Montreal's Place des Festivals' seesaws combat the winter blues

Montreal architect Conor Sampson indulges in his playful side in this new exhibition at Place des Festivals, creating seesaws with lights and music for the winter season.

Winning design of sixth edition of Luminothérapie competition an interactive playground of lights and sound

Impulse is created by Montreal architect Conor Sampson and the Toronto firm, Lateral Office. It's at Place des Festivals until the end of January 2016.

Montrealers have a new playground at Place des Festivals — a playground of lights, sounds and seesaws.

Impulse is an interactive work comprised of 30 seesaws of various sizes, fitted with LED lights and speakers.

It was the winning design of this year's sixth edition of the Luminotherapie competition, a prize set up to stimulate creativity in the design of works for public spaces.

For the child in each of us

Conor Sampson, a principal with CS Design and one of the architects involved in creating Impulse, said the firm was looking for "something fun and outside our comfort zone."

"Ultimately it was important that my children would like to visit," Sampson said.

As people sit down on them, the seesaws produce a series of beautiful sounds and emit light of various intensities, depending on the angle of the board.

"When you see them at rest, they form an interesting pattern," Sampson said. 

"But what is really exciting is when they're moving at different tilts and speeds, and the tones of music start to synchronize or de-synchronize. There's something really exciting about the randomness."

Impulse is at the Place des festivals until Jan. 31, 2016.

About the Author

Jeanette Kelly

Jeanette Kelly works as the arts reporter at CBC Montreal. She's also the host of Cinq à Six, Quebec's Saturday afternoon culture show on CBC Radio One.

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