Photography: Guy Robinson
Photography: Guy Robinson


The Terrace
Underpass link tunnel
Woodward Street
New Zealand

Essence was a site-specific, temporary, public artwork – by a multi-disciplinary design team – comprising a pattern of salt tiles laid the length of a pedestrian tunnel. For the three hours of the installation's life, the tunnel became a performance space for those passing through it. It was intended that early morning commuters experience social intercourse, chance encounters, etiquette, and awareness of their surroundings and each other as they negotiated a route through the salt tile pattern.

The project's aim was to confirm community, the fundamental element that underpins human existence in urban living. It was also a response to the local geography and history of Wellington, reflecting the interplay and negotiation between the city's natural and built environment. The salt was a metaphor for life's balance and a reminder of the city's relationship with the sea.