Benchmark 2020 Installations Revealed

“PIICNIIC” by Nicole Marion and Chris Wiebe of Winnipeg, MB is the first of two installations from Benchmark 2020, supported by the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, the Winnipeg Trails Association and Storefront Manitoba. The 30-foot chopped, kinked and overlapped bench is a playful spin on the humble picnic table.

Photo credit: Stationpoint Photographic

The site in Winnipeg was chosen in collaboration with the team at the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. Both Benchmark 2020 projects are completed with the guidance of project curators, Suzy Melo (Storefront Manitoba) and Anders Swanson (The Winnipeg Trails Association).

“We’re happy to support the Benchmark competition and are grateful for its positive impact on downtown Winnipeg,” says Kate Fenske, CEO of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, “Partnerships like this not only create excitement, they also provide opportunities for downtown workers, residents and visitors to connect and enjoy the outdoors, whether it’s for a quick break out of the office or a long lunch with friends.”

Photo credit: Stationpoint Photographic

The designers saw this as an opportunity to inspire Winnipeger’s to value street furniture as functional works of art that enrich their urban environments. “ Our goal for the PIICNIIC bench was and is to create a public amenity that can be enjoyed all year by everyone, whether physically engaging with it, or simply as a moment of visual delight while passing by,” says Marion. “Colour plays largely into this effort, taking the traditional ‘park green’ into hyper-saturated hues that contrast with the relatively neutral streetscape, and remain visually striking throughout Winnipeg’s four distinct seasons.” According to Marion and Wiebe “the hope is that this might be reproduced in various configurations and colours for other locations in Winnipeg.”

Photo credit: Stationpoint Photographic

PIICNIIC is a permanent installation located on the public right-of-way fronting 392-398 Graham Avenue. This is the sixth installation completed as part of the Benchmark project with the support of many local organizations including the Manitoba Association of Architects.

A second installation will be completed in Pinawa, Manitoba as part of this year’s program. The installation, titled Reflection, was designed by Berlin firm Sophie & Hans, and will be unveiled next summer.

“As a founding sponsor of Storefront Manitoba, we continue to believe in and support the vision of advancing awareness and appreciation of architecture and design,” said Doug Hanna, President of the Manitoba Association of Architects. “We encourage Manitobans to experience this year’s Benchmark installment in Winnipeg and the many more that are sprinkled along Manitoba’s network of trails.”