The installation bubblelung was commissioned for the reopening of the Small Arms Inspection Building, a World War Two munitions plant that has recently been transformed into a cultural hub.

The ten-foot tall pink lung expands and contracts at the top of the red brick chimney of the former coal-fired factory where women once built and tested guns.

3D drawing of bubblelung installed on the chimney of the Small Arms Inspection Building
Small Arms Inspection Building workers pose with firearms during WW2 SMALL ARMS INSPECTION BUILDING WORKERS

Made with the same simple technology used for all-weather outdoor advertising inflatables, the installation was designed to mark the building’s courtyard entrance and to signal the building’s new use from the street.

Photo of inflatable tube man or skydancer
Unfortunately, on the day of installation, a flock of chimney swifts — an endangered bird species that nests in disused chimneys — was discovered on the site.

Installation in progress at the Small Arms Inspection building with two cranes

Chimney Swift bird

We are in the process of installing the work in another location. We’ll keep you posted!

Testing the bubblelung inflatable in advance of the installation day

My grandmother worked in a factory in this neighbourhood in the post-war era and inspired the idea for the project. Like many of her colleagues she wore lipstick, smoked like a chimney, chewed bubblegum and, sadly, contracted lung cancer.

— Helena Grdadolnik

Client: City of Mississauga
Location: Missisauga, Ontario
Date: 2018
Team: Helena Grdadolnik ,  Kellie Chin, and Tony Li
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