Winter Stations might morph into Spring Stations this year.
The selections for the seventh-annual design competition and public art installations have been revealed, though organizers say the event will be put on hold until they can safely be displayed under COVID-19 restrictions.
Toronto is under a 28-day provincial stay-at-home order, which advises everyone to stay home and only go out for essential reasons.
This year the exhibition, which usually launches on Family Day at Woodbine Beach, will also include three temporary installations in the Distillery District and one at Kew Gardens. The artworks will then move to the beach.
The four winning installations were selected from a record-breaking pool of more than 400 submissions from around the world.
Designers were asked to incorporate the theme of “refuge,” and reflect on the pandemic. Organizers also advised hopeful designers to anticipate a more socially distanced exhibition.
The installations have generally encouraged people to interact in some form – children climb on them, parents sit on them. But that likely won’t be allowed this year.
“We recognize this year, more than ever, we need to be flexible in how we operate. Partnering with The Distillery District and the Beach BIA allows us to extend our exhibition by several weeks, while also giving Torontonians a chance to experience the installations in different settings,” said Roland Rom Colthoff, founder of RAW Design, which started the installation competition with Ferris + Associates and Curio.
“Our plans and contingencies are in place and we are committed to launching the installations sometime this year. If that means postponing our event until restrictions ease, we might need to call them ‘Spring’ Stations, and bring safe, outdoor experiences to our city.”
Check out the winning installations below.
Aleksandra Belitskaja, Ben James and Shaun McCallum’s ARc de Blob incorporates digital interaction through a Mixed Reality App. The colourful landmark will stand out on Woodbine Beach and references iconic architectural composition and elements contrasted with the colourful materials and patterns that create a warm and welcoming shelter. The arch acts as both a physical and virtual portal and refuge that can be accessed through the app.
From Small Beginnings, created by Jack and Charlie Leather, references the sometimes unexpected ways many of us have returned to the outdoors for comfort and solace over the past year.
The shelves are covered in spruce seedlings, contrasting the more serious exterior of the structure. The installation allows visitors to seek refuge from harsher elements, and they can encounter strangers in a socially distanced way or enjoy some solitude. The seedlings can be replanted locally once the exhibition ends.
The Epitonium by M. Yengiabad is inspired by nature, created to imitate the epitonium seashell. The installation is both functional and beautiful, turning a natural structure into a refuge. By building structures that are based on forms familiar to humans in nature, in addition to creating two-dimensional graphics, architecture can complement nature and be a part of it.
THROBBER by Heidundgriess draws on one thing all people seeking refuge have in common – the wait. The walk-in installation includes 10 small shelters, the colour spectrum similar to the icon anyone using a digital device will recognize while waiting as well. Once you are inside the installation, the colours reduce down to grey.
This year’s student winner is a team from Sheridan College. The structure represents the universal desire for a hug, and it reaches out to embrace both the public and the structures on the beach, standing tall no matter the weather and protecting everyone from the environment. The exterior is a neutral white that blends in with the winter beach landscape, and contrasts the red/orange interior that evokes protection, comfort and peace.
Check out photos of last year’s Winter Stations here.