makescape 2 recap: a sense of delight

makescape2 aimed at providing a sense of delight - by answering the question: How can design enliven a hidden urban space in the downtown? Hosted by MADE in the underused Centennial Plaza in downtown Edmonton, behind the Stanley Milner public library, makescape brought a series of design discussions to the public.

On October 5, 2013, we were able to give the public an exciting glimpse of what well thought out design can do in an urban space. The effort was a cumulation of tremendous effort by the organizing team as well as numerous volunteers that donated their time to ensure that the event was a success.

“You take delight not in a city's seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question of yours.” ―Italo Calvino, 'Invisible Cities'

Light from the URDU (URban DiffUser), a sound responsive illuminated wall, drew visitors into the plaza and a soaring 6m high air inflated structure with internal balloons provided a unique experience further infield.

The outdoor event occurred simultaneously with the Designing Downtown Pecha Kucha, which live streamed from the Winspear Centre onto two giant screens hung from the plaza stage. Heaters kept the cold at bay, and firepits provided clustering points for viewers and visitors. Other activities included the creation of a giant coloured sand mandala as well as a series of 'bench talks' on Areawork's fantastic urban furniture, with City Councillors Don Iveson and Ben Henderson, EPL writer-in-residence Omar Mouallem, Cynthia Dovell and Chris vander Hoek.

There also seemed to be a fair amount of spillover from the events that were happening around the square that night. The Citadel Theatre was buzzing, and several people happened upon the space and light installations by accident. One wandering couple that hadn’t felt like attending an organized event was ecstatic with a the discovery of something that inspired them. Seeing this realized sense of wonder is one of the main reasons why we do these types of things, and why our group - the Design Interventions Committee (within MADE) will continue with things of this nature.

The event featured contributions by our event partners: Progress UnlimitedPixel Blue Digital College, Edmonton Public Library, the Edmonton Wayfinding project, Areaworks, MediaCo, Balancing Spaces, cmvhdesign and think easy connection, who all brought elements contributing the experience of the space. Others who helped put on the event were the Paint Spot, Downtown Community League, and OMM photography. Many thanks to everyone who helped out, and thanks also to our makescape2 food trucks, Fat Franks, La Poutine and Lemongrass Grill.

- Chris vander Hoek