2015 Cool Gardens competition winners announced

Cool Gardens is a public exhibition of contemporary garden and art installations presented by StorefrontMB and The Forks. The exhibition takes place in Winnipeg from July 4th to September 26th, 2015 and will feature locally, nationally and internationally acclaimed artists and practitioners in the Winnipeg context, highlighting the value of art and design in public space.

Established as a central Canadian counterpart to the Reford/Jardins de Métis concept that celebrates the interface between nature, art, urbanism and design, Cool Gardens has existed in Winnipeg for the past two years, with 2015 marking the third annual event. Past exhibitors include BGL, SPMB, Sol Desharnais, Scatliff+Miller+Murray, Ewa Tarsia, ATLRG, and Claude Cormier (providing a visiting garden from the Jardins de Métis).

Cool Gardens also mirrors Winnipeg’s internationally acclaimed Warming Huts Winter Program. Installations will run from Broadway Avenue to Provencher Boulevard, highlighting this generally unrecognized pedestrian linkage that bridges the Anglophone and Francophone communities. Installations along this axis provide an engaging, creative and active experience of downtown Winnipeg, and are highly accessible to a broad audience including children, tourists, shoppers, bicyclists and business people.

The 2015 Cool Gardens competition sought creative proposals from designers, architects, landscape architects and/or artists who are interested in challenging and celebrating the interface between urbanism, landscape and design. The exhibit of cutting-edge garden designs places design culture at the centre of summer activities in Winnipeg, and at the same time, offers pleasant cooling relief from the relentless heat of the season.

Three winning submissions have just been announced: 

A Landscape Never Happens Twice by Balmori Associates Inc.
A landscape, like a moment, never happens twice: this lack of fixity is landscape’s asset. This submission highlights the rapid changes that can occur in landscape. The colour yellow paints over the entire garden, visually binding all hard and softscapes, but the unity of the site changes as time passes. By using a yellow annual mix of flowers, the softscape gradually shifts from green to a yellow carpet of flowers, exhibiting a shift of colour densities and hues as different species bloom over the course of the exhibition. The sheer volume of flowers and the bright contrast in colour will not only emphasize the notion of change but also make for a spectacular sight.

Citizen Garden by Branton Leskiw + Dale Wiebe + Kent Mundle + Matthew Rajfur
Cool blue flagpoles rise out of the ground like the tall prairie grasses that once encompassed and followed the meandering river shore. The repetition of poles provides a light yet protective shield from the hot sun that beats down during Winnipeg summers. Cool blue flags fluttering in the wind provide visual interest from a distance and invite wanderers to investigate the site. Once inside the garden, movement of the flags reminds visitors of the cool relief that a summer breeze can provide. Collecting and organizing each individual’s notion of what cool means to them as well as having their face printed on a flag demonstrates both the diversity and unity that exists in this city that thrives in the middle of Canada.

Sitting on the Docks of Broadway! by Aaron Duke + Duncan Bates + Michael Barker
This installation brings the cottage to Winnipeg for the summer of 2015. The citizens of Winnipeg work too hard and deserve a dock on which to fish, drink beer and suntan! OK, we can’t bring the fish and the beer might not be allowed, but they can suntan. And they can relax, socialize, perform, eat vendor dogs and enjoy all too short summer months. Set within a field of wheat-like grass, two wooden docks sit beneath the shade of the natural umbrellas which are the elms that march along Broadway. Sitting invitingly atop the docks are whimsical interpretations of that ubiquitous piece of cottage furniture—the Adirondack chair. These brightly coloured seats call out for people to come and relax in Winnipeg’s newest public space.

In addition to three new gardens selected by competition, Cool Gardens 2015 will include an invited garden by internationally recognized visual artists Rodney Latourelle and Louise Witthöft, a sonic landscape curated by La Maison des Artistes, as well as the remounting of two previous gardens: Beachscape (SPMB) and Cool Dots (Eva Tarsia).

For more information, please visit http://coolgardens.ca