred through the depth of the granite structure to reveal animated silhouettes on the opposite side.

Each of the monoliths measure three meters tall, 60cm wide and 20cm deep. Images are revealed by controlling an array of LED lights, which are diffused by glass lenses embedded within the stone. The aim is to create an enjoyable and dynamic experience for pedestrians, which reflects the changing weather fronts that envelop the city.

Unique analogue electronic printed circuit boards (PCBs) have been developed for use inside the artwork. Each individual LED/sensor node across the face of the granite monolith works autonomously, both sensing and emitting unique levels of light simultaneously. Imagery emerges from the combined behaviour of each individual LED node.

The installation will be able to detect static shadows from buildings, light and shade resulting from different times of day and seasonal changes, as well as dynamic movement from surrounding people and trees. Jason Bruges Studio took inspiration from the characteristic lake effect ‘weather fronts’ experienced in Toronto; weather boundaries that separate two masses of air of different densities, that dramatically affect the city’s climate all year round.

The structural framework has been put through a rigorous programme of accelerated weather testing, related to extreme site conditions characteristic of Toronto. Freeze thaw cycles, accelerated weathering and surface wind loading were tested at a UK materials laboratory to inform the development of material joints, structural details and electronic PCBs that can withstand extreme weather cycles over many years outdoors.

Molly Price, Project Designer at Jason Bruges Studio, commented: “It has been fantastic to work creatively with Tridel in response to the exciting new development on site at 300 Front Street. ‘Front to Back’ is designed to reflect the vibrancy of downtown Toronto and to provide an enjoyable way for pedestrians to interact with their surroundings by viewing and creating light and shadow effects within the park.”

The natural materials used, including the robust granite for the monoliths and sedimentary limestone for the surrounding pavement connect with Tridel’s history: the company was established by stone mason Jack DelZotto in 1927 who was renowned for building beautifully crafted homes for families in Canada. Jason Bruges Studio is echoing that history in stone work by generating long lasting and memorable structures.

About Jason Bruges Studio:

Jason Bruges Studio, formed in April 2002, designs and builds interactive and engaging installations across three key sectors; architecture, art and brands. The studio produces innovative and engaging spaces that connect people with their surrounding environments. Based in Old Street, London, the company has a design studio and workshop in-house, and has recently expanded to include a team in New York.

The Studio is a multi-disciplinary and experienced collective of creative architects, lighting designers, electrical and mechanical engineers, programmers, industrial designers and a high calibre management team, who all collaborate to develop highly innovative and pioneering spaces for clients. Each project features a bespoke, individual design that combines high levels of environmental awareness and technical skill.

Most recent Jason Bruges Studio projects include the spectacular Aerial Dynamics installation in Coca-Cola’s pavilion at the Olympic Park and the Mercedes Benz Drive Thru pop-up at Selfridges, in partnership with Bompas & Parr, for London Fashion Week 2012. Among the Studio’s international portfolio are projects such as an interactive artwork in a shopping mall in Shenyang, China, a public artwork for a new development in Toronto, Canada, four Olympic Games installations in London, and an interactive lounge at San Diego airport.