Client: Blue Cross Manitoba
Location: Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Completion date: 2007
Artwork budget: $70,000
Carther Studio Inc.
Lead Interior Designer
Stantec Architecture Ltd.
Head Studio Assistant
Carther Studio Inc.
“Prairie Blue Horizon”, is a multi-layered carved glass wall. It was carved and shaped using abrasive blast technology. The colours were applied by various techniques including bonding coloured glass layers with optically clear adhesives. The sculpted glass responds to its architectural environment through its use of colour and light. Additionally, it references the prairie landscape and the function of the building as the headquarters of the Manitoba Blue Cross.
I wanted the piece to reflect the prairie landscape and the function of the building as the headquarters of the Manitoba Blue Cross without resorting to visual clichés.
Though the glass wall is primarily abstract, it has strong landscape imagery with the prairie horizon line dominating the composition. The large cut opening in the front layer of glass reveals a second layer of glass with a field of blue crosses on its surface. The blue crosses are in the form of the iconic Blue Cross logo but are distressed and flawed reflecting the imperfections in human life.
The designer Cindy Rodych and myself discussed the space and what the significant aspects of the space were before I began my drawings. These discussions were helpful in developing the design and concept of the work.
Light plays a significant role in this work. The piece has a western exposure, creating diffused even light. However, when the sun reaches the west, later in the day, intriguing things happen. Direct sun projects ghostlike blue crosses onto to the lip of the cut opening and dramatic horizontal shadows cover the work due to the exterior metal louvers. The interaction of projected light and shadow was a consideration in the design and adds poetry to the piece.