580 George Street Integrated Facade Art

Matthew Johnson

The subtly fragmented geometries of Johnson’s artwork, incorporated via an integrated frit into the new 580 George Street facades, embody the artist’s fascination with abstraction, line, materiality, light and perception.

Approximately 245sqm in area, the artwork enfolds the north, west and south elevations of retail tenancies and an outdoor Childcare play space.

Each glazed module was overlaid wth an abstract linear framework, from which Johnson selectively infilled/subtracted fields to create a graduated figure-ground, inverted from the top to the base of the system.

This approach is highly site-specific, facilitating a higher degree of visibility to the retail tenancies, whilst controlling external views to the Childcare above. In a playful twist, the clear glass apertures in the upper facade are deliberately located at a toddler’s eye level, allowing them to peek surreptitiously out to the bustling streetscape below.

The artwork is perceptually ephemeral, shifting dynamically as light conditions evolve. During the day, the intricate frit pattern is overlaid with the nuanced reflections of the plane tree canopy, whilst at night the figure-ground inverts to theatrically focus attention on the retail activity within.

FJMT was actively involved in the procurement of this artwork. We prepared the initial Artwork Strategy report, articulating opportunities for the location, materiality and themes of public art across the project. We worked closely with Johnson, reviewing maquettes and material studies as he developed the frit pattern, and ultimately documented the artist’s setout of the four high-performance facade module types, (nominally 4150 x 2350mm in size), which are configured in such a way that lends the finished facade the appearance of structured randomisation.

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580 George Street Art Strategy Sydney fjmt

580 George Street Art Strategy Sydney fjmt

580 George Street Art Strategy fjmt

580 George Street Art Strategy fjmt

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