Wynyard Station has become decidedly more artistic with the arrival of Interloop, a 50-metre-long installation suspended above a bank of escalators between York Street and the main concourse level.
Australian contemporary artist Chris Fox created the sculpture using salvaged Wynyard wooden escalator treads that long-time Sydney commuters will remember fondly (or less fondly if you wore high-heels). Fox says the sculpture aims to evoke memories of passengers and modes of travel from the past, while conjuring ideas of journey and travel, start and finish.
“Connecting yesterday and tomorrow, Interloop interrogates the conceptual and material boundaries between art and architecture,” Fox says. “It is a physical reinterpretation of the historic wooden-stepped Wynyard escalators initially built in 1931, that repurposes the hardwood from the heritage treads of now-retired escalators, into a sculpture weighing over five tonnes.”
His hovering sculpture loops together two pairs of reconfigured heritage escalators measuring more than 50 metres in length, incorporating 244 wooden treads and four escalator combs (the large plates at the top and bottom) from old Wynyard escalators.
The accordion-like sculpture took six months to design and engineer; another 12 weeks to fabricate; and 48 hours to install. It was built from high-strength, marine-grade aluminium and suspended via steel beams using more than a kilometre of welding.
Commissioned by Transport NSW, it is part of the $160 million Wynyard Station upgrade. Over the next few weeks other projects will be rolled out, including LED screens showing videos describing the heritage of the area.
Fox is an award-winning artist and senior lecturer at the University of Sydney in Art Processes and Architecture. He has exhibited in numerous solo, group and collaborative exhibitions in Australia, the USA and Europe, with an established sculptural practice of large-scale public and private commissioned artworks.