Public spaces like this – which are beautiful both by day, and night, should be encouraged, in our increasingly urbanised planet.
A pretty place to be, I think you will agree. Recently, I learnt that the square was designed by visionary Wellington architect Ian Athfield, whose brilliant and sometimes odd work scatters the city (seek, and you shall find Athfield creations in Wellington’s many corners!), enriching the urban landscape. I don’t think I will ever tire of the eclectic mish-mash of buildings, old and new, which shouldn’t work together but somehow do, interesting public art, patches of soft green space, around a fully accessible multi-level square, crowned by Neil Dawson’s wonderful sculpture, Ferns. I love to spot Ferns’ shadow, at different times of the day as it dances around the space. Whether I am passing through en route home, or sitting leisurely on a bench in the sun (or, let’s face it, wind!), Wellington’s Civic Square is a fitting heart to the city which I am thankful for.
– Photo by CIA, Wellington Civic Square, March 2013. Around the square from left to right: Wellington Town Hall and Civic Chambers, The Majestic Centre (tall tower in the background), Wellington City Library, and the City Gallery.
In the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Australia (NGA), you can find this magnificent sculpture. The setting of the sculpture, surrounded by Eucalypts, creates a marvellous effect.
On a bright sunny day, it lends itself well to playing games with reflection.
Sometimes the result is mind-bending.
The sculpture is by Bert Flugelman, and is entitled Cones. Should you ever pass through Australia’s capital city, the NGA is absolutely worth stopping for. (The collection inside the gallery is wonderful).
Photos by PJD, on a borrowed camera; with thanks to CHD.
Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand’s national museum, has a new exhibition open for the summer: Game Masters. It looks like it will be pretty epic, and we loved seeing that the museum staff seem to be getting well into the spirit of the exhibition, with this Mario-theme post-it art adorning some Te Papa office windows. This post-it note art looks pretty fresh, and aren’t these windows in particular just perfect for it? A fun sideshow to a walk home from work!
We have been hearing about a (large!) gingerbread house which word on the street said had been constructed inside Te Papa Tongarewa (meaning Our Place – New Zealand’s National Museum, situated on Wellington’s waterfront). We always love hanging out at Te Papa – regardless of what special exhibitions are on, the long-term exhibitions and art are consistently engaging and interesting – but put baking, Christmas and museum altogether in one, and we knew we had to get down there and check it out for ourselves. So that’s what we did tonight (long may Te Papa’s late nights on Thursdays last!). The house has been constructed to encourage donations to the Wellington Children’s Hospital – gingerbread house making kits are available to buy at the museum. Click on the photos below to check out what we found… (look for the photos with the details of the building and baking, quite astounding!)…
The gorgeous Te Papa gingerbread house was baked by Te Papa’s Executive Chef, Bernd Lippmann and constructed, installed and decorated by the chef along with a dedicated team – see how they did it in the video below! The house fills the museum with a delicious “it’s Christmas!” smell of warm spices, and it is clear that the team who decorated the house has an eye for detail.
The house bought a huge smile to my face when I saw it, and was a nice reminder of the European Christmases we have the pleasure of enjoying for the past two years in the Netherlands. Seeing this gingerbread house also took me back to very happy memories of the gingerbread house competition which takes place annually in Sweden with a different theme each year and is exhibited at the Arkitekturmuseet in Stockholm. Read more
It’s human rights day today. So that has me thinking about Marc Chagall‘s Peace Window on the ground floor of the United Nations headquarters building in New York City. Created in tribute to former UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld and those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace, it is a beautiful piece of art with a deep message.
Doesn’t Chagall’s glass work look beautiful in photo form? We were also in awe of his monumental series of stained glass windows in the Fraumünster in Zurich. No photos allowed there though, so be sure to take the chance to check them out if you find yourself in Switzerland and haven’t already had the pleasure of seeing them.
Photo by CIA of Marc Chagall’s Peace Window, New York City, New York, United States, January 2012.
Photos by CIA, Newmarket, Auckland, December 2012. The Queen on the decks is almost as good as Prince Charles making jokes…
Oddooki by Seung Yul Oh, Te Papa Tongarewa, 2008
Back in 2008, on the Sculpture Terrace of New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, overlooking the sparkling turquoise ripple of Wellington harbour, PJD, Occasionally Travelled and I ran into some Oddooki (see photo at left). “What are Oddooki?”, you might well ask, as we did, that sunny day. Well, Oddooki are the creation of Auckland-based (until recently!), Korean-born multimedia artist Seung Yul Oh, and they are fun, they are playful, they are everything that interactive sculpture should be, and they are surprising.
Oddooki sketch by Seung Yul Oh, Te Papa Tongarewa
Egg-shaped birds, sculpted in high-sheen vivacious colours, Oddooki are eye-catching and engaging. Give an Oddooki a little push, it will roll from side to side, making a gentle chiming noise as it does. Oddooki have endured in each of our minds since we found them that day, and they remain some of the most interesting and innovative sculpture that we have seen. Definitely, sculpture for enjoyment and access by all ages. So, it was with great excitement that PJD and Occasionally Travelled last week checked out some new Oddooki, on show in Auckland at the Gus Fischer Gallery.
There’s more to the Middle of Middle-Earth than Hobbit-related paraphernalia and activities. So, to continue our series of found street art, here’s some graffiti from the skate park nearby. A little Middle-Earth graffiti I guess…
Look who appeared on the front of the Embassy Theatre (our local cinema, definitely the best place to catch a film in town, as it is both beautiful on the inside and out) today. That’s right folks, Wellington is continuing to be Hobbit-ified (or should I say Tolkien-ised or Weta-fied?) more and more as the days count down to the world premiere of Sir Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. Overnight (street closure? Why not?!), the front of the Embassy (where the premiere will screen) was decorated with a new Weta Workshop creation, replete with over-sized hobbit-hole and Gandalf watching over Courtenay Place (if we can’t have Sir Ian McKellen in town for the premiere, we can have a giant sculpture of his character’s likeness, right?!). It’s definitely going to be a focal point in this city over the coming days and doubtless will look great at the end of the red carpet in nine days time…
… we had some fun taking photos of this latest Hobbit-related sculpture in the city tonight.
Photos by PJD and CIA, Wellington, 19 November 2012. Gollum is already in town too.
Sometimes, you see a piece of design – graphic in this case – which is just so cool, it’s worth taking a photo of.
We do love Swiss design (who doesn’t?!) and the high quality of graphic design posters advertising various events as we wandered around Zurich was inspiring. Photo by CIA, Zurich, Switzerland, May 2012, International Experimental Film and Video Festival, Zurich, 2012.