Five emerging Koori artists worked with Koskela to design 15 large tables for 15 floors of AMP’s office in Warrane (Circular Quay). The five artists – Chloe Little, Jasmine Sarin, Maddison Gibbs, Dylan Barnes and Josh Sly – each worked to co-design the table’s base as well as creating unique artworks for each tabletop.
This important project was initiated by AMP in 2019 and the final tables have now been installed. The design was a collaboration between the artists and Koskela, while Binowee Bayles, AMP / AMP Capital's Head of Indigenous Programs worked closely with Zoe Sims, Koskela’s First Nations Impact Specialist to manage the First Nations facilitation process. Below, detail of Dylan Barnes' work, Gadhang Giilang-Galang (Ocean Stories).
Jasmine Sarin admiring Dylan Barnes' work, Gadhang Giilang-Galang (Ocean Stories). Gadhang Giilang-Galang (Ocean Stories).
Jasmine Sarin admiring Dylan Barnes' work, Gadhang Giilang-Galang (Ocean Stories).
Gadhang Giilang-Galang (Ocean Stories).
“It was great to reach out to the artists for this project,” says Koskela’s Zoe Sims. “For some of the artists, it was their first project of this size for a commercial client.”
The 15 tables are around 7-metres long with undulating organic shapes, and these are now installed in the same place on each of 15 levels of the building in the tea point or break-out space for staff on each floor. The shape of the table is a reference to the shapes made by the flowers of the cobajora (Yellow Stringybark trees) which were used to make nawi canoes used for fishing in the Sydney Harbour.
The flower of the cobajora (Yellow Stringybark tree) informed the shape of the tables.
The table shape with Chloe Little's artwork, Celebrating Sydney.
Each artist worked closely with the Koskela industrial design team, choosing a symbol or motif that inspired the shape of the base of their tables. The art for the tabletops was created digitally (or by hand and then digitised), with each artist choosing to respond to the location of the tables – the Gadigal Land of Darling Harbour / Sydney Cove – in their own unique way. Below, the table bases were powder coated by hand.
Finishing the edge of the plywood top.
Affixing the printed laminate to the plywood top.
Dylan Barnes explores the vibrant ecosystems in the waters of Gadigal Country in their first table, called ‘Gadhang Giilang-Galang’ (‘Ocean Stories’ in Wiradjuri language), while the second table is about plant life, called ‘Dhabugarra Dhulubang’ (‘Plant Spirit’) and the third table is about Indigenous people’s connection to ancestors, spirits and the dreaming, called ‘Ngumbaay-dyil’ (‘All Together in One Place’). “I themed each of my tables on a story about the beauty and vibrancy of the Gadigal area. It was inspired by Sydney Cove,” says Dylan.
This was Dylan’s first time working with such a big company and they found the experience inspiring: “It was a fantastic experience to get to know the other artists involved and discover what they designed. I physically gasped when I saw the final tables and how beautifully each artist communicated their own connection to country and to the cove.” Below, artist Dylan Barnes with their artwork, Dhabugarra Dhulubang (Plant Spirit).
Ngumbaay-dyil (All Together in One Place) by Dylan Barnes.
Detail of Ngumbaay-dyil (All Together in One Place) by Dylan Barnes.
Dylan also found the project widened their art practice through learning how to use digital platforms. “I personally never used digital art before this opportunity so it was also a learning experience to teach myself how to use digital art. I’m happy I got to expand my horizons.” They also found connecting with the other artists was culturally affirming. “As Indigenous people we’re all connected in some way, through family, community or country, but getting to talk to other artists who interpret human experiences and the world differently, it produced a spark in me. It gave me a lot of ideas but also gave me a lot of pride in my Indigeneity.”
The impact of this project cannot be understated. The creation of the tables was a collaborative design project with an aesthetic and practical function. The project provided a sense of community and connection for the artists and collaborators, while also supporting emerging First Nations artists. The project also communicates First Nations culture and connection to country through the tables themselves for the AMP team. “It’s a mutually beneficial and collaborative design, which is something that First Nations people don’t often experience,” says Zoe Sims. “And the end result is amazing.” Below, Chloe Little's work, Where the land meets the sea.
Middens by Maddison Gibbs. Gadigal Country by Josh Sly.
Middens by Maddison Gibbs.
Gadigal Country by Josh Sly.
Yorta Yorta woman and artist
Designs: Ulupna, Where the land meets the sea and Celebrating Sydney (pictured top banner)
Kamilaroi and Jerrinja woman and artist
Statement: This design series is based on the overarching theme of Land Meets Sea with an interlinking concept of Mother Earth and Father Sky.
Barkindji woman and multidisciplinary artist
Statement: My aim is to reclaim, reconnecting and building upon our connection to our mother earth and reflect on our own layers history and culture.
Wiradjuri person and artist
Designs: Gadhang Giilang-Galang (Ocean Stories in Wiradjuri language), Dhabugarra Dhulubang (Plant Spirit) and Ngumbaay-dyil (All Together in One Place)
Biripi Worimi and Wiradjuri man and artist
Designs: Timeless Culture, Gadigal Country and Ocean Dreaming
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