Binary Spectrum

Comprised of 8,000 translucent discs, Binary Spectrum is a poetic expression of Kitchener’s industrial shift, from manufacturing to a leader in the digital economy.

Once a major hub for manufacturing, the Kitchener-Waterloo region is now a hot spot for Canada’s growing tech communities. With newly opened offices of Yahoo, Google, and other major tech players as well as hundreds of start-ups, the area located an hour’s drive from Toronto is home to one of the fastest-growing economies in the country. Kitchener’s downtown core alone, comprised of converted warehouses and new buildings, has proven to be attractive for new businesses and satellite offices of major companies based in Toronto.

For the lobby atrium of one of these new buildings on King Street, Dubbeldam Architecture + Design created Binary Spectrum, a site-specific installation that embodies ideas drawn from the region’s rich history of manufacturing and its transformation to a burgeoning tech hub. Rising three stories, it is constructed from 8,000 coloured discs of varying diameters suspended from 650 wire cables. “Binary Spectrum explores the yin-yang relationship of tangible fabricated object (manufacturing) with a representation of the intangible digital realm”, says architect Heather Dubbeldam. “The repetitive discs suggest digital processes and fractal patterns found in science, and are used to create a spatial effect with a human scale.”

The atrium is transformed into a dynamic environment where visitors can experience the installation’s kinetic properties. As people move in and around the space on two levels, the vertical cables softly sway, bringing the sculpture to life and reflecting the buzzing energy of the building’s inhabitants. Myriad patterns can be viewed from different perspectives and provide a new sensory experience with each angle – whether seen from the exterior, from below or adjacent on the upper floor, visitors can engage with the installation in unique ways. Comforting in their familiar shape and colours, the suspended circular coloured acrylic discs fill the space and draw people in from the street. The contrast created by two ends of the colour spectrum is softened through the gradient between them: warm reds and cool blues merge and resonate with the lobby furniture, specifically sourced to coordinate with the installation’s bluish tones. The faceted furniture is arranged for spatial effect, to create a defined resting space within the larger lobby and a multiplicity of vantage points from which to view the installation.

  • Azure AZ A+ Awards
    People’s Choice
  • Architizer A+ Awards
    Popular Choice
  • Canadian Interiors Awards
    Best of Canada
  • Architecture MasterPrize
  • Grands Prix du Design Awards
    Platinum Winner
  • Interior Design Magazine Best of Year Awards
    Best of Year Honoree

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