Two large-scale, interactive shade sculptures, each embracing the spirit of the NSW Northern Rivers region, have been installed in the centre of Lismore for summer.
Called Woven and Lismore Light Gardens, the designs are the winners of the inaugural 2018 INNOVATE::SITUATE Southern Cross University Design Prize. The new annual prize aims to explore re-purposing of public space and the innovative use of sustainable materials in Lismore’s open-air precinct known as The Quad.
Woven is the winner of the industry professional category. The clasping hands-like structure made of bamboo is by Lismore artist Katie Stewart and Mercurio Alvarado Mendez in collaboration with Sydney-based international bamboo collective Cave Urban.
Lismore Light Gardens, a permaculture food garden growing in a pallet pavilion, is designed by Team BBR, a collaboration of three Southern Cross University students drawn from the engineering and creative arts disciplines. It won the student category.
“The INNOVATE::SITUATE Design Prize captures the essence of the partnership between Lismore City Council and Southern Cross University to bring the Lismore Quadrangle to life,” said Mr Ben Roche, Vice President (Engagement) at Southern Cross University.
The public is invited to walk through, explore and enjoy the temporary structures over the summer months.
Katie Stewart has worked with Cave Urban on several projects including the Ian Potter Wild Play Garden in Sydney's Centennial Park. Referencing the many ‘helping hands’ that proved critical in the traumatic aftermath of the 2017 floods in Lismore, Woven’s 8m x 4m bamboo structure evokes two intersecting cups, drawing upon the human hand as inspiration.
“Woven is inspired by gesture and the natural structures we, as humans, can create with our bodies. Its form evokes two bodies entwining and draws upon the human hand as inspiration,” said Katie.
“The installation’s design looks to create an intimate space that allows for a flow of movement through the structure that slows the visitor down and creates reason to pause in its centre. The woven bamboo creates a highly sensory environment, where light and shadow creates movement across the day and the human form remains constantly aware of the changing texture and form of its surroundings.”
Team BBR is civil engineering student Bailey Parton and art and design students Beki Davies and Robyn Saurine.
Its Lismore Light Gardens is a three-tiered triangular pallet pavilion about two-metres tall that doubles as a living garden. Each pallet structure houses a permaculture food garden within the bottom cube which will grow, mature – and perhaps bear fruit – over the course of the structure’s three-month life in The Quad.
“Lismore is a community interested in ecology, sustainability and supporting each other. Our main aim as a team was to utilise previously-owned materials. The secondary aim was to build a structure that activated the community and promoted sustainability,” said Bailey.
The community got behind the students’ concept.
“The pallets have been donated by Norton’s Transport, Lismore Hydroponics, Bunnings and Norco. The rock and soil is from the Richmond Sand, Gravel & Landscaping and the seedlings have been purchased or donated from local suppliers then propagated over the last couple of months,” said Beki.
Robyn said: “We want the community to be part of this so we plan to hold a picnic day once the food gardens have matured where the community will get to enjoy the produce grown in the pallet garden.”
Team BBR was mentored by Dr Stephen Garrett, head of Art and Design at Southern Cross University, and engineering lecturer Mr Ben Garnock.
“This project showcases the cross-disciplinary approach that aspiring Southern Cross art, design and engineering students took to create a dynamic, sustainable, playful and innovative structure for this unique open-air cultural precinct,” said Mr Roche.
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