Sky Garden - CODAworx

Sky Garden

Submitted by Creative Road


Client: The Royal Children’s Hospital

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Completion date: 2011

Artwork budget: $250,000

Project Team

Art Consultant

Rebecca Townsend

Creative Road


Jade Oakley

Art Consultant

Bronwen Coleman


Bates Smart Architects

Bates Smart Architects

Industry Resource

Bovis Lend Lease

Bovis Lend Lease

Industry Resource

Crawford's Casting

Crawford's Casting


Jade Oakley was commissioned to produce a major artwork for Melbourne's Royal Children’s Hospital main foyer and atrium. Technically challenging, at 9.5m across by 4m high and comprising five mobile elements, the work is 50 times the size of the artist’s model and is fabricated from stainless steel and hand painted perforated aluminium.

The mobiles fill the 25m x 75m ‘main street’ in the hospital, enclosed by skylights and glass walls. The first mobile of golden angels, hangs above the reception desk leading the viewer’s eye upwards, to see the other mobiles within the atrium space.


The brief called for a suspended artwork that was ‘organic’ and ‘whimsical, and which made a significant contribution to the patient healing environment. Jade Oakley felt the brief had been genuinely written for her and aspired to create an artwork based on nature which evoked 'a sense of wonder, peacefulness and reflection but also had the potential to be playful and whimsical.’
The colour graduation through the mobiles was designed to integrate with the interior architecture and had to relate to another bold and colourful artwork installed within the space. The colour gradation through the mobiles starts with light yellow, buttercup yellow, orange, pink for the angels, with pink and green leaves, through to mid and citrus green.
Another consideration was the audience for the work. Jade intended for the artwork to appeal to adults as well as the children and young people in the hospital. She felt it was important to provide some relief for the parents of sick children.
The ‘angels' are based on silhouettes of children jumping and leaping, to which Jade simply added wings. Working on these in her garden the neighbourhood children picked out different figures saying “that’s you” and “this one’s me!


This collaborative project involved Bronwen Coleman, hospital appointed Curator who oversaw a series of artworks, Bates Smart Architects and Construction Managers Bovis Lend Lease. The artist engaged specialist graffiti artists to translate the unique colour and composition of the elements within the artists maquette onto the perforated aluminium elements. The artwork's stainless steel structure was fabricated by Crawford's Casting in Sydney where all elements were assembled and balanced before the artwork was transported for installation.
Creative Road's Rebecca Townsend project managed the commission (in collaboration with M. Morrison) assisting with contract management through to detailed maintenance guidelines to ensure maximum longevity of the artwork. A short film of artist Jade Oakley was produced by the Hospital's media team for a children's education program. The artwork was officially unveiled at the opening of the new hospital in the presence by Her Majesty The Queen.

Additional Information

The project has since been awarded the most prestigious prize in the 2012 Australian Interior Design Awards: The Premier Award for Interior Design Excellence and Innovation. Other awards include: • International Interior Design award, Emirates Glass LEAF 2012 • Use of Art in the Patient Environment – Highly Commended • Design Health International Academy Awards 2012