Hanover House is the subject of an ambitious makeover, with artist Atong Atem commissioned by STH BNK by Beulah to animate two facades of the building, as part of the property developer’s experiential event series BETA.

Atem’s artwork, titled Outside Living (2021) will feature paint and LED neons, drawing inspiration from her archive of colonial and vintage European wallpapers. Dramatic, large-scale illuminated neon flowers will overlay a painted wallpaper design across two facades of the 20m building in a vibrant transformation that encapsulates the artist’s vision of Melbourne’s past and future. 

Atem, an Ethiopian-born, Naarm/Melbourne-based artist, says that her work explores her relationship to Melbourne, Australia and beyond when forming the sense of belonging to a place.

“I’m interested in the relationships between people, our connection with the natural and built environments, and how this is interwoven with the visual signs and symbols that define our histories. With the work I have developed for Hanover House, I’m interested in the aesthetics of 1970s Australian homes and have chosen to reference the intimacy of those spaces by creating a wallpaper pattern reminiscent of late 20th-century living room walls,” she says.

“Wallpaper and fabric have featured prominently in my past work, with patterns overlapped and collaged together. They balance layers of complexity within the visual composition and weave diverse histories, cultural narratives and contemporary culture into the frame. I’ve done a lot of work with local flowers found on walks in my local area, taken home, scanned and captured as images, frozen as permanent depictions of the time and place in which I live.”

Futurecity Ltd are tasked with implementing the artwork onto Hanover House, with the brief to showcase Beulah’s commitment to sustainability, wellness and technology by incorporating low-VOC and low-energy consumption materials.

For Outdoor Living, Atong has paired wallpaper design with an overlay of LED lighting; whilst the wallpaper refers to interior spaces, the LED evokes the neon signs of a 20th-century cityscape lit with commercial designs.

“Neon has a long history in pop and conceptual art; using new LED technology enables a more sustainable way to evoke nostalgia for this classic neon imagery. This also speaks to a time when Hanover House was one of the tallest buildings in Southbank,” she says.

The BETA event series is designed to showcase international brands, revered artists and makers, immersive dining and much more over a six month period. BETA is designed to give Melburnians a feel for what can be expected as part of Beulah’s $2 billion-plus project, STH BNK By Beulah. Soon to be Australia’s tallest building, the tower will boast fully integrated vertical villages, drawing together leading figures in design and placemaking with pioneering creative collaborators.

STH BNK By Beulah will also support the transformation of the Melbourne Arts Precinct and will become a quintessential destination for the city’s 2.2 million international tourists and visitors.

To find out more regarding the STH BNK by Beulah project or the BETA event series, please visit sthbnk.com.

Image: Atong Atem / Supplied.