Parramatta laneway provides an escape from city life

ECO-minded artist Simon Cook is putting a green spin on urban street art. 

Cook has transformed a dull laneway in Darcy Street, Parramatta into a natural environment which includes a matrix of ladders planted with local indigenous grass and herbs. 

The Granville artist used his background in industrial and graphic design, as well as indigenous landscape restoration, to design the art installation called Vorsprungarten.

‘‘A lot of landscapes are going vertically now with buildings,’’ Cook said.

‘‘It’s about refreshing Parramatta’s streets and laneways.’’

The aim of the installation is to sustain a micro-climate which will create cool air, filter pollutants, produce oxygen and provide a habitat so rare species can return to the city.

‘‘There is a theory that when you create habitat, it can be welcoming for rarer animals that the city does not host like insects and other things,’’ Cook said.

‘‘We do hope to support insectivorous bats and they live in little gaps and cracks, and fly around at night.

‘‘They are everywhere except in the city.’’ 

To add to the ambience, the lane sends different soothing sounds such as animal calls, industrial sounds and music by artists from its biodiverse centre to enrich a visitor’s experience.

Cook said the refreshed laneway provided a sanctuary for residents and visitors from the hustle and bustle. 

‘‘It’s a form of escapism,’’ he said.

‘‘A moment of change from the normal dry city.’’

Vorsprungarten is part of Pop Up Parramatta and it’s open to the public from today, March 14, at 6pm.

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