An “Ice Breaker” is a colloquial term used to connote something that relieves inhibitions or breaks the tension between people. In Toronto, Ice Breakers is an annual international design competition for innovative public works that break up the dreary, seemingly endless winter with engaging, colorful, and humorous installations along the city’s waterfront that encourage spontaneous interaction.
Now in its second year, the 2018 exhibition is produced in partnership between Ports Toronto and the Waterfront BIA to bring five unique structures to life around the theme of “Constellation.” Proposals from enlarged bears inspired by the Ursa Major constellation to giant wind chimes were among those selected from hundreds of entries from all around the world, now on view until February 25.
See all five winning installations below.
Through the Eyes of the Bear / Tanya Goertzen (HTO Park West)
Installed in HTO Park West, this submerged ursine sculpture by Tanya Goertzen of the Calgary-based landscape studio People Places Design Inc. playfully questions our relationship with the natural environment. Composed of entirely renewable, recyclable and compostable materials, the whimsical installation appears to ask: What might the world look like through the eyes of a bear?
Root Cabin / Liz Wreford and Peter Sampson (Harbourfront Centre)
Riffing on the nostalgic trope of the “cabin in the woods,” Winnipeg’s Liz Wreford and Peter Sampson of Public City Architecture weave pink-tinted cuts of wood and weathered roots together to create an inhabitable dwelling reminiscent of a Canadian icon.
Winter FanFare / Thena Tak (HTO Park)
These gradating and rotating sculptures by Vancouver-based Thena Tak create a winter playscape between their fanning edges. Located in HTO Park, Tak’s vibrant structures provide clusters and pockets where visitors can interact, climb, and literally break the ice.
Black Bamboo / Bennet Marburger and Ji Zhang (Lower Simcoe Wavedeck)
90 bamboo poles painted jet black compose this teetering pavilion by Bennet Marburger and Ji Zhang of Chinese firm 2408 Studio. Located near the Lower Simcoe Wavedeck, the intersecting poles create an inhabitable cube that is only truly complete in our imagination.
Ensemble / João Araújo Sousa and Joana Correia Silva (Toronto Music Gardens East)
What to you get when you merge music, astronomy and architecture? The result is Porto-based JJs Arquitectura’s installation "Ensemble," comprised of wind chimes that visitors can modulate to produce an abstract composition and “ever-changing soundscape.”
Project descriptions via Waterfront BIA.