Outdoor Art Installation Conveyor
The Bentway is an independent charity that partners with the City of Toronto, residents, supporters, artists, creatives, city-builders, and dreamers to create shared and inclusive public spaces. The Bentway offers year-round artistic, cultural, and recreational activities and events, including public art installations, seasonal and special exhibitions, theatre and musical performances, festivals, creative marketplaces, and more.
Phase 1 of The Bentway, located at 250 Fort York Blvd, Toronto, Canada, under The Gardiner Expressway, was opened in 2018 and is a platform for creative practice, public art, and connected urban life.
In 2021, award-winning designer Mimi Lien began developing a concept for a kinetic installation called PARADE that infuses The Bentway with the ever-shifting variables of the street. The concept involved transforming iconic street elements like pylons, bicycles, and street signs into playful sculptures that are carried on a 650-foot overhead conveyor system suspended above the Bentway Skate Trail.
Once the initial concept was created, The Bentway reached out to Maas Design, an outside consultant, for support to achieve Mimi Lien’s vision. Michael Awad from Maas Design came on as Project Lead. Michael was familiar with Pacline for creative displays through past experience, so when he and the team contacted Pacline, they already had a well-designed concept and layout drawing.
One of the most significant challenges faced was how to support the conveyor system underneath a highway, especially when they could not drill into the concrete, and winds are frequently twice as strong in the area where the art would be installed.
Another challenge was ensuring the project stayed within budget while meeting the complex requirements of the City of Toronto since it was being installed in an outdoor public space. For example, the original design was 25% larger, but the overall footprint had to be reduced due to limitations.
Pacline considered all these design challenges while working together with The Bentway and Maas Design to maintain Mimi Lien’s artistic vision and offer a robust, visually pleasing conveyor solution.
When initially contacted, The Bentway was interested in a PAC-MAX™ conveyor, but due to budget and design constraints, our Engineering Team was able to develop a PAC-LINE™ round track conveyor solution that fit the project’s need without taking away any design quality.
In keeping with the artist’s vision, the final outdoor art system was three conveyor systems that moved separately and in different directions. Pacline also had the conveyor components powder coated in bright teal, pink and yellow hues for the art installation.
Since the installation took place 40′ above the ground, Pacline provided installation supervision, and The Bentway hired an outside engineering consulting firm. Pacline worked with them to verify structural loading and the City of Toronto’s requirements, and the engineering firm developed a suspension structure with over 100 hang points and 300 suspension cables.
Through extensive teamwork and collaboration, Pacline was able to help create a solution for The Bentway’s outdoor art installation, PARADE. Ultimately, the installation combines an innovative artistic vision and engineers to create a thought-provoking work of public art.
PARADE deconstructs the street and marshals iconic elements in a celebratory procession, transforming a mundane urban scene into street theatre. Reflecting on the continuous movement of the Gardiner Expressway above, and the bustle of The Bentway below, the viewer becomes a still point amidst the traffic of everyday life.
See the installation in Toronto from May 26th – August 21st 2022 or online at https://www.thebentway.ca/event/parade/.
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