Giant Lampshades Create Spectacular Urban Lighting in Quebec City By Lightemotion
Currently on Cartier Avenue in Quebec City, 34 giant backlit lampshades, decorated with selected works by Alfred Pellan and Fernand Leduc from the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, are hanging over the street. The installation is an original concept by Lightemotion, the lighting design firm that illuminates building façades and interiors in Europe, North America, Asia and Oceania.
“Our major challenge was to respect the soul of Cartier Avenue, while being bold enough to create a world-class project that would help make Quebec City a true international winter capital,” said François Roupinian, founder and president of Lightemotion.
Art and the cozy neighbourhood
Aiming to capture the identity of Cartier Avenue, Lightemotion sought a lighting concept that could express 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 for those objectives. On the one hand, the shape of the lighting fixtures gives the avenue the cozy warmth of a residential interior. On the other hand, the large artworks, backlit by LED strips and mounted on circular structures 8 feet across by 5 feet high, are an original urban medium for displaying art.
Conceived from the idea of neighbourhood life, Lightemotion developed a concept of an art gallery floating in space, which could inspire many more such projects around the world.
A flexible concept
Lightemotion designed 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.
The city’s major museum of fine arts, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, helped turn the 34 lampshades into a temporary outdoor art gallery. The museum selected works by Alfred Pellan and Fernand Leduc from its permanent collection and handled 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 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.
The Société de développement commercial du quartier Montcalm (the neighbourhood’s business improvement association), in collaboration with the municipality, the Office du Tourisme and the Musée des beaux-arts, commissioned Lightemotion to design the master plan’s first lighting component for Cartier Steet. 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.
Lightemotion, illuminating the world
Lightemotion’s founder, Montreal native François Roupinian, IALD, has built a multidisciplinary and multicultural team capable of working in any of five languages. the better to execute projects around the world. After initially specializing in performing arts and multimedia, Lightemotion has extended its expertise into architectural and museum lighting.
Thanks to that expertise, in equal measures technical and creative, Lightemotion has become a global leader in the field of architectural lighting design. The originality and effectiveness of its lighting designs have been realized in Canada, Europe, the United States, Asia, the Middle East, New Zealand and Australia and have earned the firm an outstanding global reputation.
The company’s services include everything from architectural illumination for cultural institutions (the Strasbourg museum, the National Museum of Singapore, the Museum of Natural History in Leyde, Netherlands, the Automotive Museum in Turin, the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Canada Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo in 2010…), and hospitality and retail (the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, 45 Birks jewellery stores across North America, the shopping concourse at Complexe Desjardins in Montreal, the Star City Theatre and Resort in Sydney, the Ritz Carlton hotel and private residences in Montreal.
Recently, Lightemotion created the lighting design for the Indian Heritage Centre in Singapore and for the Train World railroad museum in Brussels. In Toronto, the firm produced the lighting design for the Great Gulf Idea Centre and for the new headquarters of the Globe and Mail newspaper. In Dubai, the company completed the second phase of interior lighting for the Burj Khalifa tower. The firm also produces architectural and urban design lighting master plans and is currently working on the lighting master plan for the Parliamentary Precinct in Ottawa and Education City in Qatar.
Photography: Patrick mevel photographe