Optic Garden / 26’10 south Architects and Maja Marx

© John Hodgkiss

The Optic Garden functions as a sculpture on a traffic island celebrating the 2010 World Cup and marking one of the major routes to the inner-city match venues. The project was commissioned by the Development Agency as part of a citywide public art program leading up to the 2010 World Cup.

Be sure to take a look at the video, drawings, and photographs following the break.

Architects: 26’10 south Architects
Project Team: Anne Graupner, Thorsten Deckler, Stephen Reid, Carl Jacobs, Sue Groenewald
Artist: Maja Marx
Photographs: John Hodgkiss

© John Hodgkiss

The standard chevron sign is used as ‘drawing material’ with 195 signs ‘planted’ to form an optic mass measuring 30m x 6m in plan. Red and white patterning associated with the traffic signs is adapted to outline an iconic image, visible from the exact point of perspective of a driver approaching Johannesburg.

As one rounds a bend in the approach road, the field of signs converges and aligns to reveal the outlines of a soccer playing field. Upon passing, the image fragments back into the individual signs – alluding to the temporary nature of sports events and their potential to bring people together. At night the lights of approaching cars and taxis highlight and animate the reflective surfaces effectively doing away with the need for additional artificial lighting.

sign layout

View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Optic Garden / 26’10 south Architects and Maja Marx" 08 Dec 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=94005>
  • matador


  • Cephas

    Drove past it a number of times, Weird feeling, good optical illusion… a bit distracting though, could indirectly cause accident as one stares at it.