Paving Art Rundle Street
In 2006, Adelaide based artist Michelle Nikou was invited by City of Adelaide to design an artwork to be integrated into the upgrade of the Rundle Street paving. The artists’ response to the Artist Brief looked to create a public art work that was minimal in design that did not compete with the busy and popular elements and ambience already in Rundle Street. The aim of this seeming simplistic artwork is to ‘speak to’ the viewer through multiple layers of understanding and response. An essential aspect of the work is to give the viewer a sensation, surprise or feeling rather than satisfy a need for order and design through public art. The artists’ rationale for the numerous gold and silver coins was to pave the streets of Adelaide ‘with gold’. The daylight along Rundle Street in early morning and evening provides natural illumination that reflects off the gold coins especially well. The selection of coins (current and antique) represents as many countries as possible. The use of international currency acknowledges the cultural diversity within the street and is in part, a welcoming symbol for tourists and new residents of the City. The art work invokes curiosity, and images and memories of foreign places. The artist aimed for the artwork to make sense in small sections that you can see through the legs people congregating on the street, as well as the art work as a whole. The result of embedding a range of old and antique, national and international coins into the new paving has created an artwork that is unexpected in form and location. Of the over 1000 coins, 60% are predominantly Australian, with the remaining coins sourced from around the world. The majority of the coins are gold. The coins are spread randomly over 110 pavers – some pavers have numerous coins (looking like a handful of coins have been dropped from a pocket) and others just a few – the average number of coins per paver is 5 to 6 coins.