Home Property Australia Brookfield Place Perth reveals striking First Nations art in $100 million building upgrade

Brookfield Place Perth reveals striking First Nations art in $100 million building upgrade

  • May 29, 2024
  • by Property Australia
Lea Taylor and Yondee Shane Hansen

The Tower 1 lobby of Perth’s iconic Brookfield Place has been revitalised, featuring stunning new public artworks by First Nations artists.

The striking collection will become major fixtures in the Tower 1 lobby and forecourt at 125 St Georges Terrace.

The artworks, by Wadandi, Menang, Kaniyang, Ballardong artist Lea Taylor and Noongar Whadjuk Ballardong artist Yondee Shane Hansen form part of a $100 million makeover designed by architects Hassell in collaboration with Whadjuk Noongar representatives, Barry McGuire and Carol Innes from Soft Earth.

Located along the atrium walls, Yandjitup Kep-Werd – Place of the Bullrush Waterfall by Lea Taylor features cascading bent metal straps which imitate the strap-like leaves of Bullrush and highlight the site’s historical wetland significance. Kep Walken Winin – Water is the colour of Life by Yondee Shane Hansen is depicted in the lobby rugs and sandblasted pavers and carved stone boulders amongst the outdoor landscaping.

The new artworks follow the cultural theme of ‘Water as Life’ – a theme resulting from close consultation with Barry McGuire and Carol Innes from Soft Earth. The site of Brookfield Place is close to numerous local meeting and camping grounds for multiple historic Noongar groups, which is reflected in the works of Taylor and Hansen.

State Operations Manager of Brookfield Properties, Alison Beamish, said that Brookfield Properties team was thrilled to see the new artworks come to life.

“We believe that engaging with First Nations art is essential. It serves as both a powerful link to our shared history and enriches our community’s understanding of First Nations perspectives,” said Ms Beamish.

“‘Water as Life’ references the site of Brookfield Place as one which has deep ties to water.  The original lake system that once encompassed Boorloo has changed – but despite this, Kep (water) is still present at the site of Brookfield Place and continues to flow under the feet of those who walk across it, which is very special.”

Lea Taylor’s Yandjitup Kep-Werd acknowledges the significance of the modern-day Brookfield Place, as well as the vast lakes, swamps and lush expanses of Bullrush that came before it. This perennial plant carries deep significance to the Bibbulmun people, who relied on them for survival for thousands of years.  

“This has been a special project to design, and I believe we have created a truly welcoming space that connects with the land as part of Brookfield’s 10-year celebration,” said Ms Taylor.

Nearby, Shane’s Kep Walken Winin pays homage to water and its significance with eye-catching woven lobby rugs and sandblasted pavers and carved stone boulders.

Hansen’s rugs symbolise elements connected to the river – raindrops, and middens. Borong / Raindrops – rain is important to Whadjuk Noongar as food renewal; for both plant germination and controlling the cool fires for land management and hunting. Middens – piles of shells and bones left behind by the Whadjuk Noongar people after fishing and hunting – can be seen within the rugs’ design, signifying a place where families live and eat together.

The sandblasting of the pavers depicts the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River estuary) and Djarlgarra Beelier (Canning River). The sandblasted cursive lines represent the passage of water, flowing from the hills, through to the river systems.

Donnybrook stone boulders are carved with symbols of Noongar boodjar (Noongar country). The boulders offer a distinct tactile quality, inviting viewers to connect with the artwork, its materials, and the site’s location more broadly.