After winning Waterfront Toronto’s first ever artist competition, Paul Raff Studio set out to design a permanent public artwork installation for the most extensive park built under an overpass in Canada. As part of Underpass Park, a two and a half acre mixed-use space tucked beneath the Eastern Avenue ramps, Mirage uses reflectivity to draw people into and through the space. Suspended overhead of pedestrians, large scale mirror-like surfaces create an illusory appearance, which bends light rays to produce a displaced image much like a mirage.
Mirage allows passers-by to make remarkable visual connections—seeing light on the dark soffit, seeing others walking “upside-down”, and so on. It makes the low space expand upward, and it reflects and transforms the urban environment in delightful and ever-changing ways.
Made up of 57 reflective polished stainless steel panels suspended from the underside of the overpass, Mirage engages the public through the playful use of reflection. Art and architecture critic John Bentley Mays describes “the result [as] a shifting of semi-abstract imagery gathering from earth and sky, from darkness and light, all of it hovering like a shining cloud over the heads of passersby.”