Public art has an important role to play in placemaking projects, helping to establish a sense of place and an identity for urban environments.
This project involved three installations of public art, all with different objectives. POMO played a different role within each of these projects.
Each piece of public art for this project arose out of a different set of needs. The first need was to improve the amenity and user experience of the bathrooms in this precinct. A local artist was chosen to undertake a series of artworks in the bathrooms. POMO was able to consult with this artist to help them devise art that tied into the branding of the precinct and contributed to a cohesive overall aesthetic.
The second need addressed by art was a wayfinding need. Users of the space were unaware of the presence of an elevator in the precinct. The elevator location featured a high blank wall with high visibility and good lines of sight. The idea was proposed to use this opportunity to create a large piece of art that also served a wayfinding purpose by indicating the presence of the lift. The artwork was subsequently created by POMO featuring large angled typography and an illustrated superhero, it was hand-painted to the three-story wall.
The final need addressed by public art was also related to wayfinding and to the strategic goal of encouraging more pedestrians to enter the precinct. One of the main entry points is via a relatively low height pedestrian tunnel that connects the precinct to the local train and bus station. The challenge was to improve the appearance of this area and make it more welcoming. To do that, public art was once again identified as a means to achieve this. In this instance, POMO worked with a local Sunshine Coast Council funded art initiative called Drawn Together. This small team was funded to deliver public art projects in the local community, however the challenge here was to create a brief that resulted in the right artist being engaged and the right work being created.
POMO consulted on this process and created a public art brief. This brief that linked the aesthetic and commercial aspirations of the precinct to a wider series of artworks that were also commissioned by Queensland Rail in the nearby transport centre. The work had to be appropriate and sympathetic to all these considerations whilst at the same time working within the constraints of the site and the budget. The brief was completed by POMO and distributed by the Drawn Together team. An artist was selected to undertake a work in this space which matched the detailed considerations laid out in the briefing documentation.
When we set out to design our studio we approached it like any design project, we began by identifying the priorities and creating a strategic framework to guide the decision making.
The initial priority was to create something simple to build, something sustainable, creatively inspiring and something that was cost effective. Through research it became clear that achieving these things was not necessarily difficult.
Working with the landscape design team POMO were able to create a number of key design initiatives that would contribute to the locally inspired placemaking program and deliver on practical community needs.
POMO was engaged to design and construct a number of landscape elements. Each element was custom designed and born from the uniqueness of Palmwoods, they reference local history, using locally sourced materials and were being made collaboratively with local craftspeople and artisans.
Underlying this was a larger design and management process run by POMO involving construction design, design reporting, engineering certification, construction and project management and installation on-site. A true multidisciplinary and multi-skilled program with a wide range of stakeholders and projects participants.
The project won the Excellence Award at the 2018 Queensland AILA awards for Civic Design. It also won gold in the same category at the national awards.