A $260,000 mirror sculpture has been hung between two buildings in central Auckland to reflect the area's architectural heritage.
The circular 2.4-metre-diameter artwork was unveiled today between "two notable 1925 heritage buildings" in O'Connell St, the Royal Exchange Assurance Building and Administrator House.
Karekare artist Catherine Griffiths said she originally conceived the work in 2012 as part of a sequence along the full length of O'Connell St, in response to an Auckland Council call for artistic proposals for the newly renovated street.
The council later narrowed the proposal to an artwork at the junction of O'Connell St and Vulcan Lane, which would have drawn people up Vulcan Lane. But building owners there did not want the work on their buildings.
"So it moved up and down the street," Griffiths said.
"Then one day I might have suggested I could come along to meetings, and one day they brought me into a meeting with these two building owners, and I think that's where it resonated."
Griffiths has written that the work, Light Weight O, "brings to attention the sky, framed by the built environment, and the earth beneath".
"I wanted to use the natural and available light that existed in the city, and if we went with a mirror then that takes on reflected light, sunlight, moonlight and lights in buildings," she said.
When the work was finally hung, she said, a "wonderful surprise" was that the brass back of the mirror also reflected the sunlight in "a really warm glow of light across the pavement".
She said the original budget for the work was $80,000 and her own fee was "not anywhere near that". She did not know how the cost had escalated to $260,000.
The work was funded through the regional public art budget and the city centre targeted rate. The council's capital budget for public art works this year is $2.1 million.