Thursday, February 23, 2012

Marina Bay Public Art Trail

Art is no longer appealing to just art enthusiasts only. It seems that now art can really capture everyone's attention if done right. Artworks are displayed almost everywhere. Nearly every public place will have artworks integrated within the buildings themselves. Even MRT stations have artworks now. In today's article, I'm going to show you the various artworks that can be found around the Marina Bay area. Marina Bay is Singapore's latest lifestyle attraction. Currently, you can find world class destinations such as the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort, Esplanade theatres, Merlion Park and the Marina Bay floating platform

So, I decided to go for a public art walking trail around with the help of this brochure which tells me more about the given artworks and what the artists are trying to represent with their artworks. It's this red brochure you can get for free at the Marina Bay City Gallery which is nearby. An online version is available too. Here it is:

The first one is called Rain Oculus by an artist named Ned Kahn at the back of The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.. This artwork is actually fully functional. It looks like a large glass bowl with a hole in the middle. When it rains, water will go around like a whirlpool and get sucked into the hole which creates a nice water effect. Personally, I have not seen that happen before since I don't bother coming here when it rains. Some people also throw coins into the bowl much like a wishing well. If you're wondering, water will get sucked in creating a dynamic skylight effect and it also provides extra water for the canal which is where the sampan rides take place. It's creative and it's genius.

The next artwork is located at the entrance of the mall right above the taxi stand of the mall. The name's quite long. It's called the Blue Reflection Facade with Light Entry Passage by James Carpenter. Basically they're blue pieces of glass that will form reflections. According to the brochure, the artwork is trying to capture a sense of the sky. Pretty neat.

Another popular artwork made by Ned Kahn. Titled as Wind Arbor, this artwork is made entirely out of metal flaps that will flap when there's wind to create a water current effect. So from far away it looks a bit like water but no they are just metallic flaps. Just like his earlier artwork, it's simple yet stunning and it really captured a lot of people's attention. I like how he is thinking. It'll also reflect light so the artwork will be much more shiny and realistic. This one is located right in front of the Marina Bay Sands hotel tower which is directly opposite the mall.

Walk right in front and pass by The Helix bridge, which looks like a giant DNA, and you'll come across the Youth Olympic Park. This park was built to commemorate Singapore's success for the host country of the very first Youth Olympic Games which happened in August 2010. Right here, you get to see various artworks created by local students and professional artists with the main theme being the Youth Olympic Games. I especially like this one with the man on top of this 'mountain'. Also, if you look closely at the bottom of the picture, there is a bronze statue of a man preparing to run. This park is located near The Helix Bridge and located at the junction of Temasek Ave and Raffles Ave.

Walk along Raffles Avenue, cross the road at the nearby traffic junction and you'll come across this interesting sculpture/fountain at the front of the Marina Mandarin Hotel. The sculpture's titled Fleur Maritime and it's made by Antoine Poncet. In English, it's titled as marine flower since it's facing the sea and located right on reclaimed land. Yes, this place is built on reclaimed land. Want to know more? Check out my Marina Centre article here. I like how the water's spewing out of the sculpture and it gives a nice effect. The sculpture looks welcoming especially for the guests entering the hotel.

There were actually some sculptures I skipped since I can't really find them. So I took a detour and checked out the rest of the sculptures which were much easier to access and check out. This one's located in front of Millenia Walk and it's called Singapore Brushstrokes. Created by Roy Lichtenstein, the location is also named after the artist. (Roy Lichtenstein Sculpture Square). It features large sculptures made to look like brushstrokes. They all have different colours, shapes and sizes. One sculpture is already bigger than the average human.

Also located near Millenia Walk, or specifically, Millenia Walk Monument Square, is this interesting artwork called Soaring Helix made by sculptor Philip Johnson. It may look like the sculpture itself keeps turning and turning but it's not. It's static. The sculpture is actually 18 metres and made out of identical white marbles stacked on top of each other. It's not like stacking books. Instead, the sculptor rotated each and every marble to give an impression that the sculpture keeps on turning. Pretty creative. Maybe I should stack my books like that.

For this particular sculpture, I'm pretty sure a lot of you are familiar with it. It's called the Fountain Of Wealth. This sculpture also takes the cake for being one of the largest fountains in the world. It is said to represent the palm of the hand. The hand being the Suntec City area. It's also said that the fountain guarantees the retention of wealth. To find out more about this, check out my Marina Centre article here. The fountain of wealth is located in the middle of the Marina Centre area and it's accessible by the Suntec City basement.

This sculpture, located at the junction of Raffles Boulevard and Temasek Boulevard just right outside the Suntec Convention Centre is titled Abundance 3. Made by Sun Yu Li, the artist made this to represent that a circle is a perfect shape which has no beginning and no end. Simple yet complicated. I like how it looks. I guess the artist's description fits the bill for this sculpture.

From the previous sculpture to this sculpture, it's pretty hard to get here though you can follow the directions on the map provided. Anyway, this sculpture is titled Water Cycle 2000 made by Jonathan E Minns which is located at One Raffles Link right above CityLink Mall. It's fully functional and it's a water cycle. Water actually goes up, around and back down. It's actually made according to Feng Shui principles. According to the sculptor, the flow of the water means that abundant wealth will flow into the area. I'm not sure if this can be considered a fountain though.

This sculpture looks simple but yet it has an interesting meaning. Created by artist Han Sai Por, the sculpture is meant to represent the creativity and the arts that are being sown into the Esplanade Theatres since the Esplanade is a place for creativity and the arts. Like I said, it may look simple but is has a very deep meaning. You can find this sculpture at the Esplanade near the outdoor theatre.

Sorry if it looks small. This piece of artwork even though it's part of the Marina Bay Public Art Trail, it's located in the Central Business District in Raffles Place. It's called Momentum made by David Gerstein. Located at the junction of Finlayson Green with high rise office towers in the background, the sculptor made this to represent Singapore's high energy and cycles of progress. The sculpture pays tribute to the past and present generations of Singaporeans. You can actually see that it looks like people holding hands going around. This sculpture certainly adds a bit of colour to the business district. Cross the street if you want to take a closer look.

After checking out the Momentum sculpture, you'll come across this interesting pieces right outside the NTUC building also known as One Marina Boulevard. Made by the same sculptor who made the Seed Series sculpture found outside Esplanade, Han Sai Por, the artwork is titled Progressive Flows. The sculptures contain six granite blocks sculpted into waves and people can actually just sit and rest on them. That's something you can't do to other sculptures. In fact, I didn't even know you can actually sit on them. Although it won't actually be comfortable. Anyways, the sculpture's looking great and it's a great addition to the office tower.

We're almost at the end of the trail. This isn't a sculpture and it's not part of the Public Art Trail. Actually, this thing is a shelter which doubles up as a fan. So if you're feeling warm, just stand underneath and the the fan will switch on automatically cooling you down in an instant. Innovation at its best. Plus, there's a solar panel which is used to power up the fan. Just in case you're wondering, the fan actually has a motion sensor to detect if someone stands underneath it. Once it detects someone, the fan will automatically switch on. This should be installed at all parks. It can't be that expensive right? What do you think?

Last sculpture would be this one which is right in front of the Marina Bay City Gallery otherwise known as the start and end point of the Public Art Trail. It's called A World United made by Huang Yifan which is located at the Waterfront Promenade. The artwork represents the spirit of sports through the depiction of sportsmen participating in the Youth Olympic Games that happened in August 2010. You can see the unity which is represented in the sculpture. The sculpture is not fully black and the side of it is actually red. I like the way the sculptor represents the Youth Olympic Games.

These three elephant sculptures are not a part of the Public Art Trail. They're actually temporary art installations and it's an art project called Elephant Parade. The sculptures are trying to give a message to help save the elephants. You can find out more about Elephant Parade in my Orchard Road Light Up article here. Each and every elephant have different appearances and they appear at random spots such as the Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade, the Esplanade and Orchard Road. Unfortunately, the sculptures are no longer there as they're undergoing auctioning.

Another sculpture which isn't a part of the Public Art Trail is this raging bull sculpture located outside the Merrill Lynch Wealth Management building. It's a symbol of Merrill Lynch. I don't actually know what it's trying to represent though. If you know, let me know. 

The Marina Bay Public Art Trail is certainly an interesting walking trail especially for art fanatics or for those who just want to take an interesting walk. There are a total of 20 sculptures when walking along the trail. I didn't actually view all 20 of them as some of them were hard to find. Anyway, the total distance of the walking trail is 6km and will take a total of 1 hr and 15 min. 

If you don't fancy art, there are plenty of walking trails available. Just pick up a brochure at the Marina Bay City Gallery. Some of them are shorter and some of them are longer. Just pick one to your liking. These walking trails are a budget way to experience the new Marina Bay area so wear your walking shoes and get walking. Marina Bay City Gallery is the starting and ending point of all the walking trails. Find out more about the Marina Bay City Gallery here.

Comment Question: Sculptures are all the rage now. What's your favourite sculpture in Singapore and why?

Bus services available: 97, 97e (Bus stop along Marina Boulevard opp. Marina Bay Financial Centre)
Nearest MRT Station: CE1 Bayfront MRT Station (Circle Line)

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