Designer and RAW: Gallery director Joe Kalturnyk was pleased to be asked to speak at TEDxManitoba on June 12, as it allowed him the chance to present his ideas about RAW: almond and what role temporary architecture can play in a city. RAW: almond, the pop-up restaurant on the ice that he designed and erected on the frozen river during the winters of 2013 and 2014, drew attention from around the world.
"I find temporary architecture interesting because it finds gaps in the city and it's able to fill them with things we're quite familiar with, so we took a restaurant and we put it on the river in an unusual place, and I guess it was a success," he said, modestly.
Kalturnyk, who also executed Table for 1200 with chef Mandel Hitzer, feels that good design projects can make a city. He's not at all bothered that certain public projects are often met with derision when they're first proposed, such as the Esplanade Riel, which is now the poster image for Winnipeg.
"I think it's exciting, I think it's great. What I've set out really deep down to do with RAW: Gallery and a lot of these projects is to bring design awareness to the public and I'd like to see more of that. I'd like to see more people booing and hissing buildings that go up and take a more active engagement. I think once that happens, designers respond."
Kalturnyk, who left Winnipeg when he was younger, returned to complete architecture studies at the University of Manitoba, as the school is so highly regarded. He then launched RAW: Gallery of Architecture and Design.
"Then I started to realize, this is actually a really great town. This is a really amazing city, so it was a turning point for me."
He is tremendously excited by the renaissance in design in Winnipeg. "It's booming. There's a lot of activity, there's a lot of discussion, there's a lot of people really engaged. It's a really great time to be in that field in Winnipeg," he enthused.