Case Study: AMP Servery ‘Spirit of Warrane’ by Penny Evans

The Spirit of Warrane” 8m long installation adorns the walls of level 20 of AMP’s new offices at World Architecture Award winning building, Quay Quarter Towers. The installation is the culmination of a 2-year collaborative process between renowned Gamilaroi ceramic artist Penny Evans, Koskela and AMP. It builds on AMP’s desire to embed their ambitions and commitment to Reconciliation with First Nations Australians within their new headquarters.  

The concept behind the mosaic installation ‘The Spirit of Warrane’ (Sydney Cove), is a composition of 103 handmade ceramic pieces that are speaking in a map-like way to the area of Sydney Harbour, and tells the rich Gadigal history of Sydney, with a focus on Warrane. The area includes the Botanical Gardens, Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay and the area around Darling Harbour. 

There are ceremonial sites, sacred sites, meeting places as well as 13 islands illustrated throughout the installation that depict Sydney Harbour pre-colonization, which Penny portrays as a bustling place, with exchanges, sharing, collaboration and caring.   

The visual concept speaks to and incorporates the principles, which AMP stipulate as important, (these are inherently Indigenous principles embedded in Lore/laws and societal, social structuring) and include: Collaboration, Connection and Sharing. Each of these business values are also fundamental to Penny’s practice 

“There are pieces which speak to the ceremonial sites, pieces which speak to sacred sites and lots of little meeting place sites everywhere”

The composition of ceramic shapes and motifs are surrounded by white glazed tiles which reference the tiles of the Opera House and modern sites around Warrane.  

Each shape and form reference a different aspect of Aboriginal life in Sydney, including Meeting Places, Ceremonial Grounds, Estuary Designs.  

Designs for the individual pieces: 

Meeting Place Design 

The Meeting Place design refers to men's and women's ceremonial grounds, the midden (where the Opera House sits), AMP building and the 13 islands, which were communal gathering places within Sydney Harbour 

Ceremonial Grounds Design 

The Ceremonial Grounds design depicts gatherings and dance formations. These designs will be in shield, coolamon and canoe forms sitting angled and featuring men to the left side (Botanical Gardens) and women to the right side (Darling Harbour). 

Estuary Designs  

The Estuary designs reference the Saltwater and Estuarine environments of Warrane. This design references all the bays in the Harbour 

The benefit of this project cannot be understated.  

The creation of the servery was a collaborative design project with an aesthetic and educational value. The project provided a platform for the artist to communicate her art making process and culture on a commercial scale. The project also communicates First Nations culture and connection to Country through the servery itself for the AMP team and anybody who uses its service.   

“This project is a true example of AMP’s journey. It is a celebration of place, knowledge, and history - past and present and is a symbol of AMP’s commitment to reconciliation.” says Amber Guenther, AMP’s Workplace and project manager.

This project demonstrates Koskela’s experience working with First Nations artists, art centres and artist collectives, collaborating to create unique design products. This experience and the relationships we have built which span the Nation, coupled with our industrial design skills ensure we are uniquely placed to work with corporate and institutional clients to bring to life projects that can: serve to acknowledge the Country on which a building stands, provide a tangible representation of an organisation's Reconciliation 
Action Plan; and/or embody an organisation’s desire to further reconciliation. 

The AMP Servery

The AMP Servery

Binowee Bayless, Zoe Sims and Amber Gunther

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. 

Each project is unique in scope and is tailored to a particular client’s
 needs and the features of the site. We act as the bridge between a client,
 architect or interior designer and artist and ensure that the process is one
that clients and artists find rewarding and a real opportunity for connection and growth.