Pushing the boundaries of what’s possible often leads to unfathomable beauty. Natus Ex Igne, Latin for Born of Fire, is the latest collaboration between Axolotl Art Projects and artist, Jane Cavanough. This striking exterior sculpture sits nestled between the buildings of Arkadia, a recently completed multi-residential development in the Sydney Park precinct. Jane worked closely with the teams at DKO Architecture and Oculus Landscape Architecture, alongside Guppy Associates Art Management, to develop the concept for the site-specific artwork. A grouping of three tapering corten steel cones, the sculpture references the sentinel smokestacks that highlight the skyline from the former Sydney Brickworks, located in neighbouring Sydney Park.
Axolotl Art Projects was engaged to produce three bespoke complex glass shapes adorning the large conical forms. Jane selected Axolotl MIRO low iron acid-etched laminated glass, incorporating a custom print designed in collaboration with local artist, Philippa Playford, onto a clear interlayer. The bold combination of line and colour resembles the glow of fire and rings of smoke. When illuminated at night, the translucency of the glass provides a transmissive barrier allowing the internal lighting to emit a soft glow and provide a further dimension to the sculpture.
Fabricated in three different sizes, the corten steel sculptures animate the space around them for contemplation and interaction. The largest cone, standing three metres, features a hollowed out scalloped core, resembling the shadow of a former chimney. The horizontal cone provides a tension and playfulness when confronted with a large aperture of glass designed to further extend the metaphor of fire.
Natus Ex Igne’s elegant paired back conical tapering forms have a quiet and powerful clarity that connects both with past local history and present day acknowledging the architectural selection of recycled bricks as the main external material of the surrounding buildings.