THE NEAREST OF THE FARAWAY PLACES - Duncan Moon (artist in stone and stucco)
The Nearest of the Faraway Places is a public artwork that envelopes an existing 1960s toilet facility. It was commissioned by the Bayswater City Council as part of an overall masterplan upgrade of the Claughton Nature Reserve.
The design complements the site overall by entering into a direct dialogue with the wetlands fauna and flora. Egret water birds, Kangaroo paw plants and tortoise carapace forms are evoked into a new curvilinear architectural iteration of the original ‘shoebox’ building.
The narrative of the building tells of the Western Swamp Tortoise, presently Australia’s most endangered reptile. The carapace form is elevated over the building to highlight the plight of this creature. An egret stands on each corner and is based on the classical motif of the caryatid [carved female load-bearing columns]. The lines of the cornice are drawn from the curves found in Kangaroo Paw flowers. The square pattern on the walls form a series of inter-locking spirals formed by mathematical ideas found in the self-organising systems of nature.
The most immediate, striking image of the work is that of a carapace suspended over the building by the wingbeat of four egrets expressed in graphic visual language.
Overt and covert sublime geometry, that is a facsimile of the numbers found in nature, creates a profound sympathetic relationship between place and the parts and the whole of the building. Throughout the building the proportions of pi, the golden mean, 1: root 2, the octave, 5th harmonic and a magic hexagon lattice pattern can be found.
A humble public utility is visually redeemed by Platonic form into an aesthetically delightful pavilion. It ably corresponds with its environment and elevates the prosaic experience of answering a call of nature. A would-be mirage becomes an exotic destination – the Nearest of the Faraway Places.
Toilet block - before transformation -
Toilet block - after transformation -
Artist Description of works for plaque (coming soon)
Official Opening Invitation