The latest evidence of the Kitchener–Waterloo region’s ongoing tech boom takes the form of a permanent art installation in one of its newest office buildings. Looking to build on the region’s momentum, Perimeter Development Corporation recently commissioned Toronto’s Dubbeldam Architecture + Design to bring something “funky, dynamic and bold” to the lobby of 345 King West.
The studio responded with Binary Spectrum, a cloud-like mass of colourful acrylic discs that stream down like binary code. While the futuristic showpiece was initially developed using parametric digital modelling tools, the physical outcome also harks back to Kitchener’s roots as a manufacturing town by tapping into custom fabrication.
In total, the piece encompasses 8,000 plastic discs — each cut by the team at Sixpenny Architectural Fabrication and threaded onto one of 650 steel wires that terminate in weighted tungsten fishing sinkers. To prepare for installation, these discs were then packed into individual bags labelled with Battleship-like coordinates. Once on-site, each cable was hung from its corresponding section of a metal grid structure painted white to blend in with the ceiling above.
The longest strands extend more than two-thirds of the way down the three-storey atrium. “We wanted to optimize the volume of the installation, but we needed to make sure that someone couldn’t just pull down the art,” says studio principal Heather Dubbeldam. She knew they’d found the perfect height when the firm’s design director (and occasional basketball player) Scott Sampson couldn’t reach the strands on his highest jumps.
To round out the project, Dubbeldam sourced stools from Muuto and sculptural seating from Tacchini that mimic icebergs — a natural vantage point for the technicolour rainstorm overhead.
While the strands are placed far enough apart to avoid any possible entanglements, they gently sway with the movement of people in the lobby. The discs themselves also change appearance from circular to linear based on a viewer’s perspective. In this way, the shape-shifting piece recalls Kitchener–Waterloo itself: a region in motion.
Dubbeldam created the shape-shifting art installation Binary Spectrum for Perimeter Development Corporation’s new office lobby.