West Lobby, One Central Park, Sydney, Australia

Amanda Ortland for Ateliers Jean Nouvel


These images are from a native Eucalyptus forest in the Blue Mountains region of South-Eastern Australia, a UNESCO world heritage site. For over 80,000 years and until British colonization these forests were home to the Wallerawang band of Aboriginal Australians.  They called the area the Wolgan Valley.  The name “Wolgan” comes from “Wolga,” the local word for the climatis aristata vine that grows in the area.

Amanda photographed the forests using a view camera and 4x5 sheet film to control parallax and allow for a very large-scale print. She was looking for a window into the landscape that existed before the city was built. She manipulated the image with layering and changed tones, and made it dynamically controllable with RGB lighting to generate a chromatic mood change between day and night. She tried to fine-tune the level of abstraction for the image to be neither a metaphor, nor an illustration, but rather a dream-like archetypal appearance. She blacked out all materials except the screens, realizing in the renderings that this avoided the look and feel of a feature wall. With the room corners gone, the three image screens began floating like a mirage in a dark, abstract space that extended softly in the reflections.

This project was published in Frame Magazine #99, GA Document #129 and El Croquis #183

“Even before entering a posh apartment tower, most of us anticipate a characteristically recognizable lobby. But there’s nothing ‘comfy living room’-like about the lobby of One Central Park, a residential complex in Sydney designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel. Aiming for the unanticipated, Amanda Ortland furnished the dark space with a poetic installation featuring her photography: scenarios that change in mood thanks to the use of color, light and shifting layers. Ortland’s images depict the eucalyptus forests of the Blue Mountains. The tall trees relate to the building’s verticality while paying homage to the Gadigal people, native Australians who originally inhabited the site. Placed about 1 meter behind a screen of lightly mirrored glass, the photos are nearly invisible during the day and gather intensity at night. Light plays across their surfaces, moving between chromatic extremes, from mountain blue to the fiery red glow of the Australian bush.” --Frame Magazine #99