Winning installations unveiled for Toronto’s Winter Stations

An iconic item of headwear, a nuclear cooling tower that celebrates wind-power and a giant Futurist intonarumori instrument are coming to Toronto’s east end beaches this winter, as part of the fourth annual Winter Stations International Design Competition.

Four winning designs were selected from hundreds of submissions from around the world by this year’s Winter Stations design jury. Artists, architects and designers were asked to create bold designs at the site of the lifeguard stations that are dotted along the beach-front. Each winning submission celebrates Toronto’s winter waterfront landscape and aims to draw people outside to interact with installations, the winter and each other. The four winning designs will be joined by three student installations from the University of Guelph, OCAD and Ryerson University.

Revolution, OCAD University student winner. Image via Winter Stations
Revolution, OCAD University student winner. Image via Winter Stations

“Yet again the submissions we received really blew us away with their creativity,” says Ward 32 Councillor and Winter Stations jury member, Mary-Margaret McMahon. “It was a tough choice narrowing it down but we are really excited to present the four winning installations and the three student designs, and we hope that the community welcomes them as some warm and colourful relief in this cold weather.”

Winter Stations
Nest, Ryerson University student winner. Image via Winter Stations

“Provocative, political and audacious, the winning submissions have brought a fantastic riot to the beach this year,” says Lisa Rochon, Winter Stations design jury chair. “The jury considered every submission seriously and I believe the public will be amazed and delighted by this year’s installations on the beach.”

Winter Stations
Rising Up, University of Guelph Student Winner. Image via Winter Stations

The theme for Winter Stations’ fourth year is RIOT. Designers took their inspiration from the past year’s political upheaval and continued global uncertainty, acting out and actively resisting through a riot of colour, form and material.

“It was important for us to allow the competition to evolve and reflect the global events of the past twelve months,” says Winter Stations co-founder, Roland Rom Colthoff, RAW Design. “At the same time, the installations couldn’t stray too far from the main motive of Winter Stations, which is to bring joy, warmth and conversation to the long, cold Canadian winter landscape.”

Founded by RAW Design, Ferris + Associates, and Curio, the design competition was conceived as a way of using design to inspire Torontonians to visit the beach in the winter. Now in its fourth year, the concept has evolved to include sister exhibition, Ice Breakers, presented in collaboration with Toronto’s Waterfront BIA. Ice Breakers is now in its second year and runs from January 19 – February 25, along Queen’s Quay in downtown Toronto.

The Winter Stations finalists are:
Pussy Hut by Martin Miller and Mo Zheng (USA)
Inspired by the Women’s March movement, this vivid installation recreates the powerful, knitted symbol that captured the spirit of the protests around the world on January 21, 2017. The design is simple, yet powerful, a symbol that gains strength through participation and unity. As winter approaches it is a reminder to wear your hat, stand up for what’s right, and stay warm.
Obstacle by Kien Pham (UK)
Obstacle is a metaphor for overcoming the problems in the world. Although at first, it seems like an impenetrable barrier, the columns rotate allowing visitors to enter and interact with the obstacle, and other visitors. In order to confront the obstacle, visitors have to work together, rotating the columns in sequence to overcome the adversity.
Make Some Noise!!! by Alexandra Grieß and Jorel Heid (Germany)
Italian Futurism comes to Toronto with this over-sized noisebox, based on Luigi Rusollo’s “intonarumori” which caused an uproar in the classical music scene when he introduced it in the Milan Opera House in 1914. The installation is intended as a playful instrument to ‘ring the alarm’.
Wind Station by Paul van den Berg and Joyce de Grauw (Netherlands)
Wind Station is a call for nuclear phase-out that brings together hundreds of tiny pin-wheels, to symbolize renewable wind energy, in the shape of a nuclear cooling tower. A playful protest that asks why countries continue to rely on dangerous and un-sustainable technology to provide energy when safer, cleaner alternatives are available.