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Fairmont Pacific Rim Unveils Major Public Art Installation by Bocci

Publish Date: 10-Mar-2015

Vancouver, BC Tuesday, March 10, 2015

On Wednesday March 4, Fairmont Pacific Rim – Vancouver’s definitive luxury hotel – unveiled ’16,’ a major new public art installation by Omer Arbel for Bocci.


The permanent installation at Fairmont Pacific Rim will be Bocci's largest public art work in Canada.  The Vancouver-based firm, founded in 2005, has historically launched its new works at Milan’s main international design exhibition in April; this year, for the first time, Bocci is offering a preview before the Milan event in its home town.


Bocci numbers each of their works, and 16 was first envisioned in 2007 by Arbel, Bocci’s Creative Director, but archived as the company’s infrastructure and access to technology were not yet sophisticated enough to realize the work’s full potential.  Over the past year, with increased sophistication of both component design and a deeper understanding of glass craft, 16 became a reality.


“I have imagined what 16 would look like for almost a decade,” said Arbel.  “It is wonderful to now see it coming to life and prominently placed in Vancouver.”


16 is made of an armature of stainless steel forms that resemble trees, terminating with large, lit glass ‘leaves’. The leaves consist of three layers of glass – milk white, transparent grey, clear – each individually poured on top of the other.  By virtue of the fabrication technique, no two leaves are the same in shape.  The leaves are assembled in pairs and set in the trees in a process similar to that of setting cabochon stones in jewelry.


The ‘grove’ of abstract trees will run the 30 metre (100 foot) length of the hotel’s main entrance and stand upwards of nine metres (30 feet) tall.  


“This is an extraordinary work of art, destined to be one of Canada’s most dramatic public art pieces,” said Philip Barnes, Regional Vice President & General Manager, Fairmont Pacific Rim.  “We hope it is a point of pride for Vancouverites, and one that becomes a renowned landmark in Vancouver.” 


16 joins a growing collection of exterior and interior art at Fairmont Pacific Rim – eclectic in nature – under the direction of owners/developers, Westbank and the Peterson Group.  The collection is not themed, rather driven by interest and passion.  Priority has been placed on showcasing the best of local Vancouver artists, at the same time ensuring international and commissioned works are prominent.   The collection underlines a deep commitment to bringing art and artists into all aspects of the hotel’s design and development

“We knew we wanted to do a beautiful light installation for the Fairmont Pacific Rim plaza, and in Vancouver we have one of the world’s leading designers of contemporary manufacturing, building and industrial design,” said Ian Gillespie, founder of Westbank.  “The guiding philosophy of the Westbank practice is Gesamtkunstwerk, German for ‘total work of art’ and in this context, our public art projects continue to increase in ambition, imagination and scale and most importantly, increase the role of artists, like Bocci and Omer, as active collaborators in creating art that evokes conversation.  Good public art creates conversation and engages the community.”  


Additional funding for ‘16’ was provided by corporate partners Shaw Media, The Jim Pattison Group and Ledcor Group.


The Vancouver reveal follows another Bocci installation of particular note, coming just weeks after the unveiling of ‘57’ at Canada House in London, hosted by Canada’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Gordon Campbell and attended by HRH Queen Elizabeth. 


Vancouver is regarded as an emerging public art destination in North America with some 350 works, ranging in size and significance, placed throughout the city.  Approximately 60 of those works are of particular note; many of the notables are part of Westbank developments.


“Westbank’s commitment to public art is exemplary and they have taken tremendous leadership through the development process, going far beyond the required commitment” said Bryan Newsom, Public Art Program Manager, City of Vancouver.  “Their passion is particularly evident in the major works they have brought to Vancouver and we have no doubt the Bocci piece at Fairmont Pacific Rim will be captivating.”

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