Student brings sustainable urbanisation to Vivid Sydney

1 June 2012

William Chan's 'Palette of Urban Green' uses environmentally-responsible timber pallets and LEDs.
William Chan's 'Palette of Urban Green' uses environmentally-responsible timber pallets and LEDs.

Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning student William Chan has built an impressive record during his four years with the faculty. Currently undertaking his honours year, William has been commended by the faculty as the recipient of two scholarships and the Convocation Medal. And this year William's work will be presented at Vivid Sydney, the largest lighting festival in the southern hemisphere.

William's passion for sustainability is evident. His installation in Vivid, Palette of Urban Green repurposes wooden pallets into gently twisting towers of light. The Australian Institute of Architects and the Green Building Council of Australia have both backed the sustainability credentials of William's installation: over 100 environmentally-responsible timber pallets and LEDs stretching the length of a rugby field form the cornerstone of William's innovative design.

William says that the need to address sustainable urbanisation is as urgent as ever.

"The global population recently surged to seven billion. Cities around the world are experiencing the effects of climate change, population density and energy consumption. Palette of Urban Green is a juxtaposition that encourages us to explore this relationship between the natural and the built environment," William said.

The materials in the installation are carefully chosen. The 'upcycled' building materials give a new lease-of-life on otherwise wasted products, while the energy-efficient LED lighting will be used for other projects once the installation is dismantled. William has used these limited materials responsibly to produce an unexpected and visually engaging effect.

"There are five individual light sculptures. They are scaled so that visitors are absorbed into the landscape within and surrounding the installation. The glow from the LEDs creates a mesmerising array of light and shadow," William said.

"Using high-frequency sensors, the light appears from and disappears around the twisted sculptures in response to movement."

Palette of Urban Green is a further demonstration of William's impressive commitment to sustainable architecture. William participated in the Copenhagen United Nations Climate Change Summit as an Australia-based youth member in 2009 and is a former Future Green Leader of the Green Building Council of Australia. He currently sits on the national council of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition and in 2010 was named one of Australia's 100 'Brightest Young Minds'.

The Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning is proud to endorse William and Palette of Urban Green in this year's Vivid festival. With its strong ethos of sustainability, William's work exemplifies the best traits fostered by the faculty's array of architectural and built-environment programs.

Palette of Urban Green is located at Barney and Bligh Reserve at Circular Quay West, opposite the International Passenger Terminal forecourt and next to the entry of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Lights will be switched on nightly at 6pm to midnight, from 25 May to 11 June 2012.

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Media enquiries: Kath Kenny, 0478 303 173, 02 9351 1584,