After a months-long postponement, Winter Stations is back – sort of. It’s been renamed Spring Stations for 2021 and relocated to the Distillery District, but it’s still the perfect way to explore design – from a distance – in the city
For more than a year now, the outdoors has been a haven, the city’s public spaces our collective balm. Now that spring is here, the city needs us just as much as we need it: getting outside keeps it alive.
Since 2015, Winter Stations has transformed, for a six-week span of deep winter, lifeguard stands along the Beaches with installations by global designers. After postponing 2021’s event due to Covid-19, the organizers are mounting a safe, socially distanced and relocated Winter Stations – ahem, Spring Stations – featuring its four winning designs in the Distillery District. How you experience it is up to you, so it makes perfect poetic sense that this year’s theme is “Refuge.”
One of the installations is the whimsical Arc de Blob. This creation by Iheartblob – a Vienna-based “mixed-reality” studio led by Aleksandra Belitskaja, Ben James and Shaun McCallum – seeks to bridge architecture and augmented reality by turning a classic, Arc de triomphe–like monument into an acid-hued artwork that can be experienced from various distances with the use of an AR app. That is, you can physically enter its portal and see – and digitally manipulate – its architectural details up close; you can take it in from further afield, pointing your smartphone at it to virtually bring it close to you; or you can appreciate it from the comfort of your own personal bubble.
“The arch is both a shelter and a doorway – a portal into another world,” says Belitskaja. “And the animations that make up its architectural ornaments show that architecture doesn’t have to be static – it can always change.” If life itself has felt stagnant for the last year, it’s time to change things up by exploring new refuges, through design. WINTERSTATIONS.COM
Spring Stations is on from now until late July.