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Palette of Urban Green by HY William Chan

Linda Cheng meets young Sydney designer HY William Chan, whose installation at this year’s Vivid looked at issues surrounding urban development.

Palette of Urban Green by HY William Chan


June 12th, 2012

For the 4th year running, the Vivid Sydney festival cast spectacular lighting projections on some of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks. With its many artistic installations and performances around Circular Quay, the festival literally illuminated on the city’s rich and diverse creativity.

This year, one project lit up with a different spectrum. HY William Chan’s Palette of Urban Green explored contemporary issues of urban development, building for a better urban environment whilst at the same time respecting the ecological system.


Chan, a student architect at HASSELL, is completing his Honours dissertation in architecture at the University of Sydney and is passionate about sustainability.


He’s participated in 2 travelling studios, working in the slums of South Africa and India, and has seen first-hand the effect urbanisation has had on the natural environment.

“The issue is no different in the developed world,” says Chan. “So for me, the key message was to address the issue of sustainable urbanisation in our cities, especially in Sydney.”

“A project such as this encourages a deeper understanding of the importance of design and its critical role in the evolution of our cities,” says Matthew Pullinger, President of the Australian Institute of Architects, NSW Chapter, who along with the Green Building Council of Australia is supporting this project.


Located in the small park opposite the new MCA Mordant Wing, the site specific project consisted of 125 timber pallets arranged into 5 towers, each pallet twisting at 6 degrees.

Illuminated with LED strip lights which turned on and off in response to movement, the installation came alive and encouraged visitors to engage with it.

The towers were on the one hand reminiscent of trees with dappled sunlight through their canopies, and on the other hand, a representation of city office towers illuminated at night from within.

This dichotomy delved into “the turbulent relationship between the natural and the built environments,” says Chan.


Photography courtesy of Isaac Leung

Vivid Sydney

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