The Blue Room

The Blue Room
Designer: Stanislav Jurković, uoai
Photographer: Kuba Los Photography
Lighting Manufacturers: 

  • Traxon e:cue
  • Lumenpulse


The Blue Room is a permanent public art project installed along College Street in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Three installations are located at successive NW corners off of a main street anchoring new ‘Parkettes’ that were installed as part of a wider neighbourhood streetscaping project for the College Promenade BIA. Conceived of as one art piece, the three locations are identified separately as the Garden, the Storefront and the Living Room. The installations although similar in size and execution, adapt, highlight and react differently to the particularities of their respective locations.

The Blue Room is the creation of a space within space. A new room is installed through an act of subtracting all that is ‘aggregated background’ by the addition of non-discriminating colour. An implied block of colour volume is conceptually placed within the parkettes. All background elements (ground, adjacent wall surfaces, mechanical equipment, fastenings, utility structures, supports, etc.) take on the colour and fade into the subtraction. As a result, the new positive space appears in its 3-dimensional implication.

This new positive background now acts as void, upon which all foreground elements appear with deliberate presence. Objects, planting, persons, animals, intersect the space of the room coming into sharp focus as they are removed from the background similar to film productions utilizing a green screen. The space becomes an urban stage and social canvas.

From a distance, the space acts as signifier of the void, a robust burst of colour that breaks out as a solid from the aggregated surrounding material and tonal palette. From within, it is an experiential void, a momentary visceral separation from context.

By night, the spaces are amplified in light that fills the implied volume. Lighting that is matched to the pigment on the surfaces fights to cancel out the perceived colour and creates a soft ambiguous atmosphere and an impalpable reading of the surfaces infused within. Background fully becomes foreground and all relationships become reversed. People and elements that intersect the space enter the colour itself and fold into the foreground/background oscillation.

On the hour, the baseline lighting (composed of an almost equal blue/green ratio) releases all green to emit a pure blue light for 30 seconds to mark time before slowly fading back to baseline. On the half-hour, all colour is released and a pure white light is emitted and held for 30 seconds before fading back to a blue/green mix before a full minute is up. This moment creates an opportunity for us to participate and question our perception and identification of “blue”. The hour energizes the blue and creates a spectrum comparison. The half-hour, as a result of releasing colour in light, brings to extreme detail the pigmented surfaces and reads for a moment as hyperreal, as our eyes attempt to adjust before the soft atmosphere returns.

Three installations of the Blue room are all located along College Street in Toronto Ontario within the extents of the College Promenade BIA.

The Garden at Roxton Road
The Storefront at Ossington Avenue
The Living Room at Dovercourt Road

Credit: Stanislav Jurković | uoai