April Group approached us with an exciting idea for their new building “Habitat House” in Surry Hills. Two lifts were refitted with a glass wall, exposing the layers of old cement and brick to travellers standing in the lift. They wanted an artwork painted directly onto the wall of the lift shaft for passengers to enjoy as they travelled to different levels.
Our challenge was to find a muralist who could not only design a flexible, site specific artwork but someone who was also comfortable sitting on top of a lift in a confined space for countless nights to paint the artwork directly onto the raw cement surface.
After an extensive design competition, Claire Nakazawa’s concept "Light Shaft" was chosen for it’s clever incorporation of negative space. Bright colours blend together, weaving around natural blemishes in the wall to showcase the layers of history present in the exposed brick.
Claire spent weeks standing on top of the lift installing her mural during the evenings when the office spaces weren’t in use. She had a lift attendant with her to operate the lift controls on site and move the lift up and down as she needed. The finished artwork spans over 150 square meters across two lift shafts.
Image by Terence Chin.