Emi­ly Floyd, OPEN SPACE!’, George Street, Sydney

A large scale new pub­lic art­work by Emi­ly Floyd has been unveiled in Sydney’s CBD. Enti­tled OPEN SPACE!’ the work decon­structs the word OPEN’ into indi­vid­ual let­ters that act as point­ers to the revi­talised pub­lic space at the junc­ture of George St and Curtin Place.

Accord­ing to Allan Vidor, Man­ag­ing Direc­tor of Toga and Chair­man of TFE Hotels – who com­mis­sioned the art­work and will oper­ate Sydney’s first pre­mi­um A by Adi­na hotel adja­cent to the site – Floyd’s art instal­la­tion is a piece that responds to its sur­rounds and the Har­ry Sei­dler-designed Aus­tralia Square.

Aus­tralia Square (264 George Street) was the first precinct in Syd­ney to blend art, retail, din­ing, and open pub­lic spaces into one wel­com­ing spot,” he said. Today, some 55 years lat­er, the revi­tal­i­sa­tion of Curtin Place by JPW Archi­tects con­tin­ues Seidler’s tra­di­tion, with pedes­tri­an access giv­ing way to an inclu­sive space for local office work­ers, hotel guests, café goers and mem­bers of the pub­lic to enjoy.”

Floyd was com­mis­sioned after a world­wide pub­lic art com­pe­ti­tion was launched to find an artist who would engage with the cul­tur­al fab­ric of its loca­tion,” he said. And we look for­ward to see­ing Syd­neysiders embrace the space with the open­ing of the design-for­ward A by Adi­na hotel, with its 21st floor sky lob­by and gold­en crown’.”

Emi­ly Floyd

OPEN SPACE!, 2021
Aus­tralia Square, George Street, Sydney
Com­mis­sioned by Toga Far East Hotels (TFE); Pro­duced by Monash Art Projects; Cura­tor, Aman­da Sharrad
Pho­to: Brett Boardman

Emily’s pub­lic art­work was pro­duced by Monash Art Projects and curat­ed by Aman­da Sharrad.

Accord­ing to Shar­rad, “’OPEN SPACE!’ engages with the mod­ern art and archi­tec­ture of Aus­tralia Square, play­ful­ly and intel­li­gent­ly placed in a spa­tial game of hide and seek with its ele­vat­ed neighbour.”

Emily’s art­work is a con­tem­po­rary take on 20th Cen­tu­ry art and design, inspired by female mod­ernist design­ers and play­ful aspects of the peri­od,” says Shar­rad. She has respond­ed bril­liant­ly to this rare oppor­tu­ni­ty to enrich a well-loved and high­ly regard­ed part of Sydney’s urban land­scape with con­tem­po­rary art.”

Shar­rad adds that Emily’s inter­na­tion­al pro­file and engage­ment with Mid-cen­tu­ry design has enabled her to make a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the precinct. It’s an excep­tion­al and wel­com­ing work.”

Inspired by Le Grand Cirque Calder, Floyd saw Curtin Place as an are­na of play where block like sculp­tur­al forms ref­er­ence the child-cen­tric design of Alma Sei­d­hoff-Busch­er and her wood­en toys.”

The let­ter O is placed hor­i­zon­tal­ly to invite social seat­ing”, Floyd said. Cen­tre stage is the largest ele­ment, P, whose cir­cu­lar form play­ful­ly ref­er­ences the colour­ful shade umbrel­las orig­i­nal­ly installed with­in Aus­tralia Square’s pub­lic plaza. The let­ter E stands adja­cent to the wall, acti­vat­ing the bound­ary between Curtin Place and its icon­ic neigh­bour, and last­ly, the let­ter N is placed bold­ly on the George Street entrance draw­ing vis­i­tors into the space.“

Emi­ly Floyd

OPEN SPACE!, 2021
Aus­tralia Square, George Street, Sydney
Com­mis­sioned by Toga Far East Hotels (TFE); Pro­duced by Monash Art Projects; Cura­tor, Aman­da Sharrad
Pho­to: Brett Boardman


Com­mis­sioned by: Toga Far East Hotels (TFE)

Pro­duced by: Monash Art Projects 

Cura­tor: Aman­da Sharrad 

Archi­tects: John­son Pil­ton Walker 

The project team acknowl­edge the Gadi­gal peo­ple of the Eora Nation as the tra­di­tion­al cus­to­di­ans of the land.

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