The Opera House’s glimmering sails and familiar curves of the Sydney Harbour Bridge will soon be joined by a new landmark in our city centre.
Conceived by Japanese artist and architect Junya Ishigami, Cloud Arch will become an artwork of significance on the world stage. It will stand alongside the likes of Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate in Chicago, which is visited by thousands of people every year.
Creating a new landscape in the heart of the city
The artwork’s graceful steel form will soar 58 metres above the newly enhanced George Street, with traffic and the light rail gliding underneath. Ishigami’s intention was to produce an artwork that creates a new landscape among existing buildings. As Junya states,
In this way, the arch, although man-made, mimics nature and offers a new type of landscape in the heart of the city.
The result is a sculpture that allows you to move around it, changing the view as you shift perspective, the way clouds continuously move and morph.
A 21 century icon for the city centre
“When I visited Sydney to consider a public art project for George Street, I was struck by its blue sky and mild climate. I was also impressed by the aspirations expressed in the City of Sydney’s Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan. A big part of this was the people-friendly main boulevard and updated transportation,” says Junya Ishigami.
I wanted to create a work that responded to these civic goals – claiming a space for people in the heart of the city.
I see the Opera House as the 20th century symbol of this amazing city and I want Cloud Arch to build on this idea and be the symbol for the 21st.
The final design of Cloud Arch has a span almost double the original scheme. This allows the structure to better frame the Queen Victoria Building and Sydney Town Hall.
Michael Brand, director of Art Gallery of NSW says,
The increase in the scale of Ishigami’s proposed design greatly adds to its appeal and promises to be even more compelling that the original concept. I have no doubt it will bring significant international attention to Sydney.
No stranger to epic art events that draw in crowds in droves (you might recall the universally-Instagrammed Anish Kapoor exhibition in 2013), Museum of Contemporary Art Director Elizabeth Ann McGregor agrees,
“Such works of art have the capacity to be game changers, attracting attention well beyond the immediate environment. The inevitable difficulties in delivering them are quickly outweighed by the impact.
A meeting place for people
Junya continues, “I can imagine Cloud Arch becoming a meeting place for people. A place for people to breathe and look up in the centre of the city, providing a moment of peace in a hectic day.”
More widely, I hope it becomes a familiar part of the landscape of the city and locally, I hope it grows in people’s hearts as a much-loved feature of Sydney. I want it to feel like it belongs in this place.
The launch of Cloud Arch is timed with the delivery of light rail, planned for early 2019.
For more information, read the media release.