Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - EN­TER­TAIN­MENT -

But in this case, not only was the struc­ture in­spired by na­ture, its cre­ation was al­most a col­lab­o­ra­tion with the park it­self, since the goal was to have it fit in with the sur­round­ings, Man­ning says.

The Vil­lage Tower was con­structed from re­claimed and re­pur­posed ma­te­ri­als (steel pipe and cedar Hy­dro poles), us­ing prin­ci­ples of folk art, and “that’s an op­po­si­tional form of art,” he ex­plains.

“When some­thing hap­pens, you re­act to it, so if you find a piece of wood with an in­ter­est­ing knot in it, you might en­hance that or work around it or slide some­thing over to make it work bet­ter. You have to be flex­i­ble.”

When de­sign­ing the Fes­ti­val Vil­lage, ar­chi­tects looked to the Fi­bonacci se­ries, a nu­meric pat­tern found in both mu­sic and na­ture — i.e. in the in­ter­lock­ing spi­rals found in pine cones and sun­flower heads.

The Vil­lage Tower, which mea­sures seven me­tres in di­am­e­ter at the base, nearly 14 me­tres at its high­est point and has 13 (a Fi­bonacci num­ber) posts an­chored 4.5 me­tres into the ground, is a swirling ex­ten­sion of this sa­cred ge­om­e­try.

It leans east, to­ward the main stage, re­call­ing the park’s windswept grasses and trees. It re­sem­bles a teepee. Or a camp­fire. Or a sheaf of wheat, cupped hands, or flower petals — you de­cide.

Man­ning says the orig­i­nal in­ten­tion was to build some­thing that would have a prac­ti­cal use be­yond be­ing a fes­ti­val land­mark — say a to­bog­gan tower — but park of­fi­cials weren’t in­ter­ested.

“So it be­came more of an art piece; some­thing very open and evoca­tive,” he says.

“One thing we were in­spired by was the idea of dis­cov­ery. Ev­ery time I go to the folk fes­ti­val there are a few bands I’ve heard of, but I al­ways dis­cover some­thing new. Then the whole work­shop process of­ten blends things in sur­pris­ing ways,” Man­ning ex­plains.

“We thought this tower could also be a source of dis­cov­ery, and then peo­ple can read their own in­ter­pre­ta­tions into it.”

The tower will also serve as a gallery for public art, ca­pa­ble of sup­port­ing tem­po­rary and longterm in­stal­la­tions, Man­ning adds, while stand­ing on its own as a land­mark and a sonic sculp­ture.

Even­tu­ally, it will not only con­tain low-wattage lights to sim­u­late a camp­fire’s in­ner glow, it will be equipped with sound­ing tubes, or even strings, mak­ing it, in ef­fect, a playable mu­si­cal in­stru­ment.


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