Kitchener City Hall, 200 King Street West, Kitchener. Photo above: Gordon Hatt.
Lauren Hall is a well-known artist from the Waterloo Region who grew up in Kitchener and completed her undergraduate studies in visual arts at the University of Waterloo. Since graduating Lauren had been exhibiting locally and across the province and in these exhibitions she revealed the beginnings of a unique sculptural vision. Lauren's work characteristically presents schematic images of the thematic clichés of the romantic landscape rendered in commonly available synthetic materials. Exploiting the aesthetic properties of polystyrene, polyethylene, and polycarbonate plastics, she sets up jarring clashes between the material products of industrial chemistry and the saccharine subject matter of idealized nature. Hall’s “majestic” mountain peaks, icebergs, clouds and rainbows are abjectly wrought in plastic wrap, corrugated sheeting and aluminum-covered insulation material. Shiny and attractive in their own right, these synthetic mediums do what all shiny mediums do: they draw attention to themselves. In Lauren Hall's work, nature seems a distant ideal, obscured by all that shiny plastic stuff that keeps getting in the way.

Lauren Hall, "The Limits of All Known Ice," Aluminum coated bubble wrap and polystyrene. Included in SHOWCASE.09 at Cambridge Galleries. Photo: Lauren Hall.

It was with this appreciation of Lauren Hall’s unique vision that CAFKA invited her to submit a proposal for SURVIVE. RESIST. Previous to the CAFKA commission, most of the artist’s work was of a smaller scale and hand-built. The CAFKA programming committee encouraged her to develop a work to occupy the cavernous five-storey Kitchener City Hall Rotunda. Of the three possible projects that Lauren proposed, the committee was most excited about the proposal for “Their Starry Domes of Diamond and Gold Expand Above,” an image of an iceberg in iridescent film and corrugated plastic, suspended under the clerestory in the Kitchener City Hall Rotunda.
Lauren Hall, Their Starry Domes of Diamond and Gold Expand Above, preparatory sketches, 2011.
The proposal was elegant in its simplicity: Seventeen pieces of 8mm thick corrugated polycarbonate, connected edge-to-edge, formed a giant contour drawing of an iceberg. Each piece of the transparent corroplast would be coated with an iridescent adhesive film to randomly reflect the colours of the light spectrum according to changing light conditions.
The committee worked with Lauren on issues involving structural, fabrication and installation logistics. Walter Fedy Partners provided the engineering assessment and recommendations and Museum Pros was contracted to fabricate the panels and connectors. The installation was a challenge for the CAFKA team of volunteers, requiring a 20-metre boom truck to access the Rotunda ceiling superstructure. The work was assembled on site, one panel at a time, and was gradually hoist into place as each piece of the puzzle was added.
Installation views. Photos left and right: Gordon Hatt
The final installation exceeded expectations. Hanging in the middle of the Rotunda, it luminously reflected and scattered each day’s changing light, and during the evening the piece warmed up as it reflected the spectral heat of the floodlights. Approaching the work from the side, it appeared as a narrow sliver dangling from high above, but as one walked around, it reflected and refracted a continuously changing array of colours making it a vividly sculptural work. 
Photo: KJ Bedford
Watch Lauren Hall speak about her work here
This project was made possible in part with the support of the Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation - Brush With Art and the Department of Canadian Heritage.