Giant student artworks transform State Library Victoria’s entrance

SLV Caro Pattle TransformationsLarger-than-life unicorns, futuristic creatures and vibrant flowers bring to life State Library Victoria’s facade with the unveiling of an artwork spanning 27 metres by RMIT student Caro Pattle.

The textile design student was “blown away” that her bold, other-worldly design, created as part of a Library and RMIT University joint initiative, was chosen to be the face of one of Melbourne’s most iconic buildings during its $88.1 million Vision 2020 redevelopment.

A multidisciplinary class of 22 RMIT masters and undergraduate students across architecture, communication design and textile design were invited to create original works that reflected the Library’s transformation, and drew inspiration from its history and collections.

A panel of judges from the Library, RMIT and Creative Victoria selected three works by Ms Pattle, Vivian Lim and Nikita Castellano to be installed on construction hoarding, each for around four months, while the Swanston Street entrance and ground floor close temporarily before reopening in spring 2019.

Ms Pattle’s work, Transformations, is a collage of 15th to 19th-century images of flora and fauna from the Library’s collection, featuring imagined creatures: possums with three tails, all-seeing birds, and flowers with QR-coded petals.

“The historic botanical drawings highlight the richness of the collection and the other-worldly flora and fauna reflect the ever-evolving nature of the Library and the major transformation that’s underway,” said Ms Pattle. “I feel really lucky that my design will now play a small part in the Library’s history.”

State Library Victoria CEO Kate Torney said she was impressed by the calibre of the artworks produced, and the unique ways in which the students drew on the Library’s vast collection to inspire their designs. “More than a third of the Library’s visitors are university students, so it’s been fantastic collaborating with RMIT to showcase the creations of some incredibly talented young people,” said Ms Torney.

“The Library has been a place of inspiration for many students over many generations, and we hope these beautiful artworks will inspire the thousands of people who sit on our lawn or walk past the Library every day.”

RMIT Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Design and Social Context Professor Paul Gough said the collaboration provided the students with an opportunity to apply their multidisciplinary knowledge and creative talents to a major civic project.

“We thank the State Library team for working with the students to grow their professional understanding and skills, and creating the opportunity to display these three thought-provoking artworks,” said Professor Gough. “RMIT commends the 22 students involved and congratulates the three winning artists.”

The Library’s Russell Street entrance and new accessible entrance on La Trobe Street are the main entry points for visitors until spring 2019 when the Swanston Street entrance will reopen. For more information about Vision 2020, visit: for details.

Image: Caro Pattle’s design, Transformations, adorns the hoarding across State Library Victoria’s facade (supplied)