Location: Melbourne, Australia
Completion date: 2022
Artwork budget: $700,000
Waterbody is the latest permanent digital, interactive public artwork by Melbourne-based art and technology studio, ENESS.
Situated in a major tenant passageway in a prominent building in Pyrmont, Sydney, Waterbody glitters in its under croft like a frozen cross-section of a wave. This 30-metre long, light-emitting structure of 90 segments – each a custom form – is laced with tens of thousands of LEDs encased in soft polycarbonate, producing intense but diffused light.
Driven by a 3D particle system, interactive content streams through the sculpture, cascading from segment to segment; stimulating fluid dynamics like flow, current and turbulence.
The sculpture responds to the movement of passers-by with progressive content that pulsates through thousands of LEDs and is never the same. A real-time 3D engine creates fresh, generative content combinations blending oranges and pinks to represent sunrise, sunset and light play on water; open ocean is revealed through the deepest blue; kelp forests in green; and foaming waves through aqua and white.
The main goals were to improve the aesthetics of the building and improve the user experience for tenants. Additional goals included for the installation to be visible upon approach to the building; to drive visitation to the area; to include a lighting element to provide illumination to the dark under croft; and to be a suspended installation rather than a 2D ceiling, column or wall-mounted installation.
Mirvac approached ENESS to commission a work for the under croft of their 1 Darling Island premises. The aging asset was undergoing asset revitalisation through the development of a new landscaping scheme and the incorporation of a technology-driven artwork for the employee entrance to the building. ENESS worked closely with Mirvac management to determine the initial project scope and throughout the design process. ENESS ensured conceptual alignment with engaged landscape consultants, Aspect Studios to ensure conceptual integration.
Mirvac National Capital Works Manager says the property developer and landlord commissioned the artwork to introduce a fresh ambience for the local working community: “Waterbody is having a compelling impact on the tenancy experience by offering an uplifting and ever-changing palette throughout the day. Curating this sort of environment for our tenants with contemporary artworks that use cutting-edge technology increases pride in our places; creates a stimulating entrance and exit for busy employees during their working week; and extends the technology message outside to the wider community. Adding an ENESS artwork to 1 Darling Island has been a significant act of placemaking that adds to the stimulation and creativity of the community’s daily experience.”