chandelier vancouver

People can't stop complaining about the $5 million chandelier under a bridge in Vancouver

A luxury residential developer may be reconsidering its decision to install a nearly eight-metre, $5-million spinning chandelier under Vancouver's Granville Street bridge.

People have a lot to say about Westbank Corp.'s "art installation" — what at first seemed like a publicity stunt for its forthcoming development — not only because of the opulent excess it represents amid a city dealing with a housing crisis, but because it happens to hang in a space that was once occupied by the homeless.

The underpass serves as shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness, who have historically set up camp in the industrial area. Many residents are saying the chandelier is tasteless and tone-deaf, like the equivalent of giant middle finger to the city's impoverished.

The piece of art was actually mandated by the city in order for Westbank to rezone for its nearby Vancouver House condo project, which will be 52 storeys and has units going for nine million dollars. The company has a history of incorporating public art into a number of its buildings in the area.

The construction giant will also have to pay more than $21 million in fees to the city, and offer 106 new rental units as part of the deal. Such arrangements of "selling" rezoning are not rare.

The "art," which some are joking may start a class war, was designed by B.C. artist Rodney Graham and is made of more than 3,000 kg of faux crystals and stainless steel.

In response to the backlash, Westbank said in a statement to media that it doesn't have to "choose between contributing to social infrastructure or making other contributions, whether artistic or cultural, that are seen as less functional" and that it doesn't see this as an "either/or situation."

Regardless of the intention behind the fixture, response remains divisive and largely negative. There have even been petitions launched that argue that the chandelier — typically a signifier of affluence — is not in fact art at all.

One thing is for certain: the piece is drawing a lot of attention. Those who want to see the controversial artifact in-person can watch it drop, spin and illuminate under Vancouver's Granville Street bridge at noon and 9 p.m. daily.

Lead photo by

Mark Atomos Pilon

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