Launch of Rise at The Sharp Building

Launch of Rise at The Sharp Building

Winner of the Jim McNaughton Perpetual Award for Best Commissioning Practice at the Allianz Business to Arts Awards McGarrell Reilly Group has continued its tradition of incorporating artworks into new buildings during their construction phase with the beautiful sculpture ‘Rise’.

“We had a strong strategy for the open call to have global reach and be all-inclusive to national and international artists. Alva’s proposal was selected because it addressed the brief, it complemented the building; it was interesting, unique and undeniably beautiful to art experts and normal working and living people alike.” – Deirdre Reilly, investment director, McGarrell Reilly Group.

“Rise at The Sharp Building was the first time I have won an international open call commission for a high profile public site and was the realisation of my largest piece to date. The creation and development of this piece has led not only to a new body of work but my expansion into a new field of integrated installation work within the visual art world.” – Alva Gallagher, artist.

Last January, McGarrell Reilly Group unveiled a new piece of sculpture named ‘Rise’ by artist Alva Gallagher, which it had commissioned to enhance the new Sharp Building at Hogan Place in Dublin. The 6 metre, double-height glass and stainless steel sculpture is visible from both the interior and exterior of The Sharp Building, adding intrigue to the environment for staff, commuters and passers-by in the South Docklands area.

The Sharp Building is inspired by George Sharp RHA, who resided at Hogan Place during the 19th Century. The surrounding area is rich in heritage and was popular among architects and artists, including John Hogan, whom the street is named after.

The work of Sharp and Hogan captured the essence of the human spirit through studying the human form in portraiture and sculpture, respectively. Expanding on this, ‘Rise’ visually expresses the essence of our inner life force as a modern sculptural representation of our breath, rising through the building and signifying the evolving future of the city.

Gallagher worked alongside engineers and architects to integrate the delicate piece to exacting conditions within a unique and challenging space. Her detailed proposal with costs and the practicalities of installation all worked out – together with her impressive track record – gave McGarrell Reilly confidence that Gallagher would deliver the piece on time and on-budget.

Originally from the fishing village of Killybegs, Co Donegal, Gallagher’s work involves a continuous exploration of oceanic movements and elements. She mirrors the ferocity and serenity of the sea through the manipulation of her chosen mediums (glass and bronze) from their molten to solid states to explore concepts of depth and rhythm. Galllager has exhibited extensively in Dublin, London and the US.

Best practice process

In the early stages of the building design, McGarrell Reilly was adamant it needed a unique, site-specific art work and worked with Business to Arts to project manage a best practice process to commission a suitable piece. The building was being designed to be best-in-class internationally and McGarrell Reilly was keen that the artistic commission would emulate this.

A couple of months were spent planning the process before launching an international open call and artists were given a few weeks to submit their proposals. There were 27 submissions, of which 20 were from Ireland, two from the UK and one each from New York, Poland, France, Italy and Los Angeles. The judging panel was made up of people with different strengths and backgrounds, including an architect, an independent recognised artist, a Business to Arts representative and two McGarrell Reilly staff members.

Design by New Graphic.