Shades of Green

Related to City Art
Installed 2013
Six chimneys in a grassy field, painted with large colour blocks of different shades of natural green.

An artwork that’s part machine, part plant or part chimney and part sky.

Artist: Sonia van de Haar

Artwork description

Shades of Green is a fun yet functional artwork created as part of the upgrade to the public swimming pool in Prince Alfred Park in 2013.

The work consists of wide bands of colour painted on 6 chimneys. It is intended to be noticed in passing, rather than a destination for park and pool users.

The chimneys stand tall above the grassy berm that covers the pool buildings and hides the pool from the street beyond, in a cluster that deliberately echoes a stand of trees. Their design is one of several features, or ‘follies’ intended to bestow a fun, playful character to the pool precinct, while at the same time providing ventilation to the rooms below.

The colours of Shades of Green reflect those of the landscape around the chimneys – the greens of the trees and grasses, and the bright blue of the summer sky and the water in the hidden pool beyond. Meanwhile, the chimney bases are painted metallic silver, acknowledging their industrial function.

The artist, Sonia van de Haar, describes the chimneys as “serious and functional creatures who have dressed up for an outing”.

“The art here is the art of the double act – of mimicry and diversion, of appearing and disappearing, of being part of a building and part of a landscape, of being part machine and part plant, or part chimney and part sky.”

– Sonia van de Haar


Sonia van de Haar was born in Wollongong, NSW. She studied painting at the Canberra Institute of the Arts, ANU, architecture at the University of NSW, and fresco painting at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India.

Van de Haar works between colour, architecture and art. She has undertaken a broad range of projects, from architecture and colour consultancies to large scale public art and infrastructure projects, in Australia and the UK.

Her specialisation and approach to colour in the built environment has resulted in ongoing relationships with some of Sydney’s leading architecture and design firms, and to multiple awards.

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