Colorful Art Installation for the Tech Hub in Kitchener Downtown, Canada

Once a major hub for manufacturing, the Kitchener-Waterloo region is now a hot spot for Canada’s growing tech communities. With newly opened offices of Yahoo, Google, and other major tech players, as well as hundreds of start-ups, the area located an hour’s drive from Toronto is home to one of the fastest-growing economies in the country. Kitchener’s downtown core alone, comprised of a mix of converted warehouses and new buildings, has proven to be attractive for new businesses and satellite offices for major companies based in Toronto.


Photo credit: Riley Snelling

For the lobby atrium of one of these new buildings on King Street, Dubbeldam Architecture + Design created Binary Spectrum, a site-specific installation that embodies ideas drawn from the region’s rich history of manufacturing and its transformation to a burgeoning tech hub. Rising three stories, it is constructed from 8,000 coloured discs of varying diameters suspended from 650 wire cables.


The seemingly floating discs are anchored by tiny teardrop-shaped plumb bobs, their weight creating layers upon layers of overlapping straight lines. Photo credit: Riley Snelling


Photo credit: Riley Snelling

Binary Spectrum explores the yin-yang relationship of tangible fabricated object (manufacturing) with a representation of the intangible digital realm. The repetitive discs suggest digital processes and fractal patterns found in science, and they are used to create a spatial effect with a human scale.

ーHeather Dubbeldam (Architect)


Photo credit: Riley Snelling

The atrium is transformed into a dynamic environment where visitors can experience the installation’s kinetic properties. As people move in and around the space on two levels, the vertical cables softly sway, bringing the sculpture to life and reflecting the buzzing energy of the building’s inhabitants. Myriad patterns can be viewed from different perspectives and provide a new sensory experience with each angle – whether seen from the exterior, from below or adjacently from the upper floor, visitors can engage with the installation in unique ways.


Second floor visitors find themselves immersed in matrix of gently undulating colourful discs. Photo credit: Riley Snelling


Comprised of 8,000 translucent discs, Binary Spectrum is a poetic expression of Kitchener’s remarkable industrial shift, from manufacturing to a leader in the digital economy. Photo credit: Riley Snelling

Comforting in their familiar shape and colours, the suspended circular coloured acrylic discs fill the space and draw people in from the street. The contrast created by two ends of the colour spectrum is softened through the gradient between them: warm reds and cool blues merge and resonate with the lobby furniture, specifically sourced to coordinate with the installation’s bluish tones. For spatial effect, the faceted furniture is arranged to create a defined resting space within the larger lobby and a multiplicity of vantage points from which to view the installation.


Photo credit: Riley Snelling

About Dubbeldam Architecture + Design

Dubbeldam Architecture + Design is a multi-disciplinary design studio committed to creating thoughtful projects that embody sustainable approaches. The studio’s portfolio includes a diverse range of projects in many sectors including commercial, institutional, hospitality, mixed-use, and residential, as well as landscape design, product design, and architectural installations.

Along with over 80 design awards and wide recognition in national and international publications, Dubbeldam is the recipient of the Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture, one of the oldest and most prestigious prizes for outstanding achievement in Canadian architecture. With a commitment to design excellence and a focus on sustainability and wellness in architecture, Dubbeldam is recognized for creating innovative, unique, and environmentally-responsible design solutions for live, work, and play.