Folks in Calgary who have spent any time around the eastern Beltline during evening hours recently will have surely noticed the new art installation at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks (DJD). The bright and colourful images of dancers lighting up the sky are hard not to notice and have been receiving positive feedback from those who have seen it.

Take the Cake lit up at night on top of Kahanoff Building, image by Kevin Cappis

The new installation called 'Take the Cake' is the creation of internationally renowned artistic team Hadley+Maxwell, which was chosen from a national competition. The artwork takes the form of a large mural that sits in a light-box and lights up at night with changing colours that create the effect of moving dancers. The name 'Take the Cake' comes from a historical dance called 'The Cakewalk' which was performed by African American slaves in the mid 1800s.

A look at the inside of the lightbox, image by Kevin Cappis

Sitting inside the light-box atop the new 12-storey addition to the Kahanoff Centre, the images are visible during the day, but it's after the sun goes down that Take The Cake really comes alive. Anyone near the building at night would be hard pressed not to notice it immediately. 

The light-box during the day, image by Kevin Cappis

Recently SkyriseCalgary had the chance to take a close-up look at the art installation courtesy of Cameron Clowe, Production Manager at DJD. The installation itself is a series of flat images on a 20- by 60-foot wall. The materials that make up the images react to light, specifically RGB lighting that comes from specialized LED arrays sitting in the light-box and facing the images on the wall. The lighting system is pre-programmed to go through the series of movements that bring the mural to life. The lighting is also on a timer that turns on after sunset and goes off as the sun comes up.

Close-up look at the RGB LED array, image by Kevin Cappis

LED array and wall images, image by Kevin Cappis

The differing colours and the way the colours change give the illusion of shapes that move during the night. Some of the images have soft edges which give an illusion of depth and shadow.

Soft edges give appearance of shadow and depth, image by Kevin Cappis

Take The Cake is a great addition to the Kahanoff building, which has already added life to the east end of the Beltline with its street-facing glass-walled dance studios and performance venue. For more information or discussion on this project, visit our related Forum thread.