Architecture and art, North America

AMAZEing – Labyrinth of light takes over downtown Toronto

I’m a big fan of urban art projects, and I’m a bit ashamed to say I just now found about about AMAZE.

As part of the one-day outdoor art festival Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, design and research labUNSTABLE installed AMAZE, a 3,230-square-foot 3D labyrinth of light and shadow. Unfortunately, the whole thing lasted for only one day – 3 October. I know, I’m a slowpoke.

But it was pretty surprising that they installed this complex thing, only to take it down the next day. So I started reading more about AMAZE, and I foudn that the entire thing is actually really easy and cheap to setup. The prefabricated and modular system of metal pipes lent itself to a linear grid-like structure, over which multiple layers of fabric were draped to create a translucent skin for the maze walls.

After that, you only need carefully designed color beams to create a distinct feeling and heighten the sense of disorientation – much like in a traditional labyrinth.

“A labyrinth like no other, AMAZE provides a multisensory experience through a personal journey of discovery, transformation, and challenge in the realm of urban public space,” writes Marcos Zotes, a Reykjavik-based architect and founder of UNSTABLE. “The idea of the maze is predicated in the notion of finding oneself through the notion of getting lost.” AMAZE’s transforming, dynamic nature is driven by an algorithm with a set of pre-defined parameters that control the lights, as well as the movement and shadows of people inside. The temporary installation was built in a large outdoor parking space in downtown Toronto and opened to public October 3, 2014.


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