Refraction - CODAworx


Client: Tridel and Hines

Location: Toronto, ON, Canada

Completion date: 2021

Artwork budget: $250,000

Project Team


Dan Menchions



Keith Rushbrook






Frabricator + Installation

Filipe Lisboa

Viso Inc.


Refraction is a 40-foot high acrylic art installation located within Aquabella, a Bayside Development condominium on Toronto’s waterfront, owned and operated by Tridel and Hines. Designed by II BY IV DESIGN and produced by VISO Inc., this record-breaking success is the tallest installation in the world of continuous single fabricated acrylic pieces and represents a combination of effort and expertise shared by an incredible team of designers and fabricators.

By definition, Refraction is the natural phenomenon of light passing through an optical prism. The way light enters and exits the point of refraction is what causes the vibrant spectrum of colour. In this site-specific installation, the multi-coloured acrylic beams are a creative solution for the unassuming high-ceiling space. The ephemeral effect created through these acrylic beams floods the entire lobby space with rays of polychromatic light.

Tridel and Hines are visionary clients, who trusted the II BY IV DESIGN team to conceptualize this bold and colourful installation, creating a luminous rainbow beacon in Toronto’s newest waterfront community while contributing to the thriving public art program within the city.


Our goal was to create a bold and colourful art installation for a private residential community. The ephemeral effect created through the acrylic beams floods the entire lobby space with rays of polychromatic light. It also interacts with the public, as they are able to view it through the double storey windows, catching the attention of all those who pass by whether it’s day or night.
The conceptual design process took up to 8 years to complete, and 1 year to fabricate – bringing together an international group of fabricators from Germany, Spain, and Portugal under one community.


Engineering and fabricating “Refraction” required focused preliminary studying including stress test calculation, structural and rigidity reports. Acrylic pillars this long and heavy, at 9.5 meter high and up to 160 kg at it heaviest have never been extruded. VISO had to source and put together a unique talent pool from Germany, Spain and Portugal each with very specific skill sets to complete the project.

Some of the challenges were that no one acrylic piece had ever been extruded this long and heavy. Each piece required solid support since it is not attached to anything in the ceiling. Thus, 350Kg Nero Marquina Marble stone was selected as the foundation holding multiple acrylic pillars. A custom table for the pieces to be fabricated had to be engineered with a rare gluing technique that laminates 2 pieces of acrylic together to complete the design intent.

What made fabrication, transportation and installation is the fact each pillar had to be handled by hand and store in a temperature-controlled environment in order to preserve fabrication integrity.