Canadian Architect


Simons unveils major art installation by Canadian artist and architect Philip Beesley

February 18, 2013
by Canadian Architect

Simons, the renowned family-owned fashion retailer from Quebec City, will unveil a permanent in-store art installation called Simons Aurora at its new West Edmonton Mall location on Wednesday, February 20, 2013. Designed by Canadian artist and architect Philip Beesley, Simons Aurora is a canopy of crystalline columns that uses sensory mechanisms to respond to human movement, creating a gently swelling and rippling ocean of light.

Simons stores are compelling, original environments that inspire customers through fashion, art and architecture. The West Edmonton Mall location was designed by award-winning firm Figure3 and realized by Lemay Michaud Architecture Design. The exterior showcases vertical, twisted titanium blades that create dynamic arches and a 30-foot glass cube built into the corner of the building that shines like a beacon – day and night.

“We continuously challenge ourselves to build stores that go beyond the norm. We want to inspire and delight our customers, not only with our fashion, but with the surroundings, making the Simons experience unique and memorable,” said CEO Peter Simons. “Philip Beesley’s Simons Aurora is a stunning piece of sculptural architecture that reflects our shared appreciation of beauty and art.”

Inspired by the aurora borealis, Simons Aurora is composed of laser-cut acrylic, mylar and custom glassware. Suspended from the ceiling of the store’s north atrium, the installation is 68 feet long, 26 feet wide, and has more than 40 electronically active columns of varying lengths. Philip Beesley’s team used a new generation of electronics that allows a highly complex, intelligent digital fabric to create responsive chain reactions of light.

“We were excited by the idea of working with the Simons family which has a longstanding reputation for creating innovative retail spaces,” said Philip Beesley. “The scale and atmosphere of the Edmonton location allowed us to envision a significant installation that would adapt to and be energized by interactions with customers.”

The installation of Simons Aurora will take eight members of Philip Beesley’s studio and a large team of local artists, designers and students 17 days to complete. The process will be captured on time-lapse video. While Philip Beesley’s works reside in many countries around the world, Simons Aurora is Beesley’s first permanent installation in Canada.

rendering of philip beesley's installation at simons in the west edmonton mall
rendering of philip beesley's installation at simons in the west edmonton mall

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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