Urban Mirror Sculpture Unveile...


Urban Mirror Sculpture Unveiled On Cornmarket St As Part Of Island City's Urban Sculpture Trail 

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RedFM News

12:26 31 Oct 2023

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Island City, Cork’s Urban Sculpture Trail is continuing to expand with the unveiling of a fourth sculpture - Urban Mirror on Cornmarket Street (Coal Quay) by plattenbaustudio. Designed by architects Jennifer O’Donnell and Jonathan Janssens and fabricated by Sara Murphy and Frank Prendergast of Space Forms Ltd. Urban Mirror is a large table with an atmospheric light that will provide a sculptural pavilion in a cultural corner of the city centre.

Urban Mirror, which is intended to be a space used by the public, was inspired by the Cornmarket Street Market which takes place every Saturday morning from 10am-12pm. Made of durable and playful stainless steel, it has 16 fixed chairs and can seat up to 50 people. The yellow globe also provides a warming glow when the sun sets.

Urban Mirror is part of a unique cultural trail of five contemporary sculptures popping up around Cork City this year with the aim of bringing art into the everyday life of the city. The first three sculptures, Sentinels on Carey’s Lane, Boom Nouveau on Cook St, and The Face Cup on the corner of Princes St and Oliver Plunkett St were installed in recent months. Island City is a Cork City Council project 100% funded by Fáilte Ireland under the Urban Animation Scheme.

Jennifer O’Donnell, co-founder of plattenbaustudio, said “We were really inspired by how people interact with everyday things and the cultural environment of Coal Quay. We spoke to people who both live and work in the area and what shone through is how invested they are in their community. Cornmarket Street, or Coal Quay as many still know it, is lively and the people are animated so we wanted to create a space for people to come together. We had the idea of an everyday table that we could elevate.

The freeform table, which can accommodate up to 50 people, works with the slope of the site  so that the majority of the piece is at standard sitting height, while at one side children can easily sit on a low chair, and at the opposite end an adult can lean at counter height. We’ve designed the rounded edges to weave in and out so that small groups of people can create their own corners and it also allows wheelchairs, mobility scooters and buggies to fit comfortably at the table. We want people to use Urban Mirror as a place to come together to talk, to eat, to play and to interact.

We used stainless steel as the main material for its durable and elegant qualities. Its reflective nature will also light the square on a bright day. The elevated meteorite ball is inspired by the zebra crossing lights. As the sun sets it will light up, giving a warm glow to the area.

We see ourselves as architects in an art world. This is the largest public project that we’ve done to date and we are indebted to Cork City Council for the opportunity.”

The Irish architects, who are based in Berlin, have a strong connection with Cork. They have given workshops at the Cork Centre for Architectural Education (CCAE) in UCC, and recently presented a large-scale drawing of James Joyce that was part of the ‘A Line Around an Idea’ exhibition in The Glucksman last year.

Next year there are plans for plattenbaustudio to exhibit a replica Urban Mirror in Cologne , one of Cork’s twinned cities, as part of the Ireland in Germany 2024 Initiative from Culture Ireland and the DFA.

Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Kieran McCarthy, said, "I’m delighted to see Urban Mirror unveiled in the heart of the historic Cornmarket St where it will be an integral part of a bustling area - long established as a gathering space for locals, urban explorers and visitors. It’s a great example of how we can create art in everyday things and give people the opportunity to use art in their everyday lives, be it to sit and have a coffee, or take a rest, or play games. We are very grateful to  Fáilte Ireland for their continued support in bringing art to life in our city.” 

Michelle Carew, Arts Officer, Cork City Council, said, “We are delighted to see Island City - Cork City’s Urban Sculpture Trail grow with this fourth installation. It will be a focal point for local people, visitors, market traders and local businesses and will bring people together to savour this historic area of Cork City. We can’t wait to unveil the final sculpture on the trail next month which has been chosen from an Open Call process.” 

Island City, Cork’s Urban Sculpture Trail is a Cork City Council project funded by Fáilte Ireland under the Urban Animation Scheme, with commissioning support by National Sculpture Factory.

To learn more about Island City, go to or follow @IslandCityCorkSculpture on Instagram.

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