HASSELL marks its arrival in the Walsh Bay area with "Rats", an installation created for the Vivid Light Festival by three of our talented designers, one hundred and thirteen years after ship-borne rats brought bubonic plague to Sydney.
The plague has long gone, but the "rats" are back, represented by 100 floating balls bobbing up and down in the water along Walsh Bay's Pier 8/9, home to the new HASSELL studio which officially opens this week. Black silhouettes of rats appear on the balls. Two LED "eyes" on each glow in the dark.
Rats is one of four remarkable Vivid installations created by HASSELL designers, a major contribution to the festival, which draws hundreds of thousands of people to the city each year. Billed as a festival of light, music and ideas, Vivid takes over the centre of Sydney after dark. This is the second year that Walsh Bay has been a major festival location and the new HASSELL studio is in the centre of the action.
The new studio takes up 2,636 square metres in the historic Pier 8/9 at Walsh Bay. It is adjacent to the planned Barangaroo Headland Park and in the heart of the Walsh Bay creative industries community. Pier 8/9 was built in 1914 to store and load wool onto ships bound for Europe and has a wonderful tough, industrial character.
The move to an industrial wharf building re-imagined for a new purpose continues a HASSELL tradition – our Shanghai studio is in a former motorcycle factory, in Brisbane we are housed in a transformed bakery and in Melbourne we occupy what was once a clothing warehouse.
HASSELL was established in 1938 and this year we mark our 75th anniversary. The new studio is designed to reflect the engaged, collaborative culture the practice has fostered over the years. It is focused on a large double height creative hub that reveals the historic fabric and function of the building. This space facilitates everything from incidental get-togethers, to formal presentations and even performances for larger groups.
The main studio space on the mezzanine level overlooks the hub, placing our design process on display, visible from both the entry below and throughout the large characterful workspaces.
HASSELL Sydney Managing Principal, Matthew Pullinger, said the move to Walsh Bay brings a new impetus and energy to the studio.
"It comes at a time when we are working on important projects that will help reshape Sydney," he said. "They include Darling Harbour Live, the redesign of the convention, exhibition and entertainment precinct, a new glasshouse and tropical centre at the Botanic Gardens, the new light rail project in the central business district and south eastern suburbs and a number of mixed use developments.
"The Vivid installations might appear small -scale compared to those projects. But they demonstrate our commitment to making a contribution to enlivening creative places and the cities we live and work in."