Green Square art to create great public spaces

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Green Square is set for two new pieces of fantastic public art: a light tower that displays real-time environmental data in abstract watercolours, and a repurposed vintage plane that encourages us to reflect on migration.

The two artworks, by Sydney artists Lightwell and Australian duo Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro, will engage residents and visitors as permanent parts of the new Green Square library and plaza development when it opens in early 2018.

The artworks were chosen from more than 90 submissions from international and local artists by a panel including the Green Square Library and Plaza Curatorial Adviser, Jess Scully, and members of the City’s Public Art Advisory Panel.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the artworks would encourage exploration, creativity and community connection in the new neighbourhood.

“Public art can engage and stimulate, it can provoke thought and action and it can add depth and texture to the urban experience – that’s something we’re really focused on for our growing Green Square community,” the Lord Mayor said.

“These two new commissions will add so much to our library and plaza. The visual impact and creative experience of these artworks will complement the beautiful community facilities and public spaces being developed for Green Square’s fast growing population.”

The two-stage selection process called for artworks that explored themes of community, storytelling and communication.

The winning proposals were chosen for their artistic excellence and innovation, the strength of response to the brief and the context of the site, and the durability and longevity of the materials and message used.

High Water by Michael Thomas Hill and Indigo Hanlee from Lightwell, will be installed in the public plaza outside the library.

Its high resolution LED screens will graphically display local weather patterns and tidal information using integrated sensors and live data feeds. The animated sequence of vivid watercolours will be generated through digital coding.

Watery blues at the tower base will rise and fall with the tidal patterns of the hour. The skies above will shift in pattern and colour depending on the sun’s position, temperature and wind directions.

A complementary interface will allow visitors to understand the data, colours and patterns in real time and see visual summaries of local environmental conditions over the day, week and year.

“High Water combines traditional artistic techniques like watercolour with contemporary technology, and brings nature to the plaza using local site information,” Green Square Library and Plaza Curatorial Adviser, Jess Scully, said

“It will create a visual language for the changing environment, and paint a long-term picture of changes in Green Square.

“The panel was really drawn to this artwork because it’s a different way of expressing the narrative of the plaza, its environmental conditions and its relationship to the harbour and the coast.”

Cloud Nation by Australian artists Claire Healy and Sean Cordeiro will see a repurposed vintage ‘Beechcraft Travel Air’ plane suspended inside the library.

The surface of the plane will be transformed into a meticulously crafted miniature world. Small-scale dioramic elements will reference themes of migration and fantasy, recalling the fictional Island of Laputa from Jonathan Swift’s classic novel Gulliver’s Travels. Laputa is a flying island inhabited by people with a love of learning and culture.

“People will be able to engage with this artwork from different points, with binoculars provided in the plaza to view the plane in close detail from outside the library,” Ms Scully said.

This creates a playful, enchanting and imaginative exchange between the external and interior spaces. The panel loves the possibilities this magical object presents, and we hope it will spark peoples’ imagination and encourage storytelling among visitors to the library and plaza.”

The library and plaza and accompanying artworks are part of $540 million committed by the City for the development of the Green Square town centre over the next 10 years. This also includes an aquatic centre, childcare centre, creative hub, extensive infrastructure and streetscaping, and more than 15new parks and open spaces.

The 278-hectare Green Square development area includes the suburbs of Beaconsfield and Zetland, and parts of Rosebery, Alexandria and Waterloo.

The area will eventually have 30,500 new dwellings, including about 10,000 now under assessment or construction. When fully completed, Green Square will have a population of up to 61,000 people, and provide around 21,000 permanent jobs – many of which will be in the new town centre.

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For media inquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Adviser Keeley Irvin. Phone 0448 005 718 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Paul Mackay. Phone 0432 182 647 or email

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