Lead Firm: Claude Cormier et Associés
Completion: June 2017
18 Shades of Gay, a 1-kilometre-long ribbon-like installation of 180,000 multicoloured resin balls suspended over Sainte-Catherine Street East—n the Gay Village of Montreal—is part of the transformation of the street into a pedestrian mall during the summer. The unexpected, joyful, and positive experience it creates has become the symbol of the Village. By integrating the community into its implementation, consequently facilitating a sense of belonging for the residents, the entire project has added a strong appeal among both locals and tourists, becoming a catalyst for economic and social development in the neighbourhood.
“Urban design often considers the public realm and streets as a series of outdoor rooms. The ‘floors’ (roadways and sidewalks) and ‘walls’ (enclosing building frontages) are usually the design focus. This imaginative project expands and refines a previous “ceiling“ of glowing pink balls strung over Saint Catherine St. East to delineate and enhance Montreal’s Gay Village.
"18 Shades of Gay more than met the criteria for this award— as a positive contribution to the public realm, exemplifying design excellence and innovation. The “ceiling“ of this 1 km outdoor room has been transformed into a full rainbow spectrum signifying gay pride. It defines the Gay Village, adds to 24-hour activity, supports the local economy, and successfully elevates an otherwise nondescript urban environment."
"While it is impossible to replicate the immediate impact and novelty of the original Ste-Catherine “Pink Balls” scheme, this second iteration is more finely executed and addresses a broader range of concerns implied in the design of a permanent urban streetscape infrastructure. The degree of community involvement is commendable, as is the extensive planning developed for the project’s continued financing, management, and implementation."