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Web Exclusive: Letter Cloud

Designers Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster collaborate on a public artwork project in Edmonton's Clareview Public Library.

February 7, 2017
by Canadian Architect

Letter Cloud by Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster

Letter Cloud by Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster

A permanent public artwork titled ‘Letter Cloud’ by Coryn Kempster and Julia Jamrozik has been installed in the Clareview Public Library in Edmonton, Alberta.

The project is composed of 742 powder-coated aluminum letters from different alphabets systematically hung from a network of metal rods and cables above the stacks of the library. Each of the letters is 10cm tall while the entire work is 2m tall, 3m wide and 4m long.

Ephemeral and porous, yet precise and solid, ‘Letter Cloud’ is an abstract mass and a direct reference to printed matter. It is also a representation of community demographics, with each of the alphabets used by the population of Edmonton proportionally represented in the project.

Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster are Canadian designers and artists. Collaborating since 2003, they endeavour to create spaces, objects and situations that interrupt the ordinary in a critically engaging and playful way. Julia is an Assistant Professor and Coryn is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University at Buffalo SUNY. Previously, Coryn was an Architect at Herzog & de Meuron and a Project Director at Harry Gugger Studio in Basel, Switzerland. Julia was also an Architect at Herzog & de Meuron and taught architectural design studios at the ETH in Zurich.

Letter Cloud by Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster

Letter Cloud by Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster

They both completed Honours Bachelor of Arts degrees at the University of Toronto and hold Masters of Architecture degrees from the University of British Columbia and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a concentration in Visual Arts respectively. Between them, Coryn and Julia have won numerous competitions and have exhibited and published in Canada, the U.S., Germany, France, Italy and South Korea, including solo shows at Vtape and Convenience Gallery in Toronto.

For ‘Letter Cloud,’ Julia and Coryn brought together the building blocks of written language, assembling them not according to the logic of words and sentences, but rather based on volumetric and spatial hierarchies and parameters. The number of letters used from each alphabet is based on the different languages used by the current population of Edmonton. This mixing of demographic information into the artwork brings with it specificity but is not didactic. ‘Letter Cloud’ becomes a very abstract statistical record while simultaneously having an appeal to the individual who recognizes, among the hundreds of shapes, one which he or she can be curious or nostalgic about.

‘Letter Cloud,’ which was installed in late 2014, has been three-dimensionally computer modelled and rigorously testes through physical mock-ups taking into account the movement of the letters in relation to one another to ensure that while the letters are free to spin with the movement of air they will not interfere with one another, respecting the library’s acoustic needs.

The artwork can be viewed by the public in the Clareview Public Library in Edmonton, Alberta. For more information on the artists, please click here.