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.
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.
For anyone who is excited about the impending release of The Hobbit film (part one only, somehow they managed to string it out into two films… how?!), Wellington is certainly the place to be right about now. With just four days to go (as the billboard on the front of the Embassy Theatre reminds us! See below), all sorts of Hobbity kinds of events are kicking into full gear…
Today we checked out the Hobbit Artisan Market, in Waitangi Park.
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.
… a giant Gollum appears in your local airport. I really, really mean giant. It kind of gave me a fright as I got off the plane tonight. The bubbles (a little hard to see in my photo, apologies!) are a master stroke.
Gollum has certainly landed (or dived through the wall of the airport), which means that the countdown to An Unexpected Journey has begun…
Photo by CIA, Wellington Airport, New Zealand, 29 October 2012. This amazing sculpture was masterminded by fine art sculptor Masayki Ohashi of WETA Workshop, and weighs in at 1.2 tonnes, and is 13 metres long, 3 metres high. Check out an awesome time lapse video of the installation process here.
We never did figure out why there was a giant Jenga set in the middle of Utrecht…
Photo by PJD, on PJD & CIA’s first visit to Utrecht, with PJD’s sister. We tried to play Jenga, but the rain made it less than fun. Utrecht is a great city though.