Gurney New Bright Idea!

Gurney I of IV was designed by repurposing one of six cast iron components that made up ‘New Bright Idea’ by Gurney Boiler Co. of Toronto.  The boiler was manufactured in 1949 and functioned as a coal fired, industrial hot water boiler.  Each hollow casting weighs approximately 500 lbs.  The base support system and top caps were all custom fabricated to make this piece function as a coffee table.  Please view the ‘fabrication process’ to see the entire work from initial scouting to completion.

Gurney Provenance – Sept. 2013

The first 20 years of service of this boiler is unknown at this moment.  About 1969, two business partners by the names of George Holland and Joe Strange purchased a 5-acre plot of undeveloped land in South Langley. With this land they built a mushroom farm.  The Gurney boiler was most likely purchased used and proceeded to serve as the source of hot water for the operation of the mushroom farm.  In about the late 70’s / early 80’s, the coal-fired water boiler was deemed obsolete with the advancement of electric and natural gas boilers which were automated, clean, efficient and a better investment in the long run.

In the mid-90’s the founders of the mushroom farm retired and sold the business to a Vietnamese farmer by the name of Ha.   The farm continued to operate until around the turn of the century when a fire broke out in one of the main production buildings.   Upon investigation into the fire, it was discovered that faulty wiring from a marijuana grow-op had been the cause of the fire.   The mushroom farm seized to operate and sat desolate for the next 13+ years.

The property was first scouted  back in the winter of 2011.   In the summer of 2013, the property was revisited to source for sculptural material.  Hidden in the forest not far from the abandoned mushroom farm sat the remains of 2 boilers, overgrown with bush and almost completely taken over by moss and years worth of leaves, with a 20+ year old tree even growing through one of the castings.  The artist purchased the rights to the abandoned pieces and hired a crane truck to have them removed.

Currently, the property with abandoned buildings still in place – is being utilized as a staging area for an equestrian club.  The organizer hopes to eventually clear the land and have proper facilities in place.