Metro Column: Cool Gardens art projects to spring up once again in Winnipeg

by Michelle Bailey
Published in Metro News Winnipeg, March 17, 2017

The popular warming huts at The Forks may have been disassembled for another year, but you need not despair.

Work has begun on new installations that will begin popping up in July to celebrate summer in Winnipeg.

The Cool Gardens public exhibition of garden and art projects is heading into its fifth year.

The concept brings together local and international architects, designers, landscape architects and artists to create contemporary, as well as temporary, places for people to rest and reflect.

Winnipeg architect and co-founder of StorefrontMB, David Penner, is the curator for Cool Gardens 2017.

He describes the initiative as a “celebration and exchange between nature and art.”

“Having these unique installations in Winnipeg, and one in Brandon as well, contributes in a positive way to our surroundings giving Winnipeggers and visitors an interactive experience,” Penner said.

“It’s not meant to be like a typical, traditional garden.”

One of the winning entries for this year was conceived by designers Rachelle Kirouac and Danielle Loeb from HTFC Planning and Design. Check out the other installations here.

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The pair, who have been friends since they met during their studies at the University of Manitoba, will have their winning design take shape at the Upper Fort Garry site on Main Street near The Forks.

Their design, dubbed “The Weave,” involves blue rope being woven together to create a bright splash of colour. It includes a large hammock and high canopies to mimic the surrounding trees.

“There’s a really great story to be told about Upper Fort Garry, which is such an important piece of Winnipeg’s urban fabric,” said Kirouac. “It was easy to be inspired by its history.”

One of the unique elements of this installation, Loeb said, is that they are sending out care packages to “Winnipeg celebrities and other well-known people” that will contain pieces of rope and instructions.

“They can either follow the instructions, or be inspired to design their own woven piece that we will take back from them and include along with all of the others to create a true mosaic that we think will come together beautifully, Loeb said

The installations will begin going up in July and remain until end of September.