Brazilians Bring the Sunshine to Winnipeg!

Posted on Feb 28, 2024 by The Forks Market

Recently, we had the pleasure of welcoming Andre Zanolla and Bianca de Lira Silva to The Forks and to Winnipeg for their inaugural winter visit! The two designers are from São Paulo, where they co-own Democratic Architects, a multidisciplinary design research studio focused on reimagining spaces through architecture.

As the designers behind the 2022 Warming Hut, Sunset, their arrival was eagerly anticipated, though postponed due to the pandemic. But this year, they were finally able to embark on the journey to witness their sunset, and a Winnipeg winter, firsthand.

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Sunset is a radiant yellow wave amidst the snowy expanse of the Nestaweya River Trail, presented by The Winnipeg Foundation. While our days grow shorter in the early weeks of winter, this Warming Hut assumes the role of a second sun, offering relief and visual warmth long after the natural sun has set.

The warming hut seamlessly blends into the snow-covered landscape from some perspectives. From other angles, its vibrant façade provides a soul-nourishing experience, reflecting “sunlight” onto the snow.

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Sunset marked the beginning of the pair’s participation in the Warming Hut competition, which now stands as a recurring opportunity for them to express their creativity. “We’re not in it for the victory,” Andre explains, though he admits that winning is always a nice bonus.

For Andre and Bianca, who are accustomed to the lengthy project timelines of large-scale architectural projects, the allure of public art lies in the short window between conceptualization and construction. “There’s an immediate impact with an installation like this” adds Andre, “and it’s really cool to be here and witness the influence that warming huts have on people’s perception of winter, first hand.”

Since celebrating their winning Sunset in the 2022 Warming Hut series, Andre and Bianca have continued to submit fresh ideas for the competition. Privy to a glimpse of their subsequent entries, we can attest—their ideas are nothing short of spectacular.

Though Andre and Bianca firmly believe that being familiar with a locale enhances the quality of designs made for it. “Our time in Winnipeg gave us a better idea of what people are looking for,” Bianca adds. “We found things about the city that we didn’t necessarily know from our research alone.”While here, Andre and Bianca embraced the winter spirit, immersing themselves in various cold-weather activities, relishing every moment, and began talking about their next visit!

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