Guy Ngan: Bledisloe State Building Penthouse, 1956

Artist: Guy Ngan
Title: Untitled
Medium: Glass mosaic tiles
Dimensions: North & south faces: H3000mm x W6500mm; east and west faces: H3000mm x W12600mm.
Date: 1956
Original location: Penthouse, Bledisloe State Building, Bledisloe Lane, Tamaki Makaurau Auckland CBD
Architect: Gordon Wilson, Ministry of Works Architectural Division
Current location: In situ. Building now occupied by Auckland Council.
Heritage status: Considered item, listed by Auckland Council

Guy Ngan’s mosaic frieze for the Bledisloe State Building was completed in 1956. An advertisement from the time states that “the mosaic tiles were supplied and fixed to this penthouse tower by the skilled tradesmen of the wall and floor tiling division of J. H. M. Carpenter Ltd of Newmarket, Auckland.”

This mosaic later inspired artist Julian Dashper to create his painting Guy Ngan Mural, Bledisloe State Building, Auckland City, 1987. On the topic of this work, Dashper said: “I found Ngan’s mural interesting for a number of reasons – partly because as a kid my Dad worked in the building and so every Friday night I’d go and goof off in the building with the big mural – I was aware then that it was a big piece of art – an enormous work.” (Source: unknown. Copy included in Guy Ngan: Scrapbook number one. Auckland: Ron Sang, 2010, p.41).

Guy Ngan: Eastern & Central Savings Bank, 1980

Artist: Guy Ngan
Title: Cityscape
Medium: Cast aluminium with spot and concealed lighting
Dimensions: H1400 x W6000 x D200mm
Date: 1980
Original location: Public banking hall, Eastern and Central Savings Bank, Broadway Avenue, Te Papaioea Palmerston North
Architect: Milton Brogden
Current location: Exterior wall Palmerston North City Library, above George Street steps.
Heritage status: Listed by Palmerston North Public Sculpture Trust

Cityscape was originally commissioned in 1980 by the Eastern and Central Savings Bank for their Broadway Avenue premises. The sculpture was made from cast aluminium using the ‘lost polystyrene’ process involving carved polystyrene which dissolved during casting. The pieces were then interlocked and bolted together.

When the building was sold, the six-meter long work was too large for the redeveloped interior so was put into storage in a garage/shed as an asset of the then building owner. There it sat for some years until Fran Dibble (wife of sculptor Paul Dibble) rediscovered it following research. It was subsequently donated to the Palmerston North Sculpture Trust by the descendants of J.J. Waldegrave. With the assistance of the Central Energy Trust, the Guardian Trust and the Palmerston North City Library it was re-sited in 2008 to an exterior wall of the Palmerston North City Library above the George St steps.