reza aliabadi creates thought-provoking installation at rocky mountains residency


while at an artist’s residency at crowsnest pass in canada’s rocky mountains, reza aliabadi of atelier RZLBD created an installation to spread awareness about climate change. the toronto-based architect collected 12 variously-sized pieces of coal from crowsnest pass valley, an area with a long history in coal mining. aliabadi then arranged the black rocks onto a plywood sheet in a clock formation, creating ‘coal watch’. the artwork aims to highlight the dangerous effects burning fossil fuels has on the environment.

coal watch by rzlbd 2
images courtesy of reza aliabadi



‘time is running out’ — reza aliabadi


the work reflects on many recollections, from E. F. schumacher’s book ‘small is beautiful’, to olafur eliasson’s ‘ice watch’, to yoko ono’s ‘I love you earth’, to many of david suzuki’s talks and writings, specifically ‘the legacy’, and of course to al gore’s eye-opening book turned documentary ‘an inconvenient truth’. coal watch pays homage to all these great minds.


‘as david suzuki said, ‘we’re in a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyone’s arguing over where they’re going to sit.’ alas, time is running out and we are not doing any better to change the course. let us stop fighting over the seats and instead together change the trajectory,’  says reza aliabadi about the message behind coal watch.

coal watch by rzlbd 1
coal watch

coal watch by rzlbd 7
the 12 pieces of coal

coal watch by rzlbd 9
crowsnest pass in the rocky mountains, canada

coal watch by rzlbd 8
crowsnest pass in the rocky mountains, canada




project info:


name: coal watch

design: atelier RZLBD (reza aliabadi)


designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lynne myers | designboom