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The Roller

November's Awesome Ottawa award goes to Jean-François Jacques, to support the construction of a cylindrical roller that prints patterns in snow, grass, and sand.

“Imagine it's early morning,” says Jean-François, “and there’s a virgin inch of snow on the ground. We pick a roller and drive down our backstreets, onto the highway, leaving whimsical patterns, or whatever we so desire – poetry, equations, hallmark greetings – in our wake.”

“There’s over a century of literature,” he continues, “on the importance and the how-to of re-appropriating public space, streets especially. This is my addition to the narrative. I’m interested in mega-patterns as a tool of subversion, re-imagining, guerrilla urbanism, activist architecture, secondary agency, street deconstructivism, pop-patterning, and early morning whimsy making.”

He has already built a prototype of the roller, and will use the award from Awesome Ottawa to build a bigger, sturdier, and heavier version out of solid rubber.

“I subscribe to the notion that it doesn’t take much to change a space,” says Jean-François, “and that, more often than not, the ‘magic’ of a solution is embedded in its simplicity. Pattern making, though just surface, is anything but superficial.”

Jean-François runs a design and architecture firm called Arkade.


Funded by Ottawa, ON (November 2015)