You Are Here

May 23, 2024

Artist: Cave Urban – Juan Pablo Pinto
Location: Parramatta NSW

The art installation “You are Here” at Parramatta Aquatic Centre, designed by artist Juan Pablo Pinto and Lachlan Brown from Cave Urban, features two towering steel sculptures that represent the Parramatta River’s history. The sculptures are constructed from a multitude of recycled steel calibration samples from Infrabuild Steel Mill, stacked up in a giant tower with the shape of the river cut out of them. The plates were previously used to create master templates to establish thickness, dimension and weight – as a sample for standard measurements for metal manufacturing. The rejected plates that did not measure up accurately were discarded.

Fine atomising mist billowing around the base of the sculpture alludes to the primordial – the time of the river stretching back hundreds of millions of years when it coursed through and carved out geologies shifted by immense geomorphic forces. Borrowing a phrase commonly seen on maps in tourist information kiosks, the title of the sculpture, ‘You are Here’, subtly invites deeper contemplation about where we are at this moment in history and our place in and effect on the natural world.

The challenge for our engineers was to ensure the stability and visual impact of these massive steel structures within the aquatic centre’s framework. This involved meticulous analysis of weight distribution to meet safety regulations and an understanding of the long term effects of the environment on the exposed steel. Close collaboration with the artist and designer was necessary to accurately translate the concept onto the steel surfaces, balancing structural integrity with aesthetic considerations, down to the size and locations of welds.

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