Spotlight on the Object: Manhole Covers in the Gallery

Interview with Aason Oussoren
by Lorraine Johnson

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LASS ARTIST AARON OUSSOREN graduated from the Craft & Design program at Sheridan College in 2008. From 2008 to 2012, he was a full-time artist-in-residence at the Harbourfront Centre Glass Studio in Toronto. His work often explores elements of urban infrastructure.

Aaron Oussoren spoke with Ornamentum Associate Editor Lorraine Johnson by phone

Ironclad Art: Vancouver’s Manhole Covers

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Article by Matthew Kleywegt

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LL INTENTIONALLY FORMED OBJECTS in a city are designed. They exist because they serve a desired function. However, beauty is a function not everything gets to perform. In most cities, manhole covers fall into this category.

This past summer, for the second time since 2004, Vancouver held its Ironclad Art Competition. This competition, open …

Whitehorse Bike Racks: An Artful Solution to a Bike-parking Problem

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Article by David Dennis

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HITEHORSE TAKES CYCLING seriously, though not too seriously. Visitors to the storied capital of the Yukon are struck by the sight of whimsical bike racks on local themes: a white horse (created by sculptor Philippe LeBlonde) gracing City Hall, a coffee pot and cup in front of Main Street Bistro, and a robust plumbing …

Technology and Design: Early Gas and Electric Lamps in Canada

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Article by Anna Adamek and Louise Trottier

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N 1887 A SMALL RIOT erupted in the Township of Hull, on the north bank of the Ottawa River, just opposite to the Chaudière Falls. A Hull hotelier, who shared her light system with a nearby building, repeatedly demonstrated to visitors the wonder of having electric illumination at her fingertips. She …

Signs of the Times: Documenting Toronto’s Heritage Signage

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Article by Debbie Adams

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HAVE ALWAYS BEEN FASCINATED by signs. My great uncle made neon signs. My grandfather was a sign painter. As a child, I recall visiting his Nanaimo sign workshop in the dirt-floored basement of his house, watching him hand-letter signs. As early as 1978, I photographed the then plentiful neon signage in Vancouver for a …

What Buildings Tell: Fossils Hidden in Plain View

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Article by Ingrid Birker

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HE DECORATIVE FEATURES OF BUILDINGS are usually the result of an intentional design process that begins with the architect’s vision and develops through a myriad of choices about materials and construction. But sometimes serendipity enters the picture, offering surprising adornments that can yield rich decorative treasures.

As someone who teaches paleontology, I am used …

Editorial: Utilities in the City

John Fleming
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OWEVER SIMPLE A STREET OBJECT in an urban setting may be in form and function, it carries through its material presence an innate aesthetic content, within the concrete manifestation of services provided in a public space. From a plain, apparently unadorned lamp standard (pure function perhaps) to an Art Nouveau subway entrance in an identifiable style (direct …