Red Hot River Blankets: A Warming Hut Installation Essay

876 Words 4 Pages
Red straps of felted wool descend from the bottom of a bridge upon the snow on the frozen Assiniboine River, just before it merges with the broad Red River. Hung in two rows, they are intended for skaters and passersby to take a break from the cold by enveloping themselves in them. This is an installation by Workshop Architecture of Toronto called “Red Blanket” (Burshtein, Karen), and it is part of the current winter’s Warming Huts event, an initiative which takes place annually since 2010 on the Red River Mutual Trail in Winnipeg. Firms and individuals from all over the world, including Canada, seize the opportunity to propose a design for the competition, often redefining the concept of a “warming hut” – a structure usually found along …show more content…
The Red Blanket project disassembles the familiar, common warming hut, as it separates the covering material from the structure. Using an existing structure, the material is simply hung on it, and constitutes the actual “warming hut” which shelters and warms people. The chosen material for the “blankets”, felted wool, is dense and certainly warming. It maintains a balance between roughness and softness: apt to endure the outdoor conditions, while keeping the elastic qualities of fabric. Heavy enough not to blow too high into the air, the straps were often have to be seized before they could be used. In fact, the wind seemed to be an additional component, enhancing the installation by animating it. Blowing the crimson sheets like sails, or flags, the wind made them mesmerizing to behold. The installation is aesthetically compelling, and the quantity of people who were taking photos of it seconds that. The contrast between red lips and pale skin accentuated Snowhite’s beauty; the bright red fabric bore beautiful contrast to the whiteness of snow. A possible allusion to the Red river, red is also an attention drawing color, and has a feeling of heat to it. With this color the “blankets” brightened up grey winter days, while on sunny days the sunlight enriched their color in return. The composition of long, vertical lines relates the project to the horizontal line of the river. The straps are hung in two parallel rows of four

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