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Supporting the arts at Papier 11

Exteriors, Features | January 1, 2013 | By:

An architectural installation enhances the event’s rental tent.

The annual Papier art event is organized by AGAC (Association des galeries d’art contemporain), a not-for-profit organization whose primary mandate is to further the recognition and prosperity of the contemporary art market in Canada. Papier 11, which ran in 2011, was held in Montréal’s Quartier des spectacles district. With an extremely limited budget, the AGAC found the only economically feasible solution under which to hold the event was to use a standard rental tent. The Quartier des spectacles, first-time hosts of this type of structure on their grounds, were somewhat reluctant and worried about the visual image the structure would project. Because the tent would sit at the junction of two main arteries, AGAC was looking for a highly attractive and visible installation.

Sollertia was charged with creating an architectural installation to enhance the rental tent and create a signature mark for the event without losing sight of the artistic philosophy of the Quartier des spectacles. Sollertia’s inspired design plays with the imagery of paper and the event’s urban setting, placing two grided black walls like bookends on two of the tent’s four sides, framing the entryways on opposite ends. The two entryway walls, each measuring 15m in length by 5m in height, are comprised of scaffolding covered with a black PVC mesh onto which are welded rectangular pieces of white PVC, each measuring 8.5 in. by 11 in.

Sollertia produced detailed drawings for use at its fabrication workshop to help them affix as efficiently and as precisely as possible the 1,000 sheets of white PVC needed. Despite the fact that the rental tent, measuring 25m by 40m, was to be up for only three days, the walls still had to conform to all existing building codes and public safety standards, and resist wind loads of 100kph. The scaffolding ballast was calculated accordingly.

The white rectangles represent common everyday paper fixed in a regular pattern over several rows and columns. Giving a nod to city life, to downtown building façades and to the Cartesian grid of the city, the white sheets create a uniform texture leaving the façades neutral with the ultimate focus on the art, as it should.

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