Art & creativity  |  19 Dec 2019

Seven oversized dahlias will bloom in the central city this Christmas.

The LED-lit Dahlias lighting installation will sit opposite the Bus Interchange and the entertainment complex EntX.

Reaching up to six metres tall, the work is the brainchild of designers Andrew Veitch and Bevan Whiting from Sydenham-based sustainable lighting and furniture creator Frontal Lobe.

“One of the most beautiful spaces in our city is the dahlia beds in our Botanic Gardens,” they say.

“When they are in full bloom, they announce the arrival of summer and the fragrance of the neighbouring roses sweetens the air.”

Both designers believe that “artistic expressions are critical in giving a city soul”. 

“At the heart, there was the desire to create a space that would have a positive impact on people.”

The flowers – lit with pink and purple LEDs – have been crafted from recycled and sustainably sourced materials, supporting a reflective space designed to foster hope in the community.

Creating special spaces for all to enjoy is a key theme of the Central City Action Plan and Dahlias encourages people to pause and rest and reflect.

Council Head of Urban Design, Regeneration and Heritage Carolyn Ingles says Dahlias presents a bright, positive focus for an empty site.

Dahlias brings a unique and interesting installation to an unused space, lighting up the night and bringing vibrancy to the day,” Ms Ingles says.

The $60,000 cost of the artwork has come from the Christchurch City Council’s Enliven Places Programme budget, which supports temporary place-making projects to create attractive, fun and interesting spaces in the city centre.

The work was submitted to the programme’s Light up the City design competition earlier this year.

Although the submission didn’t meet the contest criteria regarding size, it still aligned with the overall objectives of creating a vibrant central city and contributing to a unique identity.

The lighting installation will take root for at least the next year on the privately owned site on the corner of Colombo Street and Lichfield Street and has an anticipated lifespan of at least 10 years, which will enable the Dahlias to light up other parts of the city.