Speech Bubble

Submitted by Eventscape

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Client: Pinnacle International / Mondiale Development Ltd

Location: Toronto, ON, Canada

Completion date: 2015

Project Team

Industry Resource

Eventscape Inc.

Artist

Jennifer Marman, Daniel Borins and James Khamsi

Implosion Media

Artist

Dan Browne, Gordon Douglas Ball, Talia Shipman

Art Consultant

Public Art Management

Client

Pinnacle International / Mondiale Development Ltd

Landscape Architect

Janet Rosenberg & Studio

Overview

Located in the heart of Toronto’s Entertainment District, this public art commission entitled “Speech Bubble” is an ever-changing public art show. Standing 20 feet tall by 17 feet wide, the sculpture was built of a structural steel frame, with aluminum fascia trim paneling to enclose an enormous LED display screen.

Goals

The artists transformed a standard LED screen into a speech bubble through the clever use of a custom-designed and shaped frame. While the shape of the sculpture is a speech bubble as seen in cartoon and comic book drawings, the content of the work plays back abstract animated videos – an ironic commentary on the spoken and unspoken. It provides a focal point in the urban plaza in downtown Toronto. Cantilevered atop an inverted triangle that forms the neck of the speech bubble, the screen becomes part of an animated sculpture: its unique structure unifying form with function.

Process

Designed by Jennifer Marman, Daniel Borins and James Khamsi, Eventscape's role was to engineer, fabricate and install the structure. The large size and 9,000 lb. total weight of this sculpture provided unique challenges during fabrication and installation. During fabrication, Eventscape’s cranes were used to move the structure within the fabrication facility. Fabricated and assembled in sections and then mechanically fastened together in panels, the entire substructure was galvanized to protect the hollow structural steel frame.

Shipping of the LED screen was done in 3 sections as this was the largest that could be shipped. Once it was joined, and electrical wiring complete, it could not be lain flat. Thus a separate A-frame structure was built and attached to the speech bubble’s side. This support remained on until installation, to keep the 4.5-ton top upright.

A special low flat bed truck was used to transport both top and bottom sections to downtown Toronto, avoiding any overhead obstructions for the ten-foot high load. Coordinating with the police force to allow lane closures for the installation, a crane was used to lift each section off the truck. All electrical was connected through a conduit provided by the condominium developer.

Additional Information

The additional landscaping, reflective pool and surrounding multilevel seating areas designed by Janet Rosenberg & Studio provide a space for the public to relax and engage.