Rival Channels

Rival Channels is an entrance wall relief designed in Kimberley Sandstone for the entrance to Daisho’s 180 Brisbane development.


It uses innovative letter design and carving techniques to create a wall of letters that evokes turbulent flow. Three scales of letters spell out the different meanings of current – in water, in history and in design. The words for Rival Channels are a poem about the Brisbane River’s sense of place. They evoke the spirit of the flowing water – they put into words the current of memory that connects the present to the past, and both to the future.

Poems work with the particular; they animate abstract ideas by embodying them in an image. The words for Rival Channels are ‘spoken’ by a bird. Lewin’s Rail is a species of water edge dwelling bird whose presence is recognized as a sign of a healthy ecosystem. The Rail has a haunting call; it is very rarely seen. It is a metaphor for spirit of place.

The concept for the work is inspired by the unique ‘marble cake’ quality of the Kimberley sandstone employed in its manufacture. The swirling depths of this stone suggest that the surface of the work is a lense through which one can see into the flowing depths; there strange water-warped letters seem to reconfigure sense.

As a text-based work that treats typography as a sculptural object, Rival Channels is unique in the Brisbane public art landscape. It marries Japanese finesse and European baroque exuberance to a distinctively Australian interest in place-making to produce a work that is site-specific and sophisticated, community oriented and cosmopolitan.