Fibreglass sculptures on the district energy plant and accompanying woven blankets communicate warmth.

district energy centre with folder blankets public art


Artist: Erica Stocking
Location: West Village Energy Centre and Park (13231 Central Avenue)
Category: Civic collection
Year Installed: 2018

About Blankets

Look for folded, draped, and wrapped blankets at Surrey’s new West Village Park and Energy Centre! Just as water generated from the Energy Centre gives heat to homes and businesses via underground pipes, so these blankets are a reminder of the warmth the West Village neighbourhood shares through district energy. The three variations of the blankets (folded, draped, and wrapped) match the three states of energy: stored, waiting, and in use. Sitting atop the boiler stacks on the roof, these fibreglass sculptures connect the warmth the Centre generates for residents with the warmth a person creates when wrapping a loved one in a blanket.

A companion piece to this public artwork is 50 woven blankets that resemble the fibreglass sculptures. The colours, textures, and patterns in the woven blanket all hearken back to the Energy Centre’s function. The lightweight blue cotton strips reference the cool water yet to be heated. The wool strips, which vary in thickness according to the Centre’s pipe sizes, refer to carbon and, being black, will absorb heat from the sun and warm the blanket’s user.

The woven blankets bring the message of the public artwork into residents’ hands in a real and accessible form. In turn, the sculptures are painted to resemble the woven blankets that use different colours to indicate how the heat production and distribution of the Energy Centre works.

Together, the three sculptures and the woven blankets are inspired by the question: what is a contemporary hearth in an age of industrial fire? The artwork seeks to convey the warm sentiments of hearth and home across the diverse West Village neighbourhood and to symbolize the connection between West Village Energy Centre and Park and the warm interiors of residents’ homes.

The distribution of these woven blankets to homes, schools, libraries, and community centres creates a story that lets the artwork shift and change over time and geography. Like heat circulating through the neighbourhood, each blanket generates stories, conversations, uses, and connections. These “sparks” can kindle the fire of a warm and caring community.

Blankets evoke a sense of warmth without using fire. The artist says, “Perhaps a contemporary hearth does not involve fire at all, but is the sharing of space.”  In a simple way, this artwork translates the piping of the building as a carrier of warmth in a materially and visually tangible form.

About the Artist

Erica Stocking is a multimedia artist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. She has exhibited art since she graduated in 2004. In 2009, Erica completed the public artwork Yellow Fence at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby and, in the same year, was awarded Vancouver Mayor’s Art Award for Emerging Public Artist. In 2012, she completed Geyser for Hillcrest Park, a permanent public artwork made for the City of Vancouver in collaboration with Vanessa Kwan, facility staff, parks board, and various engineers.