It’s the ultimate in urban cool – street artists increasingly being brought in to bring a splash of colour and hip creativity to the canvas of new apartment developments.
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“It’s fun and playful and engaging,” says Aras Labutis of developers Coronation Property, who have just had a group of street artists illustrate the hoarding around one of their new sites, with elements of their work to be incorporated later into the building itself.

“We like to involve local artists in our projects and it can really create a point of difference. It does get people stopping and talking when they see the artwork, or the artists creating it, and makes it more noticeable, and exciting.”

Street artists are now being hired to bring their own vision to new apartment buildings all over Sydney, from this latest scheme Charlie Parker at Harris Park, to Parramatta, Bondi Beach and Liverpool.

As well as designing hoardings during construction, they then leave their mark in lobbies, up the outside of blocks, on walls inside and with sculptures and framed fragments of artworks hanging in corridors.

For buyers, it often creates a vibe of high street hip and makes a development stand out from others, while residents then say they love the personality the artists give their homes.

Christopher Skyner of Authority Creative, a company that curates the artworks and manages the projects, says it’s a growing trend. “Property developers are now starting to engage artists because it’s a cool thing to bring art and culture to apartments,” he says.

“They like to build culture-driven spaces and we’re finding a common response to having artwork at buildings is that people think it’s fantastic. What street art does is help people to lift their eyes up and really interact with their surroundings, ask more questions and ultimately engage.” Related: Deterring graffiti with street artRelated: Removing red tape for street artRelated: How street art affects property prices

The newest street art is around the site of Coronation Property’s upcoming Charlie Parker, a 22-storey, 111-apartment building by architects Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp, on the corner of Charles and Parkes streets in Harris Park.

Sydney artists Gillie and Marc created the half-man, half-elephant character Charlie Parker, and street artists Shannon Crees and Elliott ‘Numskull’ Routledge created a vibrant large-scale 80-metre-long painting to wrap the site in vivid blues, pinks and yellows.

“For this development, they really wanted to appeal to a younger target market and have a bit of creative flair,” says Ms Crees. “They wanted to keep these apartments affordable for that demographic and they were happy to think outside the square.

“We’re now seeing Sydney become much more part of a global movement of incorporating dynamic street art into developments, with the epicentre in London. Ultimately, it goes to show how much murals can reinvent the atmosphere of a space and for artists, some of whom might be struggling, it’s amazing to see their work in luxury apartments. For all of us, it’s incredibly exciting.”

The collaboration came about after Coronation Property’s Mr Labutis moved into a new unit building in Bondi, The Drift. Street artist Sid Tapia was painting a series of designs onto one of its outside walls, and had previously created an artwork on aluminium louvres at the back of the award-winning apartments Pacific Bondi Beach.

The developer then commissioned Mr Skyner to organise an artist for a “Welcome Home” mural at The Paper Mill at Liverpool, and afterwards for a “PS I love you” artwork at 8 Philip Street in Parramatta.

“We’ve had something different at each project, and it’s been great getting the concepts from each artist and then drawing the inspiration from them,” Mr Labutis says.

“Inviting street artists to collaborate on our property developments has been hugely beneficial for all involved, and it has helped to bring art to some areas that haven’t had so much, and to reshape public opinion of this sometimes undervalued art form.”

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