i+D - January/February 2018 - 30

By Brian J. Barth

A Tale of
Fo
Cities are increasingly being transformed by the
creative industries, and are looking to design and
architecture firms as catalysts for positive change

Pink balls. That's what landscape architect Claude Cormier wanted to string up above
Montreal's Sainte-Catherine Street East back in 2010-170,000 of them. The idea was to
suspend the balls from steel wires above a 14-block stretch that was, at the time, a quirky,
albeit a bit blighted, neighborhood, known as Gay Village. Initially, civic officials more or
less scoffed at the idea. Everyone had a reason for why it couldn't possibly be allowed:
The fire department said it would impede emergency services; others said it was just too,
well, weird.
Marie-Josée Lacroix, the city's design commissioner, remembers a series of tense
meetings where she urged her colleagues, as diplomatically as possible, to take a risk
on the project. "Though in the end there really was no risk," she says.
Cormier's final design addressed fire safety and all the other practical concerns. In
summer 2011, residents joined together in what amounted to a multi-day block party
to string the balls onto their wires. The shift in neighborhood morale was nearly
instantaneous, and the project became an international sensation-and has been repeated
every summer since. Sainte-Catherine Street East has become one of the city's most
thriving and iconic commercial districts. In 2017, Montreal's 375th birthday, multihued balls
were employed for the first time, an installation dubbed the "18 shades of gay."
"[The balls] have become a huge part of the branding of the city," says Lacroix. "It is such
a clear example of how well-executed design is the best way for a city to stand above its
peers. Everybody here understands the impact."

"18 shades of gay" is
a promenade of multihued
balls, which celebrates the
evolving spectrum of
the LGBTQI community
and is inspired by its
rainbow flag.

30

(Image: Jean-Michel Seminaro)

i+D - January/February 2018



i+D - January/February 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i+D - January/February 2018

Contents
i+D - January/February 2018 - Cover1
i+D - January/February 2018 - Cover2
i+D - January/February 2018 - 3
i+D - January/February 2018 - 4
i+D - January/February 2018 - 5
i+D - January/February 2018 - 6
i+D - January/February 2018 - 7
i+D - January/February 2018 - 8
i+D - January/February 2018 - 9
i+D - January/February 2018 - Contents
i+D - January/February 2018 - 11
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i+D - January/February 2018 - Cover3
i+D - January/February 2018 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/id/20211112
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190708_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190506_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190304_french
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180708_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180506_french
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