Through collaboration with tenants of the Foyer Oxford, accomplished Perth artist Pamela Gaunt utilises electro-luminescent lighting and digitally printed glass to create a public art piece with a deep, meaningful connection to one of Leederville’s newest landmark buildings.
The four-storey Foyer Oxford is based on the successful international Foyer model, and provides homeless youth with self-contained transitional housing, combined with personalised social supports and opportunities to access employment, education and training. It has the capacity to house up to 98 young people between the ages of 16 and 25, including 24 young parents and their children.
Based on the belief that the only long term avenue out of homelessness for young people is through education, training and sustainable employment, Foyer Oxford is able to drive long term outcomes, and in the process create an aspirational and positive environment that ensures young people are able to thrive. The Foyer Oxford consortium ran a small scale “Interim Foyer” in Mt Lawley from September 2011 through to the opening of the full scale Foyer premises, with results indicating that of 78% of young people engaged in education, employment and training, 75% exit into long term, positive accommodation options.
Public art is a prominent and indentifiable feature of the Foyer, and comprises two interrelated components: a large patterned and illuminated glass façade, and an adjacent illuminated glass and concrete seat in the outer courtyard. Created by local artist Pamela Gaunt, the artworks were commissioned by Foundation Housing, the project was a unique partnership between Foundation Housing, Anglicare WA, Central Institute of Technology and the Western Australian Government’s Department of Housing.
‘The linear elements used as the basis for the printed glass patterns stem from drawings contributed by young volunteer residents of The Foyer’ comments Pam ‘I invited participants to make a drawing, or series of drawings, that focused on their hopes, dreams, and aspirations of their collective futures. Embedded in the design, the drawings become complex layered graphic elements, giving the patterned glass façade increased depth and a meaningful connection to Foyer residents.’
Above: Timelapse footage of the printed glass facade featuring Pam’s ‘Constellation’ artwork
ImagInk digital ceramic printing on glass was selected by Pam as the preferred medium due to longevity and the ability to work closely with a local supplier throughout the design process. An additional advantage offered by the ceramic inks is the ability to print on the exterior surface of the glass, highlighting the contrasting matte/reflective relationship between the printed and non-printed sections of the glass.
The northern facade is comprised of ten panels, each weighing 153 kilograms behind which, electro-luminescent lighting is inserted. The same lighting system is also incorporated into the concrete seat. To diffuse the lighting, a white translucent interlayer was included in the 13.52mm custom laminate glass makeup.
‘The nocturnal animated illumination allows the work to project a different presence between day and night, highlighting different elements of the printed glass to become ‘constellation-like’ says Pam. ‘The title of the work refers to a group of stars, which together form an interlinked pattern, create light and are intended as a metaphor for the notion of community.’
The installation was a complex and challenging process, involving installation of ten, 1350 x 3500mm panels of printed glass using a scissor and boom simultaneously, up to 12 metres from the ground. Structurally glazed with a light grey silicone to match the exterior finishes of the building, the printed glass artwork also extends across the two windows that are recessed into the facade.
‘The success of the project relied heavily on close communication with Cooling Bros. during the design, production, and installation stages, and ultimately the willingness of Sales Director Vince Bianchini and the team to take on challenging art projects!’ concludes Pam.
The Foyer Oxford is located on Oxford St in Leederville, right opposite the TAFE. The Constellation artworks are best viewed around dusk when the lighting begins, and are particularly enjoyable after a couple of cold beers at one of Leederville’s many excellent watering holes.
Foyer Oxford, Perth
Design Architect Chindarsi
Project Architect GHD
Installer Cooling Brothers
Glass 13.52mm Custom Laminate with digital ceramic printing
Photographer Robert Frith
Further information on the processes featured in this project can be found below: