Artist: Craig Redman, Karl Maier
Location: Sydney, Australia
Year of completion: 2012
Researcher: Kelly Carmichael

Parking garages are typically uninspiring, especially the underground type. Most often they are drab, grey, uniform in scale, shape and functionality, and sometimes a little creepy thanks to the low light and lack of sightlines. The underground car park work known as 72DP by designers and illustrators Craig Redman and Karl Maier, however, flips all this on its head. This work is an immersive mural created for the garage of a residence in Sydney, Australia. Bold geometric patterns and eye-popping colors begin in small waves upon entering the garage and, once inside the structure, it’s an explosion of bright, tropical hues.

Feeling more like a trendy bar or old-fashioned roller skating rink, 72DP makes an everyday thing extraordinary and creates an environment for more than just parking your car. This public artwork uses the floor, wall and ramp of a garage as its canvas to create an immersive mural that functions almost as an installation. Negating the boundary between wall and floor, color fields bleed over both and instead treat the whole environment as a space to reconfigure through tone and a bold graphic approach. Playing off the angularity of the residential building above ground, designed by Sydney-based firm Marsh Cashman Koolloos, the mural incorporates intense patterns and shapes that mirror and respond to the architecture as they gyrate through the space. Blisteringly colorful geometric forms seductively snake their way out to street level, connecting artwork and underground car park to its residential surroundings.

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Inside the subterranean car park a spectrum of colors radiate from a metal drainage cover while splices of green, red, and yellow breathe new life into a space, which, with little inlet of natural light, previously felt dark and heavy. The whole piece is tied together by a winding, ribbon-style device which, acting as a central axis, leads in from the driveway, through the space and out to the garden beyond. The resulting design is a dynamic and surreal mix of overlapping geometric forms more like an exploration of tropical Orphic Cubism than standard car parking facility. Intentionally creating an open-ended artwork, Redman and Maier have left some walls blank—albeit awash with color—with the intention that these spaces could potentially be used for additional, individually commissioned works in the future.

A sophisticated concept with simple execution, the large-scale mural draws on the defining architecture of the car park and adjacent residence and a negation of the traditional rending of car parking structures to create a public artwork that sings. The space is an everyday fantasia, a synesthetic feast where you can almost taste the color. 72DP offers more than parking, it offers a point of connection for users of the space. The mural becomes a talking point, creating connection between those normally separated behind a windscreen. The work forces an interaction with public space and its necessary infrastructure under very different terms, it offers an unexpected encounter, highlights the previously overlooked and creates an immersive and distinctive environment. 72DP certainly offers a new twist on not being able to find your car after a night out.

All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.

Progress Agency