This incredible living art piece was created by Winnipeg artist and landscape designer Erica Swendrowski in 2011. With the “Living Living Room”, Erica combined her landscape architecture training and her passion for sculpture with the idea to create household objects made purely of the earth. By combining a creative art display with an environmentally-conscious gardening, this piece enriches the human experience creatively and collectively. Erica made the living room garden a beautiful piece of art that people can really connect with.
In her proposal for the project, Erica wrote, “For generations, community gardens have provided city dwellers with opportunities to grow healthy food close to home.” Erica’s “living living rooms” were integrated into community gardens at the Orioles Community Centre, the Lord Roberts Community Centre, and the Millennium Garden. The project’s ambitions were to connect local gardeners and to help new relationships “blossom”.
When I first saw the piece, I was in awe of Erica’s ability to create something that felt so familiar. Living rooms are places of comfort, where we gather with friends and family; they’re filled with memories of holidays, parties and cuddling up to watch your favourite tv shows. Building something that feels so homey encourages people to feel welcomed. I think that sense of togetherness probably made more people want to participate in up-keeping the community gardens where Erica built her creations.
I also appreciate the creative relationship between the traditionally-shaped living room “furniture” and the earthy materials and tones. As a place to spend time together, living rooms are a central part of our homes. The natural materials of these pieces remind us that ultimately, the earth is the home we all share.
In Winnipeg, we’re lucky to have green spaces throughout the city. I hope these pieces helped those who saw them connect with the idea of how important it is to take care of the environment.