"Sculpture Matrix" shortlisted for Ballyfermot Park

Sculpture Matrix

Sculpture Matrix, an outdoor community centre is a  partnership proposal between a park, a community and an artist.

Sculpture Matrix is a project proposal by artist, landscape architect and educator Sophie von Maltzan. The project will be funded through a Sculpture Dublin commission.

This project proposal responds to the brief as well as to an increased public consciousness of and interest in collaborative art, social sculpture, landscape and ecology. 

Sculpture Matrix is an artistic process with an innovative methodology in which outreach and participatory design, site specific sculptures, the park’s public realm, its landscape and ecology are woven together.

It is also a collaborative approach to develop site specific, meaningful, interactive and playful sculptures that will spatially frame the People’s Park. Folly- like sculptures will form a matrix  and make the park into an outdoor community centre and a local landmark. They will activate the park and encourage people of all ages to engage with the nature that surrounds the sculptures. The sculpture matrix will be developed when the currently underused typical suburban “greenspace” is transformed into the People’s Park Ballyfermot. 


Ballyfermot has plenty of nondescript open green spaces that offer grass and trees to relax, kick a ball or walk a dog. It also has Dublin’s only dedicated skate park, as well as playing pitches and conventional playgrounds. This means that the new People’s park does not need to cater for important outdoor amenities already in existence. Von Maltzan’s vision is to transform the park into an outdoor community centre through a matrix of sculptures that will have different multifaceted usages, for example they could be seating, play elements, exercising and bike stands. The usages and sculptures will be developed collaboratively through workshops with the community.


Within this process, the concepts of listening and exchange, exploring the existing site and developing sculptures with the stakeholders are set as the foundational methods for the project. 

As set out in the brief, the process is focused on defining a collaborative approach to explore new ways to animate the People’s Park through a matrix of multifaceted folly- like sculptures that the artist will create with the local community through a collaborative process.

The sculptures will encourage the park visitors to interact with them in various playful ways. They will create micro- spaces, giving the park a unique identity and atmosphere as an outdoor community centre. Instead of having different rooms the outdoor centre will have different “atmospheric places” informed by the sculptures. Visitors can read and use these places together or by themselves: but whether alone or in a group they will feel part of the greater community and public realm. 

The sculptures will be developed in collaboration with community groups after a first phase of social practice art workshops. During the first phase, social practice art workshops will encourage the community to explore the park spatially. The learning from that and other relevant aspects will be incorporated into the design of the final sculptures in the second phase. Through these workshops, the community and Sophie Von Maltzan will explore the potential aesthetic and practical qualities that the sculptures can add to the park.

The other objective of the workshops is to fortify the relationship between neighbourhoods and communities, to integrate the social dimension into the artistic process and to strengthen the communities ownership of THEIR  people’s park.


Collaborative  art practice 

It is important to Von Maltzan to develop this site specific artwork in collaboration with local community members through social art projects followed by collaborative sculpture making workshops . 

Von Maltzan has extensive experience in delivering workshops indoors and outdoors and also online in case Covid 19 continues to prohibit face to face community collaborations. To actively outreach and to involve communities in the shaping of site specific artwork is a central and key feature of Von Maltzan’s practice. 

Von Maltzan sees the interface with young audiences in particular  as one of the most effective strategies for engaging with the wider community. This, as evidenced in the documentation of previous work submitted. 

The social art community projects and sculpture design workshops will work hand in hand with the design and production process of the sculptures. The project will include discursive processes of research, site analysis, contextual investigation/ interpretation, and production.