À l’ombre des pommetiers TKNL unveils an immersive winter experience on the Esplanade of the Palais des congrès

a l'ombre des pommetiers - TKNL

From February 9 to March 10, 2024, the Esplanade of the Palais des congrès de Montréal will come to life at nightfall for a new immersive experience, À l’ombre des pommetiers, designed and developed by TKNL. Sponsored by Tourisme Montréal, this light and sound show will offer passersby a chance to enjoy a contemplative moment in the garden, designed by landscape architect Claude Cormier in 2002.

Located between the Quartier International, Chinatown, and Old Montréal, the Esplanade of the Palais des congrès serves as a vibrant gathering space for local residents, conference delegates, and tourists alike. In designing this urban garden, Claude Cormier hoped to turn the Esplanade into a contemporary public space, an attraction where visitors can find comfort and friendly faces, or engage in artistic exploration. Thirty-one decorative crab apple trees, a symbol of Montréal, bloom every May in a symphony of pinks, creating a bouquet of giant flowers for passersby to walk through. As the plants change colour from season to season, this urban oasis provides visitors with a welcome scenery to brighten up their day.

With the Palais celebrating its 40th anniversary, TKNL wanted to build on this concept, while enhancing the existing landscape and creating an immersive winter experience. Brimming with light, sound, and visual symbols, À l’ombre des pommetiers (In the shade of the crab apple trees) offers a spellbinding array of colours, elevating and bringing the Esplanade of the Palais des congrès to life with a series of modular light fixtures.

A space for artistic exploration inspired by Claude Cormier

The imagination of Claude Cormier was a guiding light for this new installation. The design of the iconic public artworks, as well as the words of the artist that made them, inspired TKNL as they developed this experience. An eight-minute audio track (played on repeat) features the voices of various people that frequent the Esplanade, including neighbourhood residents, members of the Chinese community, and Palais employees. Speaking in French, English, Cantonese, and Mandarin, these voices discuss the joy, beauty, and surprises the garden provides throughout the seasons. Each segment features a kaleidoscope of shadows and multicoloured lights that pepper the trees, as well as symbolic visuals along the ground and lighting spots throughout the Esplanade of the Palais des congrès.

In addition to providing a colourful artistic experience, TKNL wanted the project to reflect the Esplanade’s location, which lies at the intersection between multiple communities, including Chinatown. The fact that À l’ombre des pommetiers will launch in time with the Lunar New Year is also no accident: the immersive experience will help brighten up the festivities planned by the Chinese community to usher in the Year of the Dragon.


Designed as a time for sharing and bringing people together,À l’ombre des pommetiers also allows visitors to (re)discover the Esplanade of the Palais des congrès, an area that is little known to the public. The TKNL team hopes to bring residents, tourists, and Palais des congrès visitors a colourful winter experience, while also showing off the garden designed by Claude Cormier more than 20 years ago. This project would not have been possible without the financial support of Tourisme Montréal, as well as the close cooperation of the Chinese community and the Palais des congrès team, who have our sincere gratitude.

– Nathalie Gélinas, producer at TKNL

This immersive experience designed by TKNL is a perfect example of our attempt to develop gathering places for local and international visitors that encourage them to enjoy new experiences together. This lighting feature also highlights the talents of Claude Cormier, who in 2002 transformed the Esplanade of the Palais des congrès into an inspiring public space for everyone who visits here.

– Emmanuelle Legault, president and CEO of the Palais des congrès de Montréal 

Tourisme Montréal welcomes the creation of the experience À l’ombre des pommetiers at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, and has invested nearly $100,000 in the initiative. An immersive event that combines music and light displays, this project not only contributes to Montréal’s cultural programming, but also helps carry on the creative legacy of Claude Cormier, an important figure who has contributed to the city’s most iconic works. We believe this project will attract local and international visitors looking for a singular experience.

– Yves Lalumière, president and CEO of Tourisme Montréal