Steam Mill Lane

Darling Harbour, Sydney

In 2018, Steam Mill Lane in Sydney’s Darling Harbour precinct was given a makeover by landscape architect Aspect Studios. Part of the lane’s revitalisation was the installation of several geometric artworks that can be described as “street-sized jewellery”.

The project comprises a series of sculptural, boldly-coloured metal artworks suspended overhead from 6mm stainless-steel cables at three different zones along the laneway.

The pieces were designed by award-winning jewellery artist Peta Kruger. Adelaide-based Peta creates unique pieces which are stocked over the world and displayed in galleries across Australia.

However, this was Peta’s first attempt at such a large-scale display of her work, which she describes as having been inspired by colourful lanterns and city nightscapes.

Where art and engineering meet

Tensile was engaged to work with Peta after she won a competition run by Lendlease and Aspect. Our role was to provide design development, engineering and construction of the artworks. Having a solid process of design development already in place for projects ensured the key elements and intent of the work were maintained.

The process began with taking some of her designs – at the cardboard cut-out stage to start with – and from there blowing them up to a street-size scale. As well as design development, we also took care of the lighting, fabrication, electrical works and installation.

This all happened quickly. We went from design to development to completion in under six months – a very short timeline for a custom-commissioned art project.

Completed street art project enlivens the laneway

The eight completed pieces range in size and weight. The largest is 850kg and the size of a small car. All the pieces are suspended from a series of Tensile’s cables which anchor back into the surrounding buildings.

The artworks also conceal the light-fittings and cables – which means they illuminate at night, creating a soft glowing flow of light and eliminating glare.

The overall result is a permanent art display that interacts with the public both day and night within a highly creative space.

This project provided a delightful opportunity for Tensile. We were not only able to work directly with the artist, but also take on all the practical elements needed to bring the installation into reality. We certainly think that the resulting “street jewellery” brings a wonderful, almost playful aesthetic to the precinct!

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