The next installation, ICEBOX, was created by design firm Polymétis Studio and is located at HTO Park. It certainly lives up to its name.
Polymétis specializes in landscape architecture, traditional architecture, and sculpture. They also work on projects that reclaim and cultivate public spaces from previously compromised areas such as landfills.
Their contribution to Ice Breakers is a black, shiny, square box, with openings at the north and south. Upon entering you can go either left or right and follow a path leading to a stark white funnel that opens to the elements. Polymétis states that they want to contrast “static physical world we know and the temporal surfaces of frozen water that accumulate and dissipate over it; between being inside, in the warmth, and being outside, in the cold.”
Thing is, I found the outside with its mirrored surface to be more engaging than the inside. That’s where I wanted to be, watching the reflections of weak sunlight, water, traffic signals and car headlights play across the face of the cube. The stark white interior felt cramped and unwelcoming and hardly a location for “introspection, social interaction and shared appreciation of winter.” The only thing I was interested in appreciating during my time within the installation was a fireplace and a hot toddy.
I get the feeling that I would appreciate ICEBOX more if it had been a bright, sunny winter day as opposed to the dismal gray that is so common in Toronto during January and February. And that is my second suggestion, to take into account the environment a little more when choosing and positioning the artwork. The inside of the installation was filled with water, we only had a narrow path to walk across to get from one side of the funnel to the other, so a more sheltered location wouldn’t be amiss. The view from the inside would be improved if we had something other than grey clouds to look at. I’m also sure ICEBOX would be stunning even in winter if it were surrounded by trees in a park, as opposed to beach umbrellas which just made the piece seem sad and abandoned.
As such, ICEBOX is an improvement over Leeward Fleet. It’s recognizable as a piece of art, visually interesting and will draw you into it as you walk past. The nice thing is, the exhibit keeps getting better from here.
All five Ice Breaker installations are available for viewing from January 21 to February 26, 2017. For more information, please visit The Waterfront BIA website for more information.