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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’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.“
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.