How can art and engineering create meaning in our lives?

Veronica Nolan and Matt Tobin | 19 June 2019 | 23:23


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Show notes

Throughout history, public art has played a vital role in communicating our culture and heritage, as well as representing our future.

In 1889, the Eiffel Tower took pride of place in central Paris to mark the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. Designed by a structural engineer, it has come to symbolise the liberty, equality and fraternity of France, and attracts more visitors than any other paid tourist attraction in the world.

Almost 100 years later, Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc, a 120-foot long unfinished plate of rust-covered steel, was erected in Manhattan. Polarising supporters, who viewed it as an important sculptural work, and critics, who perceived it as ugly, it was removed, never to be publicly displayed again.

Either way, public art creates a conversation and adds a deeper meaning to our lives. So, why does public art often take a back seat in modern design, and does it have a more significant role to play? And how can engineers contribute to a greater focus on art in design to communicate ideas and add meaning?

In this episode of Engineering Reimagined, Aurecon’s Design to Innovate Partner Veronica Nolan and Urban Art Projects’ Managing Director Matt Tobin, explore the value of public art and what role engineers can play in helping it to become a reality. We also discuss how design-led innovation transforms the artist’s medium, and the potential of STEAM education to improve the way different disciplines work together.

Listen to find out how art and engineering work together to memoralise the past, communicate our present and shape our future.

Meet our guest and host

Learn more about Veronica Nolan and Matt Tobin.

Veronica Nolan

Veronica Nolan

Design to Innovate Partner, Aurecon

“When we talk about human-centric design, it seems to me that perhaps that's where art has a strong presence”

Veronica is Design to Innovate Partner at Aurecon. She collaborates with clients to address complex issues and co-design the future.

Her work in strategic planning and experience design is infused by design thinking and artistic inquiry – and is the basis of her current doctoral research into how the arts are being engaged in businesses to enrich and transform people’s experiences.

Follow Veronica on LinkedIn:

Matt Tobin

Matt Tobin

Managing Director, UAP Group

“Art layers over a sense of culture and story, and I think art allows people to talk about a space and reflect on the space and talk about themselves”

Matt is the Managing Director for Urban Art Projects (UAP). He best describes his team as explorers, creatives and makers who curate, design and construct. They collaborate with artists, architects, designers and developers to bring uncommon creativity to the public realm. Matt, with his brother, Daniel, originally established UAP as ‘Urban Artists’ in 1993. Twenty-six years later UAP now has studios in New York and Shanghai and has executed commissions of large-scale public installations globally, working with leading artists, architects and designers.

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