UNDER THE HELMET, the latest addition to Calgary’s public art folio

Under the Helmet by Ilan Sandler, completed in 2014 for $70,000 (photo. Angus MacKenzie
Under the Helmet by Ilan Sandler, completed in 2014 for $70,000


As elemente’s PUBLIC ART series continues, we felt it time to add some fashion to the mix. Sure the interactive works and the million dollar hoop are nice but what’s really needed to round out the city’s portfolio is a 50 ft metallic fireman’s helmet that slightly resembles Santiago Calatrava’s Valencia Opera House.

elemente’s public works folio now includes the likes of a tangled mess of chaotic awesomeness that is the The River Passage, the new not-really-public-art-but-is-sort-of-artsy Skipping Stone/St. Patrick bridges and the translucent waviness/illuminati worshipping bit that is the Beltline’s Chinook Arc but no hats.

Completed in October 2014 at a budget of $170,000, the piece designed by South African born artist Ilan Sandler, entitled “Under the Helmet” was designed as sculptural add-on to the new Windsor Park Fire Station.Standing on edge at what looks like a smidge over two storeys tall, the piece at first isn’t obvious as a helmet.

On profile the sculpture presents as more of an abstract piece of art than literal helmet newton interpretation. However upon viewing its skeletal shape from directly across the street you start to see iconic shapes like the flared brim at the back, the visor framework and the signature oblong shaping.

According to the artist and city brief, “The artwork speaks to the complex relationships and dependencies that exist among firefighters and their equipment. In particular, the helmet distinguishes the individuality of the fire-fighter, while symbolizing membership on a team,” states Sandler. ” By constructing the linear form from the characteristics of hoses and maintaining ample open spaces within the structure, the artwork’s curves complement the angular geometry of the building’s design and hardscaping.”

The chromium styled, open-themed helmet can be found at the Windsor Park Fire Station just off McLeod Trail at 5536 – 4th Street S.W.

Source: City of Calgary

Angus Mackenzie

Canadian born automotive & architectural photographer. elemente magazine was born in 2006 as a Canadian national design publication . It remains as an online entity.

One thought on “UNDER THE HELMET, the latest addition to Calgary’s public art folio

  • Jennifer Storm

    Hello Angus. Thank you for this story featuring some of Calgary’s great public art pieces. There is one correction, however. The budget for the Under the Helmet piece was $170k, and not $70 as you have noted. Thanks for the correction.


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