Inflorescence was commissioned by the City of Ottawa’s Public Art Program, for OC-Transpo’s new Customer Service Centre, at 925 Belfast Road. Serving as a busy open office and call-centre environment, the facility house’s customer services, multiple booking operations, and Para Transpo’s administration offices. The art work therefore needed to be accessible, both in its imagery and placement, to people working and visiting the building every day.
Based on the Chlorophytum comosum, commonly known as the Spider plant, Inflorescence consists of five suspended, lightweight sculptures made out of hand-cut, hammered and riveted copper. Each sculpture has a distinct form: some consist of a profusion of clumped curving leaf-like forms, others are more minimal in construction. Plantlet elements range in diameter from as small as 0.5 meter/19.5 inches to as large as 1 meter/39 inches. Starting from the ceiling, the average vertical length of the series of sculptures measures 1.4 meters/55 inches.
The first sculpture is located in the vestibule area, near the client services reception desk, aligned with the panes of glass above the two sets of entryway doors. The four others are located along the central corridor, each aligned with one of the four windows. The siting of Inflorescence accentuates the breadth of the open ceiling spaces, different public interior areas, as well as provides visual access to the art work for people working and moving through different parts of the building.
Technology plays a central role in the facility, in particular the multiple suspended screens with their constantly changing information located throughout. Another shifting element is the combination of natural and artificial light in the building due to the generous size and placement of windows on the lower level of the building. The art work’s richly coloured and textured copper surfaces absorb and reflect these varying light conditions. With its dynamic and organic three-dimensional imagery, Inflorescence serves as a counterbalance to the work environment.
Photos by Justin Wonnacott