ICE BLADE

2009 • Olympic Oval Bridge, Richmond, BC, Canada

Glass, stainless steel, LEDs. 25' x 30' x 60'. Each blade: 25' x 3' x 4'.

Ice Blade, installed on the Richmond Hollybridge Canal Bridge, creates an illuminated threshold and serves as a processional civic entry to the Richmond Oval in Richmond, BC, Canada. This bridge traverses a drainage canal, linking Richmond’s “then” with its “now” through the use of historical references juxtaposed with contemporary reflective and diffractive blade pylons.


Ice Blade asserts a tipping stance, similar to a position taken by a speed skater at the starting line. The sculpture’s glass panels mirror the adjacent landscape and diffract ambient, natural, and artificial light sources. The sun’s daily passage creates a kinesthetic incidence of the light spectrum to the viewer passing the shifting blade alignments. At night, the LED light source activates the reflective and diffractive glass elements and provides an illuminated illusion of an “aurora borealis” ice edge.


Are we skating on thin ice, with polar caps melting as we make ice in the Olympic Oval? Ice Blade’s seductive stance appears to tiptoe over one of the few remaining floodplain drainage ditches in Richmond, a lament to the ditch as a potential ecological bio swale. Ice Blade presents the question: are we at the threshold of a starting line or a tipping point both globally and locally. Will climate change alter future Winter Olympics games and return Richmond to a delta bog?

© 2009 Buster Simpson

Site Design by Todd Metten

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