The newest addition to the Millennium Ecological Park’s permanent works is an architectural pavilion, entitled Kiss & Fly, designed by the collective M+M+M. This poetic pavilion skirts the line between the hidden and the highlighted as it evokes the desire for travel and exploration.
Nestled into nature and tucked into the tall grass, its burnt black finish stands out from the surrounding colours as its summit appears to float weightless above the flora.
This intriguing black box, floating above the grass excites the visitors’ desire to travel toward, to climb up, and to explore within the structure. It’s a part of human nature to want to explore territory, to embark upon journeys, and to climb to higher vantage points in search of vistas and new points of view. This pavilion invites the public to do just that.
For the installation of this work, the artists chose a location nestled further back in the tall grass, so that visitors will have to adventure off of the beaten path to arrive at the pavilion. The design of the work invites the visitor to enter it, to climb the stairs, and to take in the view. But in order to do so, one must first make their way off the beaten path and through the tall grass to find it.
To add to the illusions of this structure, the walls on either side of the stairs are designed so they become lower and closer to the stairs as they near the top of the structure. This creates a dramatic effect of emergence, as people climb up the stairs, not only do they get higher in the air and above the grass, but the walls on either side of them simultaneously grow lower, thus revealing more and more of their body as they emerge from the grass and rise above the landscape. It is as if they are not only climbing higher, but also growing taller as more of the human body is revealed.
The structure is built from organic materials that fit within the park, but at the same time, it is blackened with fire so that its sharp angles and edges, stand out starkly from the natural leafy greens and browns of the trees in Spring, Summer, and Fall. In summer, its legs and supports will be hidden by tall grass, creating the illusion that it is floating above the flora. In Winter, its stark black shapes will stand out sharply against the snow, inviting winter explorers to make their way through the snow for visits in the cold.
To obtain the black finish without the use of stains, paints, oils, or solvents, they used an ancient Japanese technique of treating the wood with fire. This technique was developed to protect wood from insects as they will not enter through charred wood. A torch was used to burn and char the exterior of the pavilion. They chose however to leave the interior untreated so that over the seasons the untreated wood will be transformed by its exposure to the elements and will turn grey with time, gradually making a stronger contrast between the black exterior and a whitish grey interior.
Once at the summit, the view provided facilitates a reflection on nature and the city. From this vantage point, the visitor is able to survey the ecological park, the highway, and the city in the distance. The visitor is thus invited to consider the relationship between humans and nature, urban planning, and the possibilities for relationships between the architecture and the natural world, as well as the impacts of humans on nature and vice versa.
Collectif M+M+M is made up three artists, namely Mathieu Boucher Coté, Marika Drolet-Ferguson and Marie-Êve Amélie Cormier