Playful public art piece finalises design of future Lachlan’s Square

‘Skipping Stones’ will introduce an interactive art piece for the Macquarie Park community that will appeal to children and adults alike

Sydney, May 2019 – The future Lachlan’s Square precinct in Macquarie Park will receive a playful and interactive public art installation next year, following the announcement of the winner of the Lachlan’s Square Art Competition.

Lachlan’s Square is set to become the community’s key retail destination upon completion of the first stage of construction at ‘nbh at Lachlan’s Line’, which will comprise 592 apartments and 5,000sqm of retail floor space.

Lachlan’s Square will be lined with supermarkets, food emporiums and essential services, as well as day care and playground facilities for young families – and now a large-scale public art piece by prolific Australian artist Jade Oakley will complete the Square’s design.

Ms Oakley’s concept, titled Skipping Stones, will feature an arrangement of cast concrete stones, varying in size from 300mm to 1200mm, which will be etched with nature imagery and lit from below.

Indeed, production of the stones – which is being managed by Creative Road Art Projects – has already been completed, with etching also now underway, while the creek bed template, where the stones will sit, has been finalised.

The stones will be placed around a water feature which also incorporates a four-metre long ‘river bridge’ – also currently in production – and will invite interaction from the public courtesy of their highly tactile polished finish.

Children will experience the artwork by using it as a stepping stone path, while the inclusion of local plant references will create strong ties to the local landscape.

The piece is also intended for the wider community to use as a sitting and gathering place, anchoring the future Lachlan’s Square.

The concept was selected by a panel made up of representatives from leading public art consultants Guppy & Associates, who were impressed by the way the art piece will work with the Lachlan’s Square ground plane.

Skipping Stones also meets the City of Ryde’s ‘Public Art Planning Guide for Developers’, which supports the planning and provision of public art as part of the built environment and public open space of the city.

Council’s guideline recognises that incorporating public art in new development can create a welcoming interface that connects public and private domains, encouraging pedestrian activity and animating spaces for the pleasure of locals, workers and visitors.

In this sense, Ms Oakley’s concept perfectly meets the brief, according to Greenland Australia’s Managing Director, Sherwood Luo.

Skipping Stones will create significant public visual interest and interaction in a locality surrounded by tall buildings,” said Mr Luo.

“The piece offers the opportunity for people to gather, reflect and play, complementing the functions of the Lachlan’s Square childcare centre and community facility.

“We look forward to seeing people of all ages enjoying Skipping Stones once it is installed in the second half of 2019.”

The panel also recognised the fact that Ms Oakley’s work can be easily negotiated and won’t restrict pedestrian circulation, while creating an interesting visual centrepiece for residents viewing the piece from above.

A key element of the winning concept was the way in which it will work with local horticulture and plant life, including a focus on the flora of the nearby Lane Cove National Park.

According to Ms Oakley, Skipping Stones will reflect nature in an urban context.

“I have taken my inspiration from the Lane Cove River, which encircles the site, because water is synonymous with play…and is reflective, beautiful and kinetic,” she said.

“Through referencing the flora and landscape of the local area, a unique sense of place will be created.

“As such, my artwork concept is designed to enhance the environment of Lachlan’s Square, the heart of a new community.”

The ‘nbh at Lachlan’s Line’ community will wrap around Lachlan’s Square, offering supermarkets, casual and fine dining, boutique clothing stores, a community centre, a day care centre and playground facilities for young families, in a location just 200 metres from the North Ryde metro station.

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