23 May 2024

Public artwork by international artist installed at AURA by Aqualand

Aqualand has installed a sculpture created by world-renowned, London-based artist, Richard Sweeney, on the ground plane of their AURA by Aqualand mixed-use precinct, located at 168 Walker Street, North Sydney.

Aqualand’s collaboration with award-winning landscape architects, Turf Design Studio, has resulted in a ground plane design that successfully integrates the project with the unique local environs of the characterful suburb.

This landscape design has now been embellished with the installation of the site-specific public art piece titled ‘Landscape’, which graces the Walker Street entrance to the precinct.

Commissioned by Aqualand, the 4.1 metre bronze cast piece was also inspired by North Sydney’s locale, and features unique, organic curves inspired by the natural elements of sandstone, water and the landscape synonymous with the harbour front. The artwork has been woven into the fabric of the garden to amplify the arrival experience.

Aqualand_AURA_Richard Sweeney Landscape Sculpture 2024

Richard Sweeney’s objective was to create a visually complex piece that appears light and abstract, with the appearance of layering and weathering.

“To achieve this effect, I incorporated subtle voids and carefully placed layers to offer variation in both shape and texture,” said Richard.

“The surface of the sculpture has a slight striated effect reflecting the layered effect of the sandstone.

“Comprised of two separate elements, depending on the viewpoint, it has a feeling of mass and solidity or an appearance of lightness and fluidity.

“A combination of patinas and paint were used to achieve the duo-tone effect using yellow and red tonalities, echoing sandstone colours and textures. A subtle pearl effect gives more contrast between inner/outer surfaces.

‘‘The charming metal sculpture pays tribute to the intriguing textures of the iconic local weathered sandstone. It’s been a joy to create and its truly gratifying to finally see it installed in the place I specifically designed it for,” he said.


Fabricated at UAP’s foundry in Brisbane, the piece will support vibrant placemaking by creating a focal point to greet future residents and their visitors, patrons of and staff working at the bakery, café, wine bars and restaurant, and the broader North Sydney community alike.

Aqualand_AURA_Richard Sweeney Landscape Sculpture 2024

Aqualand Group Managing Director, Jin Lin, says he’s excited by the artwork’s installation and sees it as testament to Aqualand’s commitment to building communities that reflect the local area.

“As we retain ownership of the retail spaces in all our projects, we’re with them for the long-term, long after the residences have sold out. As such, we take great pride in working closely with the local community to create projects that truly elevate their surroundings.

“We have a number of significant investments in North Sydney and are deeply committed to increasing the appeal of the suburb as an engaging and activated precinct to not only work in, but to live and play in too.

“The commissioning of this stunning piece has been a truly collaborative process with North Sydney Council, Woods Bagot, UAP, and of course, Richard Sweeney, and we see it as a permanent symbol of our commitment to the area. One the entire community can now enjoy.


“We can’t wait to welcome our North Sydney neighbours in over the coming weeks, so they can enjoy our retail offerings and this beautiful new sculpture,” he added.

Artwork Concept Statement

Richard Sweeney’s sculpture embodies the aesthetics of sandstone paired with the artist’s unique aesthetic of meticulously crafted forms to evoke a sense of movement and lightness. Departing from the conventional portrayal of sandstone as solid and imposing, the artist’s intention is to explore dynamic qualities inspired by the ebb and flow of water on the eroded shoreline.

Aqualand_AURA_Richard Sweeney Landscape Sculpture 2024Aqualand_AURA_Richard Sweeney Landscape Sculpture 2024

The organic artwork form speaks to AURA’s curved architectural lines inspired by the nearby sandstone cliffs and the cast surface texture exhibits a striated effect reminiscent of the captivating layers inherent in sandstone formations, allowing for a nuanced visual experience.

The chosen colour scheme presents a subtle yet captivating duotone effect, achieved through the skilful application of red and yellow undercoats combined with a bronze effect topcoat. This deliberate selection aligns harmoniously with the natural hues of coastal sandstone, while the addition of a subtle pearl creates a luminescence of water and light which can be observed from the shorelines of North Sydney. The interplay between the sandstone-inspired palette and the pearlescent accents brings forth a captivating homage to the coastal landscape.

The viewer’s perspective plays a vital role in engaging with this sculpture. Depending on one’s vantage point, a contrasting experience unfolds, oscillating between a perceived sense of mass and solidity, and an ethereal manifestation of lightness and fluidity, like gentle reflections on the harbour. This dynamic interplay between perspectives enhances the multifaceted nature of the artwork, inviting contemplation and fostering a unique dialogue between the viewer and the sculptural form.

About Richard Sweeney’s 

Richard Sweeney works at an intersection of art and design, centred around material exploration with paper. Working through and with this material, Sweeney creates complex folded forms which he then translates into larger scale works, which appear to defy gravity and retain the lightness of their paper originals. The artist draws inspiration from the organic and natural forms found in nature, such as shells, birds, waves and leaves to create elegant and highly distinctive works.

Aqualand_Richard Sweeney_Landscape Sculpture

Richard Sweeney has exhibited broadly on a global scale and has also completed a number of public art commissions in both China and Australia.

Selected Career Highlights

  • Cut, Pleat, Repeat, Deirdre Dyson Gallery, London, 2021-2022
  • Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami, Touring, 2020
  • Paper Present, Daelim Museum, Seoul, 2017
  • Public art commissions include; Serene Waves, Ningbo New Library, 2019; Swift, Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre, 2018; Cloud, Sydney Hilton Hotel, 2017; Reflection, Zhengzhou Province Midtown, 2017; Crystal, Ithra, 2016.

To find out more about AURA by Aqualand, please contact 1800 207 778, go to aurasydney.com.au or visit the display showroom at 168 Walker Street, North Sydney, daily between 10am and 4pm.