Project: Sunniside : Public Art Installations
Location: St Thomas Street / Sunniside Gardens, Sunderland
Cost: £150,000 + VAT (Public Art cost from £2m overall
Landscape Architect: Robinson Landscape Design
Lead Artist: KAPOK Berlin
Artist: SDNA TV
Artist: Charlie Davidson
Artist:Bill Fontana
Atoll Service: Public Art Consultant for Sunniside Partnership
Project Status: Completed 2008
Awards: 2008 North East Renaissance Award from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and 2009 Commendation in Hadrian Awards

Ian Banks acted as public art consultant and curator for the new £2m Sunniside Gardens and linked roads, acting for Sunniside Partnership Regeneration Company and working with landscape architects Robinson Landscape Design. Public artworks included sculptural mirrored light reflection and lighting columns by architects KAPOK Berlin; ‘Alice in Sunderland’ street video projections by SDNA TV; Sound sculptures by US based sound artist Bill Fontana’s Sonic Channels; and street furniture by Swedish based product designer Charlie Davidson. Sunniside Gardens was commended in the Hadrian Awards for 2009.

Download the Press Release: The Public Art of Conversation: Public art and design works for Sunniside, Sunderland with extracted excerpt below:

“…The artists and designers collaborated to embed the artworks into the public realm, so that they become not only artistic ornament, but also an integral part of the everyday streetscape. After being de-cluttered of existing furniture, bollards, railings and signage and realigned to create a clear strong perspective, St Thomas Street has been re-populated with the integrated family of artworks, lighting and seating. The four pieces are clustered together at three Pressure Points, creating spatial conversations with the context and each other, to activate the spaces and encourage their informal inhabitation.

Bill Fontana’s Sonic Channels sound sculpture overlaps found sounds from the sea and surroundings with the existing acoustic backdrop of the city down the street, making street visitors question where they are – are the seagulls they can hear, real or recorded? During the day, visitors are welcomed by dappled sunlight reflected onto the street and buildings from Kapok’s gyroscopic astronomically inspired Helionimbus lighting poles, that guide them to clusters of Charlie Davidson’s Streetwalk stools, to pause watch and listen to the urban theatre, or Kapok’s granite St.Thomas Pulpit, which offers a silent invitation to speak! At night, the discussion is joined by another story, S-DNA’s digital projection, Alice in Sunderland, wherein Sunderland’s people and places are gathered and framed in surreal landscapes stirred by the movement of the white rabbit’s watch. In the evening, the movement of passers-by activates the changing coloured reflections of light from the Helionimbus poles and the conversational lighting of the stools, creating a playful interactive animation of the street…”

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Categories: Public Art

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