Pine Sanctuary is a “placemaker” for Riverwood Conservancy in Mississauga -- an signal for the entrance to the park, and a unique spatial experience for visitors to enter and enjoy.

From the speed of a car driving down Burnhamthorpe Road West, the piece is a visual icon --  a tall and pointed profile at home in the context of Riverwood’s pine trees, yet certainly provoking a second look.

Real-world comparisons are subjective; depending on the person viewing, they may vary from flower to petals to spanning webs. The colors of the piece pop. They are borrowed from their environment, but heightened and pushed to the realm of iconic artificiality -- a stepped gradient of aqua, chartreuse and cyan among other greens and blues.

This first glimpse of Pine Sanctuary instills a childlike sense of curiosity. An inviting enclosure at a scale between sculpture and architecture, at once playful and mystical, it tempts a passerby to enter. Inside, intrigue is rewarded with a unique experience of space and light, and a deep, quiet, contemplative appreciation. This might translate into wonder about what this fantastical anomaly is, and how it was made, or something more introspective and meditative. The delaminated, double-layered skin provides a moire of colors, as well as shadows and speckled light to catch on the ground. This is a place for spontaneous play as much as it is a sanctuary for one to simply lose their time.

A top central moment peels away and branches into several feet that lightly meet the ground, along the way creating a labyrinth through which one can slip in, out and around. Circling the structure, no facade ever repeats itself. The new, unique angle upon every step forward prolongs the sense of discovery.

The project is an example of ‘structural stripes’ -- a building system invented by MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY and further developed in complexity over the course of the last ten years. Projects are made using hundreds to thousands of custom designed and digitally fabricated parts, cut from ultrathin aluminum, and accumulating to create the curvilinear form of the piece. Each part is akin to brick, yet is unique and knows its exact place in the whole, and its relationship to its neighbours. Multiple connections between each part ensure high degrees of structural strength.

The piece is the studio’s second in Canada, after “Vaulted Willow,” a permanent ‘folly’ in Borden Park in Edmonton, commissioned by the Edmonton Arts Council.