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The Project

The commission of this public artwork followed The City’s standard process of industry best practices which included initiating an international open call to artists and tasking a project-specific jury (of three art and/or design professionals, a community representative and one City representative) to select the artist from proposals.

Title of Artwork: Luminous Crossings
Artist: Cliff Garten Studios
Site: City Hall LRT Station (Macleod Trail & Third St. S.E.) and Downtown West - Kerby LRT Station (10th/11th St. on Seventh Ave. S.W.)
Public Art Budget: $1.8M
Commissioning Unit: Transportation Department
Capital Project: Seventh Avenue Refurbishment
Project Completion: December 2013​​​​​​​​

Photo Credit - Design Cause​



Luminous Crossings is a multi-component public artwork that provides visual continuity along the Seventh Avenue Corridor and act as an anchor of interest for those entering and leaving the core. Marking the free fare zone, it references the interchange of people and events along the corridor, and showcases the luminosity of the sculptures in daylight and the cross curves of spectral colours that are part of the night-time LED lighting component. The sculpture is interactive in that the changing colours are timed to the arrival and departure of the trains, which acts as a visual cue and creates a common language for the light rail rider, and contributes to an identity for the street.

Luminous Crossings is a subtly engineered interaction of material and light. When the spectral LED light is projected at the surface of the brushed stainless steel, it shatters into other spectral colours. This phenomenon is linked to the images and sequences of rail travel. The idea of steel tracks that make connections between places and people is exemplified by images of tracks that cross, creating diamonds and other shapes.

This multi-component artwork includes 20 discrete sculptures - two large-scale towers, plus three hanging works, on each of the four station platforms. The standing sculptures are more than 25' feet tall, have a small footprint of 36", yet expand to five feet wide across the top. This allows the sculptures to have maximum impact while allowing for activities to flow easily around them. The sculptures address the scale of the street by acting as an intermediate height between the tall buildings and the pedestrian level, and employ transparency as a key feature which allows the urbanity of the environment to come through. The illuminated hanging sculptures (inspired by the chandeliers in the Palliser Hotel) in each of the station canopies change the dynamic of the outdoor platforms, and bring to mind a lobby or living room as a metaphor for entering the city's core.


The Artist

Cliff Garten has completed more than 50 sculptures throughout the U.S. and Canada in collaboration with significant architecture, landscape architecture and engineering projects. Garten’s artistic approach toward civic sculpture explores the expressive potential of infrastructure. He places his sculptures within the everyday as a way to re-imagine how civic infrastructure might perform beyond its basic function. The diversity and depth of his civic practice testify to his mastery of increasing the sculptural expression of engineered public structures and places. By connecting people to places through sculptural material, social history and ecology, his civic sculptures locate the latent potential within a public space.