Part of a series of posts by Neil Cownie on Featuring Artists

When designing the Roscommon House, my clients expressed an interest in the house being suitable to accumulate artworks and sculpture over time. This led to the house being connected to many Perth based artists, not only being on the walls, but in places embedded into the house.

An axial point between the front entry and an end stop of sculpture became pivotal in pulling together the progression through the house. The ‘end stop’ became a ‘sculpture garden’ where a sculpture would be located in a garden setting.

I was familiar with the work of Perth sculptor Peter Zappa, whose work I introduced to my clients. They too soon appreciated Peter’s work which led to Peter being commissioned to produce a custom sculpture that related to the house. And so the journey began.

Peter commenced work on sketching various ideas, there was no hurry to finalise the concept as the house itself remained under construction. Peter and I had numerous meetings, on site in Peter’s workshop, and in my office as the ideas were teased out.

The finished work needed to be bold enough on entry that it was obvious, and then detailed enough so that on close inspection there was more to discover. Peter entertained all sorts of ideas before a final concept that spoke of the modernist history of the suburb as does the house. We discussed our mutual love of the work of Calder and Giacommetti whom we both believed their work fitted with the ethos of the house.

Peter brought the knowledge of his previously completed kinetic works to the concept; with the movement of the sculpture adding a dynamic element.

It was such a privilege to have experience the entire journey form finding the right artist to seeing the final concept so appropriate for the family and this new house come together. The final concept represents the playfulness of children under the watchful eye of a parent. The parent allowing the children to experiment while protecting from a safe distance.

The concept was influenced along the way by the work of Giacometti, Marino Marini and Calder.

The sculpture wonderfully reflects the same aspiration of the design of the house itself; to reference the history of the suburb while remaining forward looking. The sculpture connects to the house itself via the use of the materials of the house: aged brass and wrought iron where beauty is sought from imperfection.

With the final work now installed it is just a matter of re-establishing the surrounding landscaping to embed the sculpture with the house. The dynamic nature of the sculpture rotating gently in the wind adds unexpected delight.

Photo Credits

  • 1 & 2 Photos by Peter Zappa.
  • 3 – 6 Photos by Neil Cownie.
  • 7 – 9 Drawings by Peter Zappa.
  • 10 Drawing by Neil Cownie.
  • 11 Photo by Ruby Cownie.
  • 12 – 14 Photos by Peter Zappa.
  • 15 – 16 Photos by owners.

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