New performances of Walden

We're delighted that Walden is being performed at the Hidden Door Festival in Edinburgh next month.

On 4th July 1845, Henry David Thoreau walked into the woods near his hometown of Concord, Massachusetts and decided to stay. He found a spot next to a lake called Walden Pond and built a hut. For the next two years he attempted to live entirely by his own resources.
Walden, Thoreau’s account of his ‘experiment in simple living’, is one of the most extraordinary and unclassifiable books ever written. Magnetic North’s adaptation - a collaboration between director Nicholas Bone and Sans façon - is a beautiful, simple distillation of this classic meditation on self-sufficiency, the individual’s relationship with the environment and the desire to ‘live deliberately’.

The production is performed in an intimate, in-the-round setting: 12 benches made from American cedar join together to create an arena for the audience and actor, with just 40 audience members able to attend each performance.

Mon 30, Tue 31 May, Wed 1 June, 18.30 & 20.30

Picture by David Grinly

Picture by David Grinly

Ciara's Public Art presentations


Over the last couple of weeks our lovely project manager Ciara McKeown was taking part in two events.

At the Esker gallery talking about public art for their Crash Course in Contemporary Art! Keep an eye out for registration for this free 8 month course on their website in the Fall.

She was also a panelist, speaking on a City of Calgary Public Art 101 panel, investigating the role of the public in public art at the Nickle Gallery in Calgary.


Artist talk in Laramie, WY

The Laramie University Art Museum in collaboration with the Art Department and the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, invited Sans façon to do a public lecture and site visit at the University of Wyoming. Delighted to be asked, we made our way down to Laramie, WY, where we had some really interesting discussions about the value of art in public places and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Dynamic Environment Lab Program Week

Our Dynamic Environment Lab Program Week was full of great discussions and learnings, presentations and site visits, and we had a full house at our public event, Dynamic Environment: Complimentary Perspectives, at the National Music Centre.

We are grateful to those who participated and came out in support, thank you!

You Are Here / We Are Here

You Are Here, an installation of 1,000 helium-filled balloons, is currently up in Sheffield (UK).
Residents and visitors to the city over the next few days who take a balloon will leave a trace of
the city, unveiling the activity of the pubic realm.

We Are Here is a symposium we’ll be participating in, hosted by the University of Sheffield
School of Architecture and curator Jane Anderson. We’ll be exploring the role of
public art in the public realm along with the Office for Subversive Architecture and Leo Fitzmaurice among others.

The Future of Water

We’re just back from Topeka, Kansas where we took part in The Governor’s Water Conference.
The room full of legislators, water managers and scientists convened to discuss the Kansas
Water Vision. Our small contribution was to share a bit about the implementation of the City of
Calgary’s WATERSHED+ public art program.

Mayor's Urban Design Awards 2015

Last Thursday The City of Calgary held their bi-annual Mayor's Urban Design Awards, and Watershed+ is honoured to have received two awards.

Forest Lawn Lift Station in the 'Urban Fragments' category received an Honourable Mention. This category was described as "projects involving a single, small-scale piece of a building or landscape that contributes significantly to the quality of the public intervention that contributes to the enjoyment and appreciation of the urban environment".
Lost Spaces Ideas competition, in collaboration with dtalks, received the award for Conceptual/Theoretical Urban Design Projects. This category was for a plan, study, charette, etc, within Calgary that provides a strategy for urban transformation with a long-term vision.

We are excited to work with such an amazing team as part of Watershed+, and would like to recognize dtalks and the numerous departments within The City of Calgary who participated: Water Services, Parks, Transportation, Planning, Public Art.
Our partners for Forest Lawn Lift Station were Associated Engineers, Nemalux LED Lighting, Marshall Tittemore Architects, and contractors Maple Reinders Inc.

Hundreds visit a fairground in silence

Silent Fairground is a carousal and fairground attraction that was installed on an industrial site under redevelopment in Hagen, Germany. The temporary installation was commissioned as part of the 2015 Urbane Lights Ruhr.

See Silent Fairground in action here.

image courtesy of: Volker Hartmann / Urbane Künste Ruhr

image courtesy of: Volker Hartmann / Urbane Künste Ruhr

Fifteen installations light up Hagen in October

In collaboration with Urbane Künste Ruhr's Creative Director, Katja Aßmann, Sans façon co-curated this year's festival of light in Hagen, Germany.
International artists, along with ourselves, have been invited to show works using, and speaking to, our relationship with light in the industrial city of Hagen, located in the Ruhr District. Some of the other artists include: Taturo Atzu (formely known as Tatsu Nishi). A Kassen. Simon Faithfull, Janice Kernel, Anna Rispoli, Shiny Toys (Jan Ehlen).

The Urban Lights Festival runs October 9-25, 2015.
Read more here and here.

image via: Volker Hartmann / Urbane Künste Ruhr

image via: Volker Hartmann / Urbane Künste Ruhr

Yale University radio interview

On July 2nd, we were invited to speak about our practice with Brainard Carey, host of Interviews from Yale University Radio WYBCX, a program that features conversations with artists, writers, curators and conservators in North America and Europe about the art world. This was a chance for us to delve into some of our recent projects, and particularly the work we’ve been doing with WATERSHED+ in Calgary. We talked about how artists can draw out stories and reveal what’s hidden in urban systems and underground infrastructure, and why a framework of embedding artists is so productive in our view. After all, this is an opportunity for art to connect people with where they live and how place is understood.

"How do you bring out elements that make a place special and unique, and share the pleasure of what’s around you?"

So cool to be among a great group of people on this program!


New Sans façon team member



Sans façon is pleased to announce the arrival of Ciara McKeown.
Ciara has been welcomed deep into the bosom of the Sans façon practice and will be working as our Project Manager, based at our Calgary studio.
Ciara has worked as a commissioner, director, and project manager in public art across Canada and the US, with a background in art history, arts management, and cultural policy (all of the good stuff).

If you would like to introduce yourself personally to Ciara, please contact her at: