Winnipeg, Canada    NIX    2023


NIX, the collaborative creation of invited artist Wanda Koop and designer Thom Fougere, represents their temporary design for the 2023 Warming Huts Competition in Winnipeg, Canada. Located at the frozen intersection of the Red River and the Assiniboine River on the Nestaweya River Trail, this open-air snow pavilion rises above the challenging winter conditions in Winnipeg to bring art and design to the public. Named after the Latin word for 'snow,' NIX serves as a reflective space inspired by Koop's painted images, capturing expansive views, landscapes, and frozen moments.

The design of NIX turns snow and ice into a habitable sculpture, allowing the nuances of winter – light , shadow, and atmosphere – to amplify the inherent beauty of snow. As winter advances, the sculpture undergoes changes influenced by new snowfall, winds, temperature shifts, and eventual melting, concluding with its return to the river, melting away without leaving a trace.

Strategically placed carved portholes frame the frozen views, creating a 'looking through' experience that connects viewers to the immediate surroundings while expanding their perception of the snow-covered landscape. The central, largest porthole acts as a bold frame for interior views and a playful bench, inviting visitors to sit and enjoy the panoramic scenes. Inspired by Koop's distinctive painting style, NIX becomes an immersive celebration of the subtle beauty of snow, seamlessly blending art with the natural environment.

“We are interested in the work’s relationship to light, to the landscape, to figures on the river, to the city beyond, to the ephemeral nature of winter. A series of carved portholes are carefully positioned along the perimeter of the structure to frame dreamlike vistas of the snow-covered river.”
— Wanda Koop & Thom Fougere

Wanda Koop. Native Fires. 1996. Collection of The Winnipeg Art Gallery.

Design  Thom Fougere & Wanda Koop
Location  Nestaweya River Trail, Winnipeg, Canada
Completion  January 2023
  The Forks Winnipeg
Collaborators  Wanda Koop, The Forks, Peter Hargraves, Sputnik Architecture, Anvil Tree

Copyright Thom Fougere Studio 2024