Vivid Sydney 2014 – Urban Tree Project by Ample Projects
MLC Centre, Martin Place, Sydney

Nicholas Tory - Creative Director
Martin Crouch - Technical Art Director
Lucy Keeler - Art Director
Julian Reinhold - Lead Designer & Animator
Iain Greenhalgh - Creature Design & Animation
Miles Nicholas - Music & Sound Design

If you ever find yourself wondering what grew in the CBD before monuments of glass and steel, Urban Tree Project at Vivid Sydney 2014 will show you. The MLC Centre’s CTA building in Martin Place, the newest Vivid Sydney precinct, will grow out of the ground to become a magnificent living tree within the surrounding urban environment to celebrate and reflect on Sydney’s original green landscape.

Presented as a vignette of a day in the life of a tree, Urban Tree Project explores themes and questions relating to urban lifecycles, the impact of high density living on the natural environment, and the human need for green space.

The Commercial Traveller’s Association building in Sydney’s Martin Place will be transformed for the first time for Vivid Sydney 2014. Whether you are interested in experiencing an artwork that allows you to think about our impact on the environment, or you would like to see an enormous tree grow out of the ground in 60 seconds, Ample’s Urban Tree Project combines though-provoking content with a show designed for all ages.

Project partners TDC supplied the projection equipment and media servers for Urban Tree project, as well as working closely with Ample to help design the best projection solution for this challenging architectural screen.

Project Synopsis:

Simultaneously a transformative artwork and an architectural projection, Urban Tree Project is like a scene from a Hayao Miyazaki film. Out of the darkness, multiple shoots sprout. Reaching towards the sky, their pencil-like trunks form a small stand of trees. The trees thicken, becoming increasingly more intertwined, and their individual canopies and branches continue to rise vertically, gradually forming a collective canopy above. The small trees merge, and the branches mature, as the facade is transformed into a tree.

Like the inhabitants and vehicles of a large city, beetles, birds, bees and centipedes bravely emerge out of the tree, scurrying around, then vanishing again into the canopy. The tree’s creatures interact with their living home and each other, rhythmically and randomly over the course of a day. Thunder rumbles in the distance, the creatures scurry away, and a sudden downpour triggers the tree to blossom. Flowers yield pods that peel open, dropping seeds that float to the ground. Night falls, the creatures remain, and like cars traversing the arteries of a big city at night, the tree is illuminated with glowing creatures and their pathways.

Special thank you to project partner, the MLC Centre, for funding Urban Tree Project.
Special thank you to Destination NSW and Vivid Sydney, for their support and encouragement.

Show filmed during Vivid 2014 by Andre Castaldi of Converse Media.
Additional footage shot by Julian Reinhold and Nick Tory.

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