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  • David Cianci

ARTSCAPE - THE PRIME OF OUR YOUTH

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

Once just the new kid on the block, ARTSCAPE has now been in operation for some 18 years. It hit me between the eyes recently when I glanced at some older company documents. It was one of those ‘Wow’ moments that really make you think.


Registered and trading by the end of 2003, ARTSCAPE might still be considered a teenager – but we’ve quickly developed into one of Australia’s premier public art consultancies – acne and all. The business was founded on what our Company name stands for – that art should be designed for its landscape – rather than a ‘plonk-it’ and run approach – which was rife back then.


Since founding, we have watched and participated in the integration of art and culture into every facet of urban design – from built form design, architecture, landscape, wayfinding and place making.


Art in the public domain is less of a separate concept these days. It is now generally expected to be integrated and considered early in the design process. Sadly, we still come across instances where it has clearly been an afterthought – a tragic oversight that can severely limit the creation of truly great design. But things are changing.


Since 2003 our skills have grown and adapted. This has had a lot to do with our transformation from a traditional public art consultancy – into a practice that considers the ‘whole’ of a place – where public art, landscape, built form and engineering are – from the get go – all imagined into the process of creating a truly successful place.


While public art is still very important to us, it has become a single tool within a huge sandbox of opportunities to create the next generation of better places and more resilient communities.


Therefore, it’s safe to say – the evolution of ARTSCAPE, as a business, reflects what has been happening across our industry. A shift towards an all of ‘place’ focus – where nothing we do is ever conceived or presented in isolation from its boarder environment.


Our Clients these days are getting so much more when they come to us for any given project, not purely because of the experience we have garnered over the years, but because of our ability to apply our skill-sets to a range of project typologies. In-house, our skills are all connected to the concept of place:


· Registered Landscape Architect

· Registered Architect

· Crime Prevention (CPTED) specialists

· Public art consultants with a background in fine arts

· Designers of cultural artworks, landscapes and memorials

· Urban designers.


Add to this the fact that we (ARTSCAPE) have always been strategists, creators and makers. What we are seeing becoming more prevalent into the future is – those who strategically plan a place need to understand how to implement the vision. Or, simply put – need to know how to build what needs to be built. This involves a plethora of skills and understanding of the built environment, such as the repercussions of maintenance and longevity of something that will potentially have a role to play for many years to come.


As a consultancy that was first known for delivering public art strategies and artworks – we have been doing some amazingly diverse projects such as, Landscape Masterplans, Place Plans, Place Activation Plans, and Urban Design Frameworks. It’s not that this is any secret – it’s just that we’ve been busy doing – not talking – not telling our stories. Now is a pivotal moment in our collective histories. We want to start sharing what we’ve learnt and discovered over these past 20 odd years because we think it’s timely. And we know there are people that want to hear and benefit from what we have to say.


ARTSCAPE is a reflection of what the concept of place has become, and where it is heading. As an all encompassing organisation, we are looking forward to what the next chapters entail – and there will be many. But like the first almost 20 – we look forward to maintaining our youthful and adaptable outlook.

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