Scotiabank Nuit Blanche


The Chess Set, 2012
Photo: David Greyson

Suitable for all ages

Artscape Wychwood Barns - Blandford Gates

The Chess Set

Blandford Gates - Toronto, Canada

Interactive Installation

The Chess Set is a personal and somewhat eccentric interpretation of the traditional Staunton chess pieces created in Victorian England. Gates' view is that the Medieval game of chess is a war game and therefore the chess pieces have been created to have war-like characteristics.

The chess pieces are constructed of a variety of recycled metal parts, mostly from farm drive sheds, garden sheds, kitchens, yard sales, thrift shops and various secret sources.  The common base for most pieces is an inverted maple sap bucket on which the characters are built. Shovel blades, meat grinders, golf clubs, garden and kitchen tools, and numerous other parts find a different role to impart menace to each piece.

The set was used to replay the fifth game of the Match of the Century between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky, played in 1972.

Blandford G. Gates, B Arch., OAA., FRAIC

Professional Honours: The Order of Da Vinci, Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.


Artscape Wychwood Barns, Barn 2, 601 Christie Street

This project is indoors.