Revitalizing over 25 acres of Edmonton’s city centre, the ICE district is a modern metropolis, one of Canada’s largest multi-use projects, combining offices, residential living, a public plaza, shopping, entertainment and a sports arena – all in walking distance. It’s a vibrant urban district, attracting visitors from all corners of the city, the country and the world.


At the centre of the ICE district is the Edmonton Tower. Designed by Stantec Architecture, the Edmonton Tower integrates a combination of curtain wall, natural stone and public art. The contemporary building reflects the culture and energy of the ICE District. OmbraeTM surface technology was chosen for the public art component, designed by DDB Canada, featuring 10,000 square feet of optical tiles at the base of the building.

The Process


We worked with Ombrae Studios and DDB Canada to optimize the image, including contrast and saturation from various viewing positions, sun exposure and ambient light conditions. Ombrae Studios assembled a test rendering, allowing the team to evaluate the system’s resolution from various viewing distances using 25-mm optical tiles.


After designing the OmbraeTM surface with Ombrae Studios and DDB Canada, we assembled a full-scale mock-up to evaluate the system under natural light conditions. We chose a detailed, high-contrast piece of the artwork for the mock-up, assembling it in our North Vancouver facility and successfully demonstrating the system’s ability to render the artwork to all stakeholders.


Utilizing two turret punches, we fabricated the system over three months, producing 626 panels – and 800,000 optical tiles, each indexed and punched individually. After fabrication of the final panel, we finished each panel in a clear anodized coating, packaged and securely shipped them to Edmonton for installation.




The optical tiles were installed over an insulated cladding system, featuring thermally-improved girt connections, which helped the building meet LEED Gold requirements.