new and improved
Pink Balls, designed by landscape architect Claude Cormier, is an installation made up of 170 000 pink balls suspended over 1 km of St. Catherine St. E in the Montreal Gay Village during the summer season when this stretch of St. Catherine is yielded into a pedestrian mall. Fastened to wires that are strung out through the trees at different hight, Pink Balls is composed of three different size pink resin balls producing a five-tone hue. Pink Balls can be seen from crossroads as well as from the Jacques Cartier Bridge, an important gateway to the city. In addition to experiencing an unusual and upbeat visual impression that is created night and day, one relishes in a light modulated by artificial foliage.
By including the community into the project since its first edition in 2011, Pink Balls has been a driving force for the development of this neighbourhood struggling with significant social and economic challenges. Year after year, this has evolved into concrete actions that have improved the neighbourhood’s quality of life physically and socially, increasing, among other things, its attractiveness among locals and tourists.
Since its inception, the project has yielded many economic benefits. We have seen, among other things, an increase in business activity expanding commercial services and customer base. By physically defining the limits of the Village, Pink Balls has created a strong brand image attracting international media attention boosting tourism and its reputation. Pink Balls is now one of the many sites visited by the Tour de ville double-decker bus tour.
Pink Balls is also a driver for many art and design events. Every summer, the work of the landscape architect inspires new actions propelling the project into new directions and new forms creating an equally structuring impact. Pink Balls offers a flat out colourful adventure in the heart of the Village. Under a very tight 7-day deadline at the beginning of summer, Pink Balls was assembled just in time for the first strollers.
The installation shows how the persuasive landscape architect with an innovative concept that meets, in a creative way, the standards governing public domain (security, firefighters, function, etc.) can revive the prospect of urban communities by giving them, among other things, control over the outcome of their development.
Claude Cormier et Associés inc, Montréal, Landscape Architect and Urban Design
Claude Cormier studied History & Theory of Design at Harvard University, Landscape Architecture at the University of Toronto, and Agronomy at the University of Guelph. Establishing an office in Montreal in 1995, Cormier’s internationally recognized practice extends far beyond the conventional realm of traditional landscape design to forge bridges between urban design, public art, and architecture. Cormier’s landscapes are likewise anything but conventional, celebrating the artificial and surreptitiously altering reality with the surreal. Boldly using color, pattern and texture to translate his subversive humour and irreverent yet mindful attitude toward history into joyful spaces, Claude Cormier’s inherent optimism shines through his seriously playful creations.
Over the year, the firm had received 74 recognition and awards. In 2010 the Harvard University Graduate School of Design organised an exclusive retrospective exhibition of the firm. In 2009, Cormier received the Knight of the Ordre National du Quebec, the province’s highest distinction for individuals who have contributed to the development and leadership of Quebec. Cormier was also selected as an Emerging Voice for North America by the Architectural League of New York, as well as one of 14 international designers advancing the design field by Fast Company magazine. More recently, Claude Cormier et Associés was selected by Phaidon Press to appear in a publication collecting the groundbreaking works of 30 internationally acclaimed Landscape architecture studios from around the world.