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OPTIC GARDEN

The Optic Garden functions as a sculpture on a traffic island celebrating the 2010 World Cup and marking one of the major routes to the inner-city match venues.


The project was commission by the Johannesburg Development Agency as part of a citywide public art programme in the lead-up to the 2010 World Cup. The standard chevron sign is used as ‘drawing material’ with 195 signs ‘planted’ to form an optic mass measuring 30m x 6m in plan. Red and white patterning associated with the traffic signs is adapted to outline an iconic image, visible from the exact point of perspective of a driver approaching Johannesburg. As one rounds a bend in the approach road, the field of signs converges and aligns to reveal the outlines of a soccer playing field. Upon passing, the image fragments back into the individual signs - alluding to the temporary nature of sports events and their potential to bring people together. At night the lights of approaching cars and taxis highlight and animate the reflective surfaces effectively doing away with the need for additional artificial lighting.

Carried out in collaboration with artist Maja Marx

Project team: Anne Graupner, Thorsten Deckler, Stephen Reid, Carl Jacobs, Sue Groenewald

Featured in Architecture South Africa May/ June 2009

Photographed by John Hodgkiss

Video by Hugh Fraser