Opera Australia Blog

Carving a niche from nature at Opera on Sydney Harbour

By Bryce Hallett


Mengenan at Sculpture by the Sea

Cave Urban collective is hard at work incorporating their bamboo artistry into the site design of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour 2014.

The team of Sydney-based architects, sculptors and designers established their reputation as specialised bamboo craftspeople at the 2012 Sculpture by the Sea exhibition. Their People’s Choice Award-winning installation Mengenang literally sang to the hearts of Sydney audiences.

“When a gust of wind blew over the cliff it was one of those beautiful moments when art takes flight and sings,” says Cave Urban founder Nici Long. 222 bamboo poles, all tuned to D minor, chimed in the wind. Each pole represented an individual life that was lost in the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings.

Cave Urban’s work, founded on extensive research into the uses and sustainability of bamboo, will be evident throughout Mrs Macquaries Point. “We are making Japanese-inspired bamboo portals, flagpoles, lanterns, tables and benches,” says Long.


Cave Urban has been exploring the versatility, strength and “ephemeral” nature of bamboo for many years. “Our passion for the material knows no bounds and our ideas continually evolve,” says Long. “We’re engaging with artists and groups throughout the world and developing our own projects.”

The bamboo at Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour may not literally “sing” as it did at Sculpture by the Sea, but there’s little doubting it will add elegance and style to the harbour front wonderland.

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