the bow public artwork commissions
calgary, alberta

The two artworks by Jaume Plensa at The Bow, a mixed-use development in downtown Calgary, were commissioned to anchor compelling work-day gathering places and bolster the cultural revival of the area after dark. 

Wonderland is the portrait of a young girl looking off into the future. Depicting only her head, the portrait represents humanity as well as our potential created and fostered by our dreams. Its transparent mesh creates a visual bridge to the building as Plensa strives to link together art, architecture and society. People are encouraged to enter the sculpture through openings on either side of the head, an invitation for visitors to physically experience Plensa’s metaphor of the mind being the sanctuary for dreams.

Alberta’s Dream is a self-portrait of the artist surrounding a live tree. The artists’ body is covered with names of towns and cities from Alberta. As the tree grows, it will grow over and above the figure – an individual human form mapped with communal place names. 

The Bow, designed by the internationally recognized architectural firm Foster + Partners, is the headquarters for the Encana Corporation. Via worked with The Bow project team to assist with artist selection and project management of these two significant public art projects, with budgets totaling more than $4 million.  We designed an invitational selection process with a jury made up of project design team members, project stakeholders, local artists and internationally respected arts professionals. Via worked with the selected artist Jaume Plensa on project coordination, design development and review, and fabrication.

Wonderland was recognized by the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network as one of the year’s best public artworks in their 2014 Year in Review.

Pictured Above:

Jaume Plensa, Wonderland, 2013. Photo courtesy of the artist. Jaume Plensa, Alberta’s Dream, 2013. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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