Sydney’s iconic Cockatoo Island has been reinvigorated by COFA design students as part of the Sydney Architecture Festival.

Third year Bachelor of Design and Bachelor of Design/Art Education students have creatively reinterpreted aspects of the island for the exhibition, Cockatoo Island: An Island not too far away, combining their skills in ceramics, environments, graphics, jewellery and textiles.

Project coordinator Dr Mark Jones hopes the project will help promote the rejuvenation of Cockatoo Island.

“The island is a popular arts venue, but it is difficult to access and often sits idly with no activity. The intent of the project was to enliven the island not just for festivals but permanently,” Dr Jones says.  

Students were required to consider the history and heritage of the island and the Leichhardt Council Community and Culture Plan in developing the concept.

Resurrected Ruminations by Nicola Wilson is a site-specific outdoor installation for the Cockatoo Island guard house which explores the amphibian labyrinthodont fossil found in the island’s sandstone in the 19th century. The installation is a series of large glass domes concealing a hand-cast resin replica of labyrinthodont teeth, skin and spine within a hollow wax form. The sun slowly melts the wax, mimicking the fossilisation process.

Kaliopi Korkidas’ ANNEX is a textile-based project that references the geometric shapes of the island’s built environment and the oysters that grow on its shores. The fashion and jewellery range is comprised of digitally-printed neoprene; a textile traditionally used for wetsuits, which connects the designs with the island’s marine location.

“There was a wide range of responses from students including; lookouts, restaurants, therapeutic spas and arts spaces. One student proposed repurposing the Sydney Monorail to link the island with the mainland,” said Dr Jones.

From the 155 students enrolled in the design program, only 50 schemes were selected for the exhibition.

Dr Jones said the project encouraged sustainability by considering re-purposing existing spaces before building new ones.

Integrated Project - Cockatoo Island: An Island not too far away is on exhibition at Tusculum House, Potts Point as part of the 2012 Sydney Architecture Festival.

Media contact: Fran Strachan, UNSW Media Office, 02 9385 8732