Collaborations with Nature

Tidal Cranes Docklands

Six towering tidal light cranes, freed of their industrial maritime duties, gesture dramatically as they guard the Dockland’s edge. Where land meets water, city meets harbour and past meets future, the cranes perform a twice daily translation of the tides. Powered by the tidal movements of Port Phillip Bay, the cranes translate and amplify the movements of the tide in a gradual transformation of form.


Like sentinels striking poses along the promenade, they stridently occupy their waterside territory. The artwork plays with the already anthropomorhic language of cranes to create six lively sculptural characters.


As the tide rises paired jib arms rise with it. At high tide the arms are high in the air and have slewed around to the axis of the intersecting streets. As the tide lowers the jibs also lower and gradually slew through 90 degrees to meet the axis of the boardwalk.


The daytime transformation of form is played out nocturnally as a transformation of space by light. Luminaires on the underside of the jibs create pools of light that increase, decrease and change position on the promenade as the jib arms change position in sync with the tide.