Light Colour Humanity – The Alastair Swayn Legacy Showcase

  • 2023

  • Architectural
    Installation Design

Designed In:


The inaugural Alastair Swayn Showcase – Light Color Humanity is both a celebration of the career of Canberra Architect Alastair Swayn and also his legacy to support and promote design research through the Swayn Gallery of Australian Design .

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Image: John Gollings
Image: John Gollings
Image: John Gollings
Image: John Gollings
Image: John Gollings
Image: Ian Wong
Image: Ian Wong
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  • The design challenge was to respond to the theme Light Colour Humanity and develop a program to engage with the public during the Enlighten Festival in Canberra. The program developed responded to the theme by merging a celebration of Swayn’s architecture practice with photographic images from John Gollings, text by Professor Phillip Goad and research about Australian Design from Ian Wong. The program included a major public exhibition, a film, motion graphics, and an illuminated immersive outdoor AR experience. The major exhibition was at CMAG for three months and the AR experience was at Federation Centenary Fountains for Enlighten 2023.

  • Light, Colour, Humanity – The Legacy of Alastair Swayn focuses on these three words that Alastair Swayn himself chose to embody his practice. LIGHT: Photographic images taken by John Gollings, of significant projects by the late Canberra-based architect and designer, Alastair Swayn. COLOUR: Colour massed groupings of Australian designed products from the Ian Wong Collection. These objects reflect the rich palette that is highlighted through Golling’s engaging images. HUMANITY: Swayn’s architecture deeply considered the functional needs of all who inhabited the buildings. The objects selected represent the familiar, the everyday of life in Australia. The AR experience used durable glowing cubes.

  • The inaugural Light Colour Humanity - Alastair Swayn Legacy Showcase successfully launched what will be an annual showcase program from the Swayn Gallery of Australian Design. The AR experience with it's engaging glowing cubes and 'What am I?' riddles proved very successful during this years record breaking attendance for the Enlighten Festival. This digital solution was low impact for the environment and the glowing cubes will be reused for future projects. The exhibition was invited to launch a new gallery at CMAG and has been well attended and extremely popular. The exhibition has been invited to tour by the ASF.

  • The use of a pure geometric form represents a building, an architectural form, and the architectural practice of Alastair Swayn. Three perfect cubes are constructed from the cladding material specified by the architect on many significant projects in Canberra. The fourth structure made from fabric scrim represents Swayn’s passion for light-filled spaces. The contents of each cube are revealed through one of Swayn’s signature details the ‘porthole’. The brightly coloured portholes were commissioned as a collaboration with FINK & Co to honour the distinguished career of Canberra’s own Robert Foster. Design in Canberra is celebrated with original drawings and objects loaned from designers with a connection to Canberra.The Ian Wong Collection, comprising over 2500 objects, celebrates the innovation and creativity of Australian industrial design, and documents the practice of over 200 significant designers. The LIGHT, COLOUR, HUMANITY | AR experience is an installation at the Federation Centenary Fountains and at Canberra Museum + Gallery during the Enlighten Festival 2023.