321 Kent Street
Sydney Australia


The opportunity to create a large, site-specific sculpture for a public area is always an exciting and pleasurable event in any sculptor's life. The site, overlooking Darling Harbour, is the north podium of the Ernst-Young Building situated between Kent and Sussex streets in the CBD of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

front view


Front View

The two forms of Duality interrelate around the circular keel, yet invite entry to the centre.

3800 high x
4500 diameter
316L stainless steel

This curved, blue glass building, is one of the latest editions to Sydney's architectural skyline, and incorporates the aesthetics and technologies of this new millennium. The view over the sparkling waters of Sydney Harbour and the historic Pyrmont and Rocks area suggested a combination of high tech and sail.

I decided that the keel, the first and most important element of a sound vessel, should become the theme for this work.

side view
I chose stainless steel for two reasons. The aesthetic of the site and architecture was sophisticated high tech and the practicalities of exhaust emissions and salt air made the use of Sandvik 316L stainless steel my choice of material.

The maquette at 1:8 scale was developed with mathematical precision, anticipating and solving problems of cutting and rolling the stainless steel sections.
I constructed an internal metal frame to full size and carefully fitted each panel from stiff vinyl. These patterns were scanned and computerised. The computerised data then enabled me to fine tune the sculpture, planning welding procedures and consumables. The shapes were plasma cut at the Sandvik works to a precise tolerance of .5mm and roll formed by Waudrope and Carrol.

The studio on Jones Bay Road in Pyrmont provided a convenient and spacious area for the construction and finishing of the sculpture, completed on time and within budget.

In a happy synchronicity, my partner, Joan Relke, was commissioned to create a large bronze sculpture on the south podium, visible from the Ernst-Young foyer, looking west.
restaurant view
View from the Restaurant

The surface finish is a variation of the traditional "florentine" engraving technique I like to use on some of my silverware commissions. On the stainless steel, it gives a shimmering effect, which appears to ripple across the surface.

The two keels are each fixed to the granite-faced slab by three solid stainless steel posts capable of withstanding the occasional gusting "southerly busters" that a harbourside CBD such as Sydney experiences.

These posts are in turn set into stainless steel tube, sealed and bolted from under the slab. This allows the sculpture to be easily removed and relocated when the building reaches its life expectancy in 25-30 years time and is demolished.

Elevated view




Elevated View from the Ernst-Young Building



I anticipate that apart from excessive vandalism and a direct explosion this work has a life expectancy of at least 4 or 5 millennia, somewhat longer than the building it graces.

To Faro's Fountain

  3/08/09 jr