Westpac Headquarters, Britomart Auckland
From the Resene Total Colour Awards gallery of entries
Max Patte Solo Exhibition, October 2014
Client: City & Jules / Westpac NZ
Venue: Westpac Headquarters, Britomart Auckland
Westpac wanted to create a ‘money-can’t-buy’ client hosting experience for their high-value customers.
City & Jules, an Auckland based event agency, presented successfully the idea to Westpac to convert an office environment – located on Level 9 of the Westpac building at Britomart – into a temporary exhibition space to showcase the curated works of Wellington-based artist Max Patte. This would be an exclusive preview event, before Patte’s exhibition opened to the general public.
Kuhla+ was invited by City & Jules to create an ‘exhibition without a gallery’ and take guests on an immersive journey – following the artist’s evolution from his early works, including Solace in the Wind (the iconic sculpture on the Wellington waterfront), through to his latest series of light works.
The design objective of the first solo- exhibition of Wellington-based artist Max Patté was to create an immersive experience that spatially and interactively staged and celebrated his work. This was achieved by communicating key aspects of the artist's practice – timelessness, the use of both traditional and state-of-the-art techniques, and the relationship between nature and abstraction.
The exhibition was defined in three main areas that displayed the artist work in chronological order from his early commissions to his recent works.
The setting was constructed from a limited range of prefabricated plywood materials (radiata plywood, black formply) that conversed with Pattéʼs work via materiality, texture and colour. Custom-built displays, seating, lighting and graphics were positioned to guide visitors through the artwork.
Every exhibit was provided with its own individual backdrop that reflected on its genesis, context, and the materials used. Important milestones in Patté's career were highlighted through ‘framed views’ that provided insights into his different working stages.
The golden feature wall in the entrance area, constructed by Kuhla+, presented an abstracted image of the artist sculpting a horse. It rests in the commissioned area as reminiscence on Patters practice and interlinks between his early and more recent works and changes depending on the position of the spectator to capture a moment in time.
Resene Colorwood stains, in Resene Emerald Green, Resene Walnut and Resene Raincloud, were selected for feature walls to enclose themed areas within abstracted landscapes and to reflect on the artist practice that is about treating a surface by exposing and celebrating the traces of work and process. This was overcoated in clear Resene Aquaclear.
The commissioned area that displayed Pattéʼs horse series was accentuated by an abstract ‘green’ natural colour theme where the horses seem to gallop on. Pattéʼs sculpture ‘Rest’ was leaning against a ‘whiskey/chocolate’ colour toned wall beside Eames ‘ La Chaise chair’ to enhance the expression of the sculpture (resting) and to emphasise the ‘ inward looking’ aspect of his early works. Pattéʼs recent works where framed in a neutral colour tone to complement and stage the colourful art works that celebrate ‘the joie de vivre in all facets’.
One of the biggest challenges that had to be overcome was creating an exhibition within the confines of an occupied office building – and not being able to fix anything to or from any surface of the space. A bespoke feature wall constructed by Kuhla+ in the entrance area showed an abstracted image of the artist at work. This changed depending on the position of the spectator, to capture a moment in time.
Guests were invited to download an interactive App, where they could listen to commentary on each of the artworks; as well audio sound bites from Stephen Fry and Sir Ian McKellen, two Max Patte collectors.
The food and beverage were designed to enhance the art viewing experience; with a clever combination of canapé ‘walk and folk dishes’, and five signature cocktails created especially for the event. Wait staff were dressed in oversize pastel-coloured shirts, to resemble one of the artist’s sculptures (Uniquely You).
Artist: Max Patte
Client: City & Jules
Master client: Westpac NZ Ltd
Construction manager: Tane Jarrett
Interior designer: Anet Kuhla, Kuhla+
Painting contractor: Clint Taniguchi
Photographer: Markus Hofko
Production and curation: Julia Barnes, Clint Taniguchi
Other key contributor – graphic design: John Kelleher
Other key contributor - lighting/audio specialist consultants