Every year, Quartier des spectacles in Montréal is decorated with installation art meant to bring together the community around the area. In 2011, the Canadian design firm Daily Tous Les Jours led a team consisting of over forty individuals including specialists in design, technical direction, music, animal/human behavior, and technical direction in order to create the urban instrument, 21 Balançoires.
Each swing represents a specific instrument (piano, guitar, harp, or vibraphone) that plays a note based on how high a user swings. Depending on how users interact with the swings and with each other, the instrument has the ability to play scales and melodies.In order to play the corresponding note to the height of the swing, the installation relies on sensors hidden in the swings that communicate its location to a central computer.
What inspired me the most about this project was the ability of the design firm to bring life to an area that was originally closed off and essentially abandoned. 21 Swings became so popular that the installation became scheduled to reappear every spring since. Through its playful nature, the piece was able to attract people of all different ages and demographics.