Yo-yoers on the forecourt

Museum of Sydney forecourt

Museum of Sydney forecourt

We have it on good authority that there’ll be some talented yo-yoers taking over the Museum of Sydney forecourt today at 1pm. The group have been known to show off their yo-yo skills around some of the city’s other public areas, so we’re excited to have them come try out our space.

If you’re in the city, come along and watch them do their thing!

Museum of Sydney forecourt (First Government House Place), 1pm, Wednesday 29th May. 

Bubbler review: Circular Quay

Bubbler on a foggy morning

Bubbler on a foggy morning

Just near the ferry wharves this gleaming bubbler sits awaiting thirsty school groups and tourists. It has a stand next to it that allows people to refill plastic bottles and so is a hit with primary school visitors to the Quay. Stylistically it is very different from a traditional bubbler, almost sculptural. I don’t like it as it feels too coldly clinical for me and it could be placed anywhere – football ground, shopping centre, school – it doesn’t engage with its beautiful harbour surroundings.

Bubbler and water bottle refilling station

Bubbler and water bottle refilling station

Cleanliness: Clinically clean. [4/5]

Water quality: Clear and cool [3/5]

Spray reliability: The spray is strong and very consistent. No ‘burbling’ from this engineering masterpiece [3/5]

Ease of use: I watched someone else use this bubbler before approaching it as it is very different to a traditional bubbler. The water sprays horizontally and the button is very responsive so there is little chance of overspray or ‘chin drippage’. You almost catch the water in your mouth instead of the more common slurping technique used at traditional bubblers. The bubbler is very easy to use.  [4/5]

Aesthetic qualities: The bubbler looks very sleek. It has obviously been constructed to withstand the marine environment by the Quay but, to my eye, it isn’t in sympathy with its surroundings. It is quite utilitarian and could be improved by some design references to its iconic location.  [2/5]

Star rating: ***

Horizontal spray

Horizontal spray

We blog the city

Image credit: Rachael Holt

Image credit: Rachael Holt

This Sunday at Museum of Sydney, come listen to Public Sydney and Mirror Sydney blogger, Vanessa Berry, when she speaks at our Vivid Sydney talk, Digital City 1 – We blog the city.

Vanessa will be joined on stage by 52 Suburbs and 52 Suburbs Around The World blogger, Louise Hawson, as well as My Darling Darlinghurst blogger, Violet Tingle. Find out what inspired these bloggers to share their experiences of the cities and suburbs they’ve explored!

For details and tickets click here.

How do you make a space public?

Chess

Children playing chess

Since laying some plush green turf, deck chairs, planter boxes and chess pieces, we’ve seen a lot of activity happening on the Museum of Sydney forecourt! Why? It seems our public space experiment is working!

As part of Public Sydney, we asked exhibition visitors what they would like to do on the Museum forecourt. Our aim is to encourage the public to spend more time enjoying this space rather than just passing through. Based on the feedback we received, we manipulated the layout of the space which has led to a change in the way people use it and has increased the amount of time visitors spend there. The chess set, inspired by Hyde Park, is very popular with kids and there is a constant stream of adults challenging their friends to a game. Our planter boxes, currently home to herbs and greenery, are also set to flourish, although we wonder if the sometimes windy conditions may keep the plants from venturing too high above the garden bed! People stretch out in the deck chairs and look up at the city’s buildings, noticing architectural details that exist above our normal eye line.  Both the deck chairs and bench seating offer people a place to relax in the Autumn sun, eat their lunch and make use of our free Wifi.

Be sure to drop in and check it out, grab a coffee from the café and tell us what you think of our public space experiment!

Bubbler review: Hyde Park

Hyde Park bubbler

Hyde Park bubbler

Despite walking through Hyde Park almost daily for the past six months, I hadn’t noticed this bubbler before. I found it quite remarkable really, when I finally discovered it, as the foliage behind seems to almost perfectly herald its existence.

The day prior to me taking this photo, the bubbler was unfortunately positioned in the middle of a dispute between two men, the reason it caught my eye. I decided to wait until the next day to venture over. Continue reading →

Bubbler review: King Street bubbler

King Street bubbler

King Street bubbler

Located at the St. James end of King Street, this is a perplexing bubbler. It is very short [around 70cm high]. At first I thought it might be purpose-built for children but its location just doesn’t make sense. My observations of the city’s public spaces have taught me that families hang out in the parks, Darling Harbour and Circular Quay, not outside the Law School. I next thought it might be more accessible for people in wheelchairs but I can’t see how they could easily drink from it. I’m stumped. Continue reading →

Meet the photographer behind Public Sydney

Image: James Horan

Image: James Horan

For those who haven’t seen it yet, the Public Sydney exhibition also features a selection of amazing images by photographer, James Horan, which capture the essence of the city’s public spaces and the people that use them.

This Saturday 18th May, James will be joining us in the exhibition gallery to discuss some of the stories behind the images and to talk about some of the people he met during the project.

If you haven’t been to see Public Sydney yet or want to meet the artist, be sure to come along!

 

Public Sydney artist talk

Museum of Sydney

Saturday 18th May, 2pm-3pm

Free with museum entry, bookings not required 

Looking up in Sydney

Hermes statue

Hermes statue

Inspired by the roof garden visible on top of Booth House, across from the Museum of Sydney, I got to thinking about other above-street-level surprises on Sydney’s streets.

My favourite is at the corner of Castlereagh and King Streets. I have walked past this corner many times but one day, looking up, I was surprised to see a horseman on the roof of the corner building.

What was this Napoleon-like gentleman doing on top of a Sydney office building? The answer lies in the sign behind it, as he is one of the symbols of Hermes; a similar statue decorates the roof of the Hermes building in Paris. It is good to know the explanation, but this doesn’t make it any less unusual a sight.

What other strange things exist above street level in Sydney? Let us know if you have any favourite rooftop sights.

We have been listening

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/65872837[/vimeo]

Visitors to the Public Sydney exhibition have made some great suggestions about things they’d like to see and do on First Government House Place outside the Museum of Sydney. Top of the list are seats, plants and games – a public place in which to relax within the busy city. So we have created a space where people can chill out, use our free Wi-Fi, read a book, catch up with a friend and enjoy a game of chess. Keep checking back to find out about some of the activities happening in the space.

Bubbler review. Lewis Wolfe Levy Fountain, Royal Botanic Garden

Lewis Wolfe Levy Fountain

Lewis Wolfe Levy Fountain

This is the most spectacular bubbler in Sydney. The fountain was erected in 1889 and has a base of beautifully polished red and grey granite. At the top is a bronze statue of a woman, allegedly the goddess Diana, surrounded by reeds and wetland animals including bullfrogs spraying water from their mouths. The four corners of the fountain have a large bubbler mounted on them. Steps provide access for children and it is a popular stopping point for groups of school students. Continue reading →