New $4.35m Art Installation for South Bank’s Southpoint

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Aerial image of Southpoint from above. Source: Supplied.

Internationally acclaimed environmental artist Ned Kahn has been commissioned to transform the façade of Anthony John Group’s $600m Southpoint development into one of Australia’s largest public art installations.

The yet-to-be-named piece, which on completion will measure over 3,800square metres, is set to unite the three towers that comprise the development via a spectacular kinetic screen.

Thousands of tiny panels of extruded aluminium in four different metallic tones will be placed within specified pixel layouts, with every panel able to move independently to complete the vision for a wind-responsive artwork that reflects light.

Drawing inspiration from nature and the local landscape–in this case interpreting the afternoon light that turns the Brisbane river from daytime brown into shiny and reflective bronze, gold and silver tones – Khan seeks to manifest nature in an urban setting.

“I’ve always looked at my artworks as potentially serving as reminders of how beautiful and mysterious nature is, with the hope that when people have an experience of awe while watching a natural process unfold, it can fuel their compassion towards the natural world. I’ve tried to create an art that gives people a chance to have this kind of experience” said Mr Khan.

Known worldwide for his work in marrying art and science, Khan is dedicated to exploring the physics and beauty of natural phenomena such as wind, fog, fire, sand, and water.  Applying an abundance of technical skills, he brings these elemental forces to the public through interactive and kinetic sculptures and large scale installations in buildings, galleries and science museums worldwide.

Kahn’s work features on London’s iconic Oxford St; Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands and Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s carbon neutral city. Closer to home Khan is known for his Turbulent Line installation at Brisbane Airport that he collaborated with Urban Art Projects (UAP) in 2012.

Aerial image of Southpoint from above. Source: Supplied.
Aerial image of Southpoint from above. Source: Supplied.

Anthony John Group Managing Director Tony John said the selection of Kahn for this significant commission speaks to the ambition of Southpoint and how developers can realise the benefits gained from the integration of public art into building design.

“We are passionate believers in visually and environmentally sustainable design, ensuring our developments positively enhancing the character of its surrounding environment now and for many years to come.”

“Being positioned in Queensland’s arts and cultural heart, we wanted Southpoint to be, not simply three towers on what is the last piece of land to be developed in South Bank, but a tribute to the location–in itself a work of art. This kinetic screen is set to be a powerful cultural contribution to Brisbane that supports our position as Australia’s New World City.”

Anthony John Group has a long history of partnership with UAP through their collaboration on the iconic Emporium Hotel and precinct in Fortitude Valley, where brothers Matthew and Daniel Tobin assisted in sourcing the work of local artists to showcase and create its widely renowned, visually distinct aesthetic.

“It was important for us to involve someone who first and foremost understood what we were trying to achieve. Through our relationship with Urban Art Projects (UAP) we were lucky enough to connect with Ned Kahn and embark on this ambitious project. We are very excited and proud to involve someone with such a significant standing and reputation in the international art community.”

“At twice the size of the Turbulent Line installation that Khan collaborated with UAP at Brisbane Airport, the Southpoint kinetic facade is set to be the largest work of art in Australia, and indeed considerable on a global scale” said Mr John.

Matthew Tobin of UAP highlighted that Southpoint provides an example of a developer seeking art to not simply be integrated into the development but to be a vital part of the architecture, look/feel and character of the entire development – a truly defining feature and reflector of place.

“The artwork location, scale and integration (as part of the architectural skin) makes a significant statement within the precinct and the greater city- located opposite the Queensland College of Art at the southern end of South Bank’s Grey Street, Southpoint steps up the hill into a vantage point that both bookends and overlooks the Brisbane cultural precinct. “

“Large scale public art is normally associated with public and institutional buildings such as hospitals, airports and stadiums. This is a significant commitment by a private developer to a very large piece of public art in one of Australia’s leading arts precincts and reinforces Tony John’s commitment to design excellence.”

Installation of the façade has commenced and is scheduled for full completion in late 2017.

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  • I guess its cheaper to slap a giant art piece to your buildings facade instead of providing a articulated building envelope that interacts with the streetscape at a human scale.

  • While we’re here, can we discuss the absolutely atrocious Flight Centre logo, and just generally the top of Tower B? It looks awful and slap dash.

    Someone please tell me it’s not the finished product?

  • Yes, let’s discuss that awful signage.

    What are they thinking? Lease an entire building with naming rights to establish an international headquarters and then install livery that seems to have been appropriated from an old retail outlet in a Westfield Mall.

    It also struck me as looking so bad that it’s only a temporary situation, if not, Brisbane just got its latest blot on the landscape.

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