Client: Aspen Properties
Location: Calgary, BC, Canada
Artwork budget: $325,000
Gibbs Gage Architects
Heavy Industries Ltd
Jill Anholt Studio
Emergent takes inspiration from the history of the Canadian Pacific Railway, borrowing elements of blackened rails and wooden ties to create both a place-making sculpture and a welcoming seating area, lit with the classic CPR red.
The work was designed to activate the plaza on one of Calgary's most historic and prominent streets in front of a building that was previously owned by the CPR - the company originally responsible for the discovery of natural gas in Alberta. The goal of the work was to serve as a reminder of the layers of the site's past, whilst creating an iconic and interactive work for the project that celebrates its new future. Seamless integration of the work into the plaza and also its careful orientation so that its reflections could capture the iconic Calgary Tower located across the street were very important to the success of the project.
The artwork was a result of ongoing collaboration process between the client, the architect, the fabricator and the artist throughout the project. The timelines for the completion of the project were very tight so that the work would be installed before the annual Calgary Stampede Parade running alongside building this past summer.
Images of public interactions with the work and in particular selfies with the reflective surface and the Calgary Tower in the background have made this one of the most "instagrammed" sites in Calgary.