I am, by nature, a skeptic. So when I heard that Québec City intended to install giant, multi-colored lampshades along Avenue Cartier, I thought that authorities were embarking on a project that would spoil one of the city’s most beautiful streets, one that would be out of fashion before it was even completed.
I could not have been more wrong. I love the new lampshades of the Montcalm neighborhood! They are a resounding success.
There are 34 of them in all between the Grande Allée and Chemin Ste-Foy. Installed five meters above the pavement, these abat-jours radiate their vividly-colored designs outward, while focusing a bright, utilitarian light on the street below.
The lampshades show off the works of two artists of the region. Alfred Pellan, born in Québec City in 1906, was recognized early for his brilliant use of brilliant color. Fernand Leduc, who died just last year in his hometown of Montreal, has been dubbed by the Musée des beaux-arts a “painter of light.” Their creations lend themselves perfectly to this new back-lit medium.
The lampshades were originally intended to warm the winter nights, but popular demand has kept them in place to brighten the long evenings of the Québec summer as well.