Building Magazine


Two design firms chosen to light up winter in Montral

The Quartier des Spectacles Partnership announced the two works to be presented for the fifth annual Luminothérapie event, from December 10, 2014 to February 2, 2015.

Visitors to The Place des Festivals will be dazzled by a giant kaleidoscope called Prismatica by the Toronto architecture firm RAW Design, the first Luminothérapie competition winners from outside Québec. Meanwhile, the Quartier’s eight video projection sites will be lit up by a digital carnival called Fascinoscope devised by Lüz Studio, a Montréal-based visual design studio. There is also a major new development this year: audience interaction will be taken further than ever with a set-up that will allow the public to play games on the projection surface outside the Saint-Laurent metro station.

“Luminothérapie allows us to offer both fertile ground for creators to experiment and a fun experience for Montréalers and visitors,” said Jacques Primeau, chair of the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership’s board of directors. “This year’s works will help create a magical atmosphere in the Quartier des Spectacles this winter, making it a prime destination.”

“I am proud that Montréal’s growing status in the field of creative and digital installations is attracting so much interest from talented creators, who are entering design competitions in impressive numbers. In the process, they are helping Montréal strengthen its position as a UNESCO City of Design. I want to thank the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership and everyone whose ideas and talent are making our cultural metropolis shine, encouraging the emergence of new talent both here and elsewhere,” said Manon Gauthier, the Ville de Montréal’s executive committee member responsible for culture, heritage, design, Space for Life and the status of women.

The winning projects

Prismatica by RAW Design (Toronto)

This immersive installation, comprised of 50 pivoting prisms will transform the Place des Festivals into a colourful ice palace – a giant kaleidoscope through which visitors can wander and observe the Quartier des Spectacles through a new lens. Glimmering under natural light by day or by atmospheric lighting by night, the prisms will create overlapping transparencies, patterns and reflections on their surroundings. Visitors will be able to interact with the installation by turning the giant prisms, causing mesmerizing transformations of countless colours.

The prisms, measuring two metres tall, are made of polycarbonate panels laminated with a dichroic film that transmits and reflects every colour of the visible spectrum, varying with the position of the light source and the observer. The prisms will be mounted on bases that contain light projectors and speakers. As they pivot, they will create polychromatic effects accompanied by an ambient soundtrack. Through the interplay of these various sources of light and sound, magic will emerge.

Fascinoscope by Lüz Studio (Montréal) with soundtrack by XS, la petite boîte à musique

Fascinoscope attempts to create the atmosphere of an early 20th century carnival, remixed for the digital age. Starting at nightfall, eight building façades in the Quartier will come alive with the sights and sounds of a carnival and its attractions, with a unique atmosphere at each of the sites.

The work’s heart is the space outside Saint-Laurent metro station, which will be transformed into an arcade with four interactive games inspired by carnival classics (see descriptions below). For game controls there will be four pear balls fitted with sensors that will measure the balls’ rotation and speed. By hitting the balls, players will interact with the video projection, earn points and try to win the game.

The interactive games

Each game lasts two minutes, with four players maximum

Poulets en cavale: inspired by the classic shooting gallery, this “chicken run” is a game of accuracy. Players must hit the ball at just the right moment to shoot a projectile and knock over the passing chickens.

Les fulgurantes machines volantes: in this flying-machine frenzy, each pear ball corresponds to a hot-air balloon. Players try to make their balloon rise faster than the others by activating the ball controller non-stop.

Le maître de l’illusion: inspired by Whack-a-Mole, the “master of illusion” game depicts 12 magicians’ hats from which items pop up. Players try to use the magic wand, controlled with the pear ball, to make the items disappear.

Le charmeur de serpent: inspired by tests of strength, this snake-charmer game displays wicker baskets from which snakes emerge. Players must make their snake stretch as high as possible to ring a bell.

The carnival theme will be seen throughout the Quartier on seven sets of building façades, where fantastical scenes and optical illusions will be displayed. Each projection will be accompanied by an original soundtrack performed on a mechanical organ, electric bass and drums.

  • Pavillon Président-Kennedy at UQAM will be like a big circus tent, with acrobats performing in a dizzying landscape.
  • Théâtre Maisonneuve will become a magic lantern with a giant carousel on which images unfurl as if on a zoetrope.
  • Hôtel Zéro1 on Place de la Paix will be a theatre of flying machines and other bizarre inventions.
  • The Centre de design at UQAM will feature a Moulin Rouge-style cabaret setting.
  • Cégep du Vieux Montréal will present the hypnotizer, which will enthral passers-by with a series of optical illusions based on spheres and infinite spirals.
  • The UQAM bell tower will feature illusions by a magician who performs a series of amazing conjuring tricks and illusions.
  • The Grande Bibliothèque will become the freak show-inspired Cabinet Bizzaro.

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