Manitoba

Wave installation aims to bring in buckets of cash for orphans in Mexico

One Bucket at a Time uses thousands of five-gallon buckets that have been meticulously woven together to create two giant waves that the public is being encouraged to climb on and explore.

Public is encouraged to walk on and explore giant grid of 5-gallon pails at the foot of Esplanade Riel

Pablo Batista with Winnipeg’s 5468796 Architecture stands next to One Bucket at a Time, a new art installation at the foot of the Esplanade Riel that's part of the Winnipeg Design Festival and Nuit Blanche/Culture Days. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

A new art installation is quite literally making waves in downtown Winnipeg.

The unique piece of art, called One Bucket at a Time, uses thousands of five-gallon buckets that have been meticulously woven together to create two giant waves that the public is being encouraged to climb on and explore.

"The buckets seem to be floating, as a wave," said Pablo Batista with Winnipeg's 5468796 Architecture, which collaborated with a group of architects and builders from Mexico City and a Colorado-based structural engineering firm for the project. "But the base of the buckets are filled with sand and that keeps them stable so you can step on them and people can walk on them."
One Bucket at a Time uses thousands of five-gallon buckets to create two giant waves. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Batista says the buckets are tethered together with a grid made of heavy rope, which means they're able to be flipped over at the corner — almost like a carpet — to create the unique wave design.

The installation is part of the Winnipeg Design Festival and Nuit Blanche/Culture Days and can be found at the foot of the Esplanade Riel.

The project was initially designed as a pavilion for people to explore for part of the Mextrópoli City Architecture Festival held in Mexico City in March, explains Batista, who says the installation was inspired by the prevalent use of buckets to hijack public space in Mexico City.

In Mexico City buckets cause frustration when people use them to take over public parking spaces to make you pay. So a group of architects, builders and engineers in Mexico, the US and Winnipeg decided to take the bucket back for a unique design installation. 2:38

"There's people who make a job of filling buckets with concrete and then take over public parking spots," explained Batista, who is originally from Mexico. "You have to pay them to remove the bucket and then they look after your car — but if you don't pay it could be an issue.

"There's this connotation of the buckets taking over people's spaces so the intent originally was to take the object that takes over their space and give it back to the people."

'Fill the Wave'

The Winnipeg members of the design team have added a community initiative to the buckets' time in the city, and are asking visitors to the installation to donate $20 to a "fill the wave" campaign that hopes to send the buckets back to Mexico filled with cash.

All money raised will go to y Solidaridad con las Niñas de la Calle, a Mexican orphanage for at-risk girls and young women located in Mexico City.

Batista said the Mexican members of the design team headed back home from the setup here in Winnipeg just two days before the recent earthquake in Mexico City and they're all now busy helping to clear debris and clean up their city.

"For us it has highlighted that right now it's a critical to donate," he said. "There's always people in the background doing this work … there are so many hardworking and committed organizations that are doing this incredible work day in and day out."

The project will remain up until the end of September, and Batista says the team is hoping to raise $24,000 in that time. Donations can be made through the 5468796 Architecture website.

The buckets used in One Bucket at a Time are tethered together with heavy rope. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

With files from Megan Fiddler