When you're next in Sydney, allow yourself to be transported from seafloor to skyscraper by contemporary sculptor Chris Fox's stunning work 'Drift', located at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices at 1 Bligh Street.
Drift is a unique work that provides a focal point as you enter the building and was positioned to intercept visitors and dare them to pause and consider its thought-provoking expression of the form and motion of the harbour city.The flooring project for 1 Bligh Street encompassed three floors of Victorian Ash parquetry - some 1800 square metres - so the brief for Chris was to use the new flooring and create something special from it.
Chris explained that this was his first experience of working with Victorian Ash.
"Fortunately, Vic Ash turned out to be a joy to work with. We demanded a lot of it and it responded well to cutting, laminating and end-matching. The team came to love the blocks."
To ensure full Chain of Custody Certification, the timber for the flooring project and for Drift, was sourced and supplied through a partnership between Australian Sustainable Hardwoods and Britton Timbers.
Sculpted from AFS and PEFC certified Victorian Ash that had been cut and machined into 360,000 matching end-grain parquetry pieces at Britton Timber's Victorian machining facility, Drift's underwater landscape flows up and out of the floor in a rolling wave that also captures perfectly the essence of the modern, thrusting office blocks that define corporate Sydney.
Chris says working with the wood in different locations before finally bringing Drift together presented some challenges.
"There were marked differences in humidity between our workshop and the Bligh Street offices. The timber was layered and textured and we spent a lot of time testing it under different conditions. In fact we're continuing to test the timber to determine the extent of its possibilities for other works."
Drift alone is worth the trip to Sydney, but Chris advises it should be viewed in tandem with its companion work, 'Tracing Back to Bligh' which is located on another floor in the building. It offers another perspective on the topographical and human influences on the city.
Drift and Tracing Back to Bligh are projects that only Chris Fox could conjure from timber and historical maps - he is an ancestor of Bligh, the Governor of Sydney from 1805 to 1808.