An architecture firm more accustomed to creating superb performance spaces than taking centre stage unveils Windscape at the Luminato Festival (June 8-17) in Toronto.
Diamond Schmitt Architects won the Festival’s design competition to transform David Pecaut Square into Festival Hub, where free programming from world beat and symphonic concerts to galleries and talks with influential artists will take place over the ten-day event.
An architectural team of Michael Leckman, Brad Hindson, Marcin Sztaba and Jack Diamond created Windscape. “The design takes inspiration from the wind and harnesses both naturally occurring and artificial breezes to shape and affect the entire space,” says Michael Leckman, principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects. A wide band of ribbon over 200 metres long sweeps through the square to embrace the stage, enlivening the public space and drawing attention to the Hub from the neighbouring streets.
“The intent is to make people aware of the space in a way they hadn’t thought about before, just as Luminato invites people to experience the city in new ways – artistically, emotionally, intellectually,” adds Jack Diamond, principal with Diamond Schmitt Architects.
At Windscape’s centre is an array of programmable windsocks, each more than three metres long with their own fan and LED lights. Created in collaboration with artist Mitchell F. Chan, these nine interactive sculptures swivel and rotate, swell and deflate, all while changing in colour and intensity. The result is a synchronized ballet of wind and colour programmed by choreographers and set to music performed at Luminato.
“Windscape is the first in hopefully a long series of annual designs for the Luminato Hub realized by leading architects of our time,” says Jorn Weisbrodt, artistic director of Luminato. “It aims to re-think and transform public space and the way the citizens of Toronto perceive their city.”
Also at Luminato, Donald Schmitt, Principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects, will be in discussion with Luminato artist-in-residence Dan Bergeron about art, architecture and the unique challenges of public installations and the role of creativity in shaping communities. This Lunchtime Illuminations talk takes places Thursday, June 14, at noon at The Hub.
Diamond Schmitt Architects (www.dsai.ca ) is among the world’s top ten design firms for the cultural sector. An award-winning portfolio of opera houses, concert halls, libraries, academic, research and residential buildings includes Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, La Maison Symphonique de Montréal and the New Mariinsky Theatre under construction in St. Petersburg, Russia.