We were searching for a title to the new film short we have directed and produced on 8Chifley in Sydney. In the end the not entirely original, but entirely appropriate, 'Transformer' came to us. Here is a tower with a much smaller than usual footprint - one that doesn't seem to swallow a whole city block. There's plenty to like about a tower that doesn't hog its site or repel the passer-by with a blank anonymity where small shops once stood. Designed by Sydney's Lippmann Partnership in association with Rogers Stirk Harbour of London and ARUP (Sydney), this is the kind of tower that is wonderfully site and climate specific. Hopefully it's a game-changer and rewards the team behind it with similar opportunities.
Why don't we see more towers of this spirit? Basically the fund and superannuation managers demand more of the same. They're risk averse and don't especially like genuine difference. 8Chifley should reassure them of what's possible with a series of wonderful voids and platforms that open and engage with the place like few of the neighbours. And guess what? The anchor tenant loves it.
We have become accustomed to the big sealed box as branding statement and yet 8Chifley indicates a fresh new direction. Yes, it's big enough, but only 30 storeys and inventive on so many levels. Ground floor for a start is open and transparent with plenty of scope for passers-by to relax in the sunshine or take shelter. And it's a strategy continued throughout with tenant decks and open, connected work areas.
In all it's a mighty achievement and a delight to document on film. You can check out a building of wonderful difference at YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haZcmMbshmM&feature=youtube_gdata
The latest issue of Vision is out and it's a production of which we're very proud. It's another example of why on-line magazines are leaving many of their print cousins in the dust. Most of us love the tactile feel of the printed magazine, but for sheer convenience and ability to tell a visual story, the e-magazine is a fantastic medium.
I remember launching another highly respected industry magazine - Steel Profile - way back in the early 1980s. I had problems with the marketing department of what was then known as BHP Steel who could only see the short term and wanted it titled euphorically Super Steel. They just didn't quite get the slow, long burn, idea. Anyway, I persisted and won and then they won too because more than 30 years later it's still going strong as a contributor to Australia's design landscape.
I kick-started Vision in 2002 on a similar premise as a print production. A little over a year ago Viridian agreed to better embrace the age of the internet and initiated an online version of Vision. Almost 12 months on and it's demonstrating how great products and great design can go hand in hand. We've had the privilege of being there to capture and review a diverse range of Australian design and to work with Nexus Designs to produce an e-magazine that goes well beyond the ordinary - in our humble opinion - and which celebrates big ideas in all shapes and sizes.
You can subscribe at no cost, or simply check it out at: http://joom.ag/WIIb
Literal versus abstraction is an interesting argument for photographers and art buyers. There's various terminology that says the same thing, but let's keep it plain and simple. Literal can be great, abstract can be better. A straightforward portrait can be fabulous but just as you're about to pack up your gear and move on, you notice a reflection of your 'sitter' in a wall mirror, or bench top. Grab the camera and fire off another shot for safe-keeping. Sometimes it's the one that counts. I was reminded of this while photographing a new building this week. It had its own wonderful abstraction, but when I noticed a pond nearby I was able to heighten the effect with a very nice reflection. It adds a Dali-esque touch to an otherwise quite literal scene. Which is better? Each tells a different story. In the end it's your view that matters when you 'walk' through HyattGallery.
Some of our most popular recent gallery images resulted while photographing a coastal house designed by the talented Sydney architect Alex Symes. Shooting at Austinmer some 60 kms. south of Sydney, we noticed some weather and sea ravaged rock-pools. They shimmered in the daylight and became phosphorescent at dusk.
Photography often involves experimentation. That should be a given. Sometimes you fail but, as we know, better to try and fail, than fail to try. Luckily our attempt appears to have succeeded.
Our rock-pool views are among the most popular of our recent images with the leading insurance group AIG amongst the first in the queue for its new office fitout. The photographs were chosen amongst a group of views that exude serenity and calm – an antidote no doubt to the visual agitation and anxiety of the modern world.
While our original purpose was to take great photographs of Alex Symes’ wonderful house, there was the bonus of capturing this largely forgotten part of coastline and beach culture. One of the great pleasures of photography is to share experiences, impressions and horizons.
A link to our photography of the wonderful Austinmer House will be posted on our blog in the next few days. Stay tuned!
The first of our series featured is Horizon, Pompeii, Blue and Gold and the suitably titled Rockpools.