It’s 2013. Chinese President Xi Jinping popularises ‘the China Dream’, a Francis Bacon sells for a record-breaking $142m, and China is Australia's fastest-growing tourist market.


How do you reconceptualise Sydney for an international audience?


Australia on a world stage.

As the largest international art event in mainland China, the Shanghai Biennale attracts over 8 million visitors. The Sydney Pavilion’s theme was based upon the concept of The Floating Eye – an exploration of Sydney’s transformation, seen through the lens of changing demographics, environment, history, geography and society. Our challenge was to create a visual identity for the exhibition that would have stand-out and recognition among a multitude of other pavilions.


Designing without borders.

How do we convey the attributes and feelings of a place to those who don’t know it, and who don’t speak its local language? How do we share its sentiments in a visually meaningful way? With the Floating Eye pavilion, we toyed with language, using symbols-based shorthand to describe the key concepts of the exhibition. These, intertwined with a shifting graphical ‘eye’ – the lens of the viewer – allowed the identity to stand out and convey meaning, despite the language barrier.


Global recognition.

The Sydney Pavilion won multiple awards both nationally and internationally, including a D&AD In-Book, one Silver Pencil One Show award, and two One Show Merit awards. The identity also earned a Certificate of Typographic Excellence from the New York Type Director’s Club.