A 'Pussy Hut,' obstacle panels, noisebox, pinwheel tower among Winter Stations this year
Theme of event on Toronto's east end beaches is RIOT, as in 'a riot of colour, form and material'
One features a bright pink Pussy hat. Another has red rectangular columns that rotate. A third is a large noise box with yellow and black zigzag lines. And a fourth is made up of white pinwheels in the shape of a nuclear cooling tower.
A jury has chosen the winning designs for the Winter Stations International Design Competition, an annual event now in its fourth year that will take shape next month on the beaches in Toronto's east end.
The winning designs will turn into installations at lifeguard stations from Feb. 19, Family Day, until April 1. The installations will be located south of Queen Street East, between Woodbine and Victoria Park Avenues, roughly from Woodbine Beach to the Leuty Lifeguard Station.
Rochon described the winning submissions as "big, bold and audacious." The six-person jury considered about 270 submissions by artists, architects and designers from around the world. The winning submissions are from Germany, the Netherlands, Britain and the U.S.
Each celebrates Toronto's winter waterfront landscape and aims to draw people outside to see, touch and interact with the installations themselves.
"The theme was chosen by the organizing team to reflect the political upheaval of the past year," she said.
Public art is not "merely" about creating pretty artwork but is designed to imitate life, she added.
Three student installations from the University of Guelph, OCAD University and Ryerson University will complement the winning designs on the beaches.
For example, the Pussy Hut, designed by Martin Miller and Mo Zheng of the U.S., makes a statement about the inequality of women and zero tolerance for sexual harassment, she said.
"It's a colourful installation that recognizes the Women's March on Washington. It has a jumbo pink Pussy Hat knitted in large pieces. What's fantastic about this installation is that it presents a beacon of hope. It provides shelter," she said.
Roland Rom Colthoff, director of RAW Design and Winter Stations co-founder, said in the release that the installations are decidedly political this year.
"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."
The competition began as a way of using design to prompt Toronto residents to visit the beach in winter.
It now includes a "sister" exhibition, Ice Breakers, presented with the help of Toronto's Waterfront BIA. Ice Breakers, now in its second year, runs from Jan. 19 to Feb. 25 along Queen's Quay in downtown Toronto.
Sponsors of the Winter Stations include City of Toronto Parks and Recreation and Ontario Association of Architects.
Anex Works will build the four winning installations, while student teams will build their own installations.