Huddled like penguins against the icy wind, Ed Butler and Dan Wiltshire took in a heartwarming sight on Kew Beach this Family Day Monday.
Beside them, well-bundled kids and parents swung and twisted round on a dozen long, red canvas loops that the two British designers had strung up above a lifeguard stand.
Inspired by low-slung deckchairs and coloured ring-buoy red, their ‘Sling Swing’ was among five architectural art installations that drew mitt-thumping applause during the Family Day opening of the outdoor Winter Stations exhibit.
“I love that so many people are glomming onto it now, engaging and playing,” said Globe and Mail architecture critic and Beacher Lisa Rochon, who led a walking tour of the remodelled lifeguard stands.
“Rather than just high-tailing it down the boardwalk, these are wonderful interruptions,” she added. “And when you get interrupted on any landscape you tend to see it with fresh eyes.”
After a swing, for the next six weeks beachgoers can shelter in the jet-black Hot Box or coal-warmed Wing Back, marvel at Driftwood Throne or climb inside the brightly coloured pineapple/igloo structure called Snowcone.
For their part, Butler and Wiltshire, who flew in from U.K. just to build ‘Sling Swing,’ said they were pleased to see how quickly kids took to the playful structure despite the -28°C wind chill.
“It’s just great that people seem to be enjoying it so much,” said Butler.
After thawing his face enough to talk, Wiltshire said he had never visited a place as cold as Kew was this weekend, let alone worked there. But the two survived to tell the tale.
“We’re British, so we’re kind of obsessed with weather,” said Butler, laughing. “This will keep me going for a while.”