Arts & Activation

The project will create a new space for a year-round outdoor arts platform designed to augment events programming at Festival Plaza, draw people when there are no active events, and will provide new public art opportunities for Windsor artists.

The Eddy

Plan rendering of the EddyPlan rendering of the Eddy

Named for the circular movement of water that draws objects towards its centre, the Eddy is Festival Plaza’s cultural heart and located at the centre of the site.

Axonometric drawing of the Eddy

The Eddy takes the shape of an ellipse and is ringed with seating. It features a gentle depression in the ground to naturally guide people to the area, and to focus attention on the centre. It is designed to support community storytelling and expression.

The Eddy is designed to attract people when there are no events. It's a place of gathering and expression, impromptu play,  art-based activations, and temporary pavilions, all year round.

Play at the Eddy

Examples from around the world
Splash pad with lots of kids in summer

Rings Fountain, Boston, MA

Outdoor ice skating in winter under the Gardiner Expressway

The Bentway, Toronto, ON

Outdoor skating rink at night

Market Square, Guelph, ON

Splash pad in summer with lots of kids

Waterfront Plaza, Thunder Bay, ON

It's an activation zone that breaks up the scale of the site and provides a place for the community to program with art

Arts at the Eddy

Examples from around the world
Sculpture suspended from the Gardiner Expressway

The Bentway, Toronto, ON

Suspended net sculpture by Janet Echelman

Pier District, St. Petersburg, FL

Round temporary pavilion at night

Fed Square, Melbourne, AUS

Reflective public art installation in winter

Quartier de Spectacles, Montreal, QC

The Eddy could be activated by local, international, and indigenous artists, community groups, institutions such as the Art Windsor Essex, as well as corporate sponsored events. Temporary pavilions, interactive games, educational engagement, and exciting lights shows are all possible in the space.

Temporary Pavilions at the Eddy

Examples from around the world
Colourful temporary pavilion on frozen beach

Winter Stations, Toronto, ON

Towering temporary pavilion made of snow shovels

Warming Huts at The Forks, Winnipeg, MB

Temporary arts pavilion made of scaffolding and blue tarp

MOMA PS1, Queens, NY

Pavilion at Jardin de Metis festival

Jardins de Metis, Grand-Métis, QC

In addition to the Eddy, Festival Plaza also incorporates dynamic site-wide lighting which allows for activation of the site during non-event times, and helps create unique atmospheres for events

Here are a few examples of how site lighting can support Festival Plaza:

Create a lighting signature for the site
Use lighting as an attraction itself
Adapt to each event allowing event promoters to create unique atmospheres
Animate Festival Plaza at all times
Contribute to safety at night

Festival Plaza proposes distinct lighting strategies for different parts of the site

Pathway lighting 1
Pathway with colourful lighting and fog
Colourful canopy lighting
Points of colour light embedded in the ground
Colourful lighting effects
Concert lighting with fog
Colour programmed lighting in a forest
Light show
Canopy lighting


Developing atmospheric light treatments that connect and diversify the experience of pathways through the site. Includes strategies such as saturated colours, eye-level streaks, soft glows at floor level, and intuitive wayfinding

Activation Areas

Reactive installations embedded into elements of landscaping and architecture, creating reactive skins and ephemeral moments of wonder


Lighting for the concert area supports both events lighting, as well as passive site lighting, including activation during non-event hours, and creating a presence for Festival Plaza across the Detroit River.

Within each of these areas, there are many different strategies to create an engaging lighting experience

Diagrams of path lighting strategies

Festival Plaza proposes dynamic and programmable site-wide lighting infrastructure which allows for zoning of Festival Plaza’s multi-use spaces. This infrastructure includes:

Reactive Lighting

Lighting to artfully animate spaces. Lighting can be responsive to specific event themes to create event-specific atmospheres.

Functional Lighting

Functional lighting supports a range of tasks (eg. event set-up and load-out) and events (eg. a market or conference) and is zoned to match activity areas.

Technical Zones

Infrastructure paths and mounting zones for additional equipment (theatrical lighting, projection, sound, decor, etc..) and access for servicing. Temporary, permanent gantries and/or winch lift zones for attaching temporary equipment.

Projection Layering

High/low mounting points and access to projector mounts.
Timeline of potential lighting cycles throughout the year

Lighting Programming

The plaza is alive all year long, with an activation strategy comprised of daily programming, seasonal events and holidays, seasonal changes and special curated activations (events, shows, festivals). The activation strategy is the core of the dynamic light design, allowing the plaza to change and evolve throughout the year. (Timeline shown here is representative, not a specific proposal)
Example timeline of nightly lighting programming

Daily Programming

Programming and scheduling audiovisual experiences over time is essential to maintain a perpetual engagement between the life of multimedia features and the visitors. The timeline is the result of an comprehensive program that fulfills creative, identity and commercial objectives. (Timeline shown here is representative, not a specific proposal)
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Part 6

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Arts & Activation

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