Mangrove Pod, Mackay Bluewater Quay, Fiona Foley

The Mackay Bluewater Trail is an initiative of the Mackay Regional Council, creating a 19km ‘ring of activity’ around the city centre. Inclusive of the major developments of Bluewater Lagoon and Bluewater Quay, the trail extends to sites such as the wetlands at the mouth of the Pioneer River, down to Far Beach and around to the Botanic Gardens. The trail endeavours to enhance visitor experiences of the city, highlighting natural, cultural and historic features through facilities, activities and the integration of artworks.

A significant component of the project is the inclusion of world-class public art designed by leading public artist Fiona Foley. In collaboration with Urban Art Projects, Foley has developed 6 landmark artworks for the Bluewater Quay development. Drawing heavily on the site’s historical, cultural and natural context, Foley’s approach to public art encourages viewers to see the landscape differently or expand on their understanding of the site. The artworks include stacks of Sugar Cubes with inscriptions referencing South Sea Islander labour in local cane farms, the word “YUWI” in large red letters-the name of the region’s indigenous people, and a 9.5m weathered steel Mangrove Pod, enlarging a tiny element of the surrounding natural environment.

Fiona recently commented on the mangrove pod’s connection with her youth in Hervey Bay and experiencing the artwork in its completed form for the first time saying “The mangrove is a habitat that I have fond memories of. While living at Booral, Hervey Bay, my extended family would go out on to the mud flats and ‘hunt and gather’ oysters, periwinkles and mud crabs. For me it was also a treasure trove of collecting flotsam and jetsam washed up from high tides. I’d bring home turtle bones, dugong bones and various parts of mangrove seed-pods.  I am not a deeply religious person but when I first stood under the mangrove cap, with Matt Tobin, I felt like I was in a church.”

The Bluewater Quay is not only a significant infrastructure investment for Mackay, it will also become a destination that fosters local identity and a major draw card for visitors to the region.

Mackay Mangrove Pod Launch Event at Urban Art Projects

Mackay Daily Mercury | Welcome to our art street

Mackay Daily Mercury | Red Letter Day for Urban Art Project


CLIENT KAUST | Aramco International
LOCATION Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
ARTIST Daniel Tobin
DESIGN UAP Studio, Daniel Tobin, Matthew Tobin, Jamie Perrow
ARCHITECT Fairweather Proberts, Liam Proberts, Alex Eckersley
ENGINEER Robert Bird Group, Ross McDonald, Lance Barton
LIGHTING Norman Disney Young
YEAR 2009
DIMENSIONS Height 60m, Footprint 500m2

Urban Art Projects has completed a 60 metre high artwork, Al-Fanar (Beacon), the centre piece of a new US$7 billion world-class research institution for KAUST located at Thuwal Point, overlooking the Safaa Harbor and the Red Sea, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The inauguration of KAUST took place in late September 2009 when the Beacon was unveiled as part of a two day celebration. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud hosted more than 3,000 guests, including prominent Saudis, foreign leaders, and Nobel laureates.

Breakwater Beacon Reference Images

Al-Fanar was designed by Daniel Tobin, Principal of UAP. The striking structure creates a contemporary interpretation of a lighthouse and will act as a symbol for the university. UAP’s design draws inspiration from ancient Arabic maritime traditions, in-region artwork and architectural detailing, linking to the marine ecology of the Red Sea. Built in pre-cast concrete blocks, Al-Fanar’s complex structure is a collection of unique amorphous hexagonal sections stepping up out of the Red Sea into an elliptical spire. The reverential interior space—with the patterned skin of the atrium creating a dappled shaded effect—is designed for communal gatherings and includes an amphitheatre and reflection pond.


Al-Fanar is part of a major international arts program at KAUST to celebrate its vision for global collaboration and exchange. Curated by UAP, the primary focus of the program is to interpret and present interdisciplinary art and design that stimulates creativity and interaction, drawing inspiration from KAUST’s unique geography, science and technology-based research, language, text, regional histories and traditions.


Architecture Review | Breakwater Beacon, Saudi Arabia by UAP Design Studio

Arab News | Beacon shed light on art

World Architecture News | Beacon of US$7billion project revealed

InDesign Live | Australia’s Urban Art Projects latest work unveiled in Saudi Arabia

The Australian | Saudi Arabian uni unveils Australian artwork | Urban Art Projects completes 60 metre high “Breakwater Beacon” Artwork in Saudi Arabia

Architektum | UAP Designed Breakwater Beacon is Completed

UAP’s Breakwater Beacon–designed by Urban Art Projects’ Principal Daniel Tobin with Matthew Tobin and Jamie Perrow–at the KAUST Inauguration Ceremony on 23 September 2009 in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Watch the video of the KAUST Inauguration Ceremony Online:

Click “On Demand”, then select “KAUST Inauguration Ceremony Part II” to see the opening fireworks around the Breakwater Beacon.

Read more about UAP’s Breakwater Beacon and KAUST International Art Program



Rooftop Restaurant, Paris by Pascal and Laurent Grasso

The Inauguration Ceremony of KAUST will be broadcast live as a webcast on the KAUST Inauguration Web site.

It is scheduled to begin at 7:25 p.m. KSA time/4:25 p.m. GMT on 23 September 2009, 2:25am AEST on 24 September 2009.