A PLANT-led team is one of four shortlisted for the Global Affairs Canada Commemorative Artwork in Ottawa, which will honour Canada’s diplomats, consular professionals and Embassy staff who have lost their lives in foreign service. Our team’s design, The Eddy, was conceived with artists Adrian Göllner, Michael Belmore, and Pierre Poussin for a site on Green Island in the Global Affairs Canada precinct, near the confluence of the Rideau and Ottawa Rivers.
An eddy is a place in a river where a stone or tree stands against the current, causing the flow to curl back on itself. We see eddies as a metaphor for both the foreign service workers who put themselves directly in harm’s way, and the moment of calm we require to reflect on their sacrifice.
The Eddy is a defining form within the landscape and is clearly visible from Global Affairs Canada offices in the Diefenbaker and Pearson Buildings. Tracing upward from the water to the land and sky, it draws anyone in the vicinity into its slowly spiralling orbit of connecting paths and seating.
The memorial’s site, the globe-spanning duties of Canada’s foreign service workers, and the interconnectedness of the world’s waterways find integrated expression in this design concept. Names of the fallen are carved into the memorial’s tall Standing Stone, a river-inspired sculptured granite form that speaks to time and resistance.
The Standing Stone ‘conducts’ an eddy-like swirl of berms and pathways around the ceremonial oval – the placid centre in the stone’s wake. By taking this space out of the current, the stone creates a moment of calm where individuals or a group gathered for a memorial service can slow down, reflect, and remember those we have lost.