Public art takes many forms, has different purposes and appears in all sorts of unexpected places. In a creative take on community safety, the City of Adelaide commissioned a local design duo to produce an artwork that would help people find the locations of potentially lifesaving Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) across the city.
An AED allows anyone to deliver a measured shock to a person experiencing a cardiac arrest, to restart effective pumping of the heart and increase the person’s chance of survival. By recognising the warning signs, calling triple zero and applying an AED as quickly as possible, the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest increase.
It was City of Adelaide Councillor Phillip Martin who initiated getting these potentially life-saving devices installed into publicly accessible city locations and raising awareness of how easy they are to use.
The City of Adelaide’s ‘Saving a Life Can Be Shockingly Easy’ project was launched in 2017 in partnership with the SA Ambulance Service and the Heart Foundation. It’s proven a resounding success with a growing number of AEDs installed across the city, multiple applications of the devices and a measured increase recorded in levels of public confidence around using an AED.
There are now 25 City of Adelaide-owned AEDs in the city. That’s an AED about every 500 metres throughout the CBD and North Adelaide during business hours, and, outside business hours, every one kilometre.
Eleven of the AEDs are publicly accessible around the clock. These can be found in all six city squares, Rundle Mall, Melbourne Street, Victoria Park / Pakapakanthi (near The Velo Café) along the Riverbank in Elder Park near The Popeye’s landing and at The Weir (near the Par 3 Café).
Another 14 AEDs are located at Council-owned facilities: the Adelaide Aquatic Centre, Adelaide Town Hall, Adelaide Central Market, North Adelaide Golf Course, two Community Centres, the City Library, Hutt Street Library, North Adelaide Community Centre and Library, Customer Centre and the North Adelaide nursery. These are accessible during business hours.
With so many additional AEDs now accessible in public locations, the City of Adelaide reached out to local designers to create an artwork that would help draw people’s attention to the devices.
When Daniel To and Emma Aiston from design studio DANIEL EMMA threw their hat in the ring, they were entering new territory.
While already well-known nationally for producing unique objects ranging from furniture and lighting to accessories and textiles, securing this commission challenged the JamFactory’s Creative Directors to create their very first public artwork.
“It’s been fun to work on something that has reach to a wider audience and that everyone can experience because they don’t have to ‘buy’ it,” said Emma. “We always like to try new things and this project also gave us an opportunity to have a greater input into the fabric of the Adelaide built environment.”
Undaunted by the prospect of designing an artwork that could potentially play a part in saving a life, the duo embraced the project.
“We thought about how best to simply direct attention to the AED in the event of an emergency, but also make a piece that people may notice on a day to day basis that would stick in their minds if they ever needed to use one!” said Daniel.
In shaping their final design, Daniel and Emma drew inspiration from the universal heart symbol.
“The pieces are constructed with a powder-coated, solid steel body, coloured Perspex covers, and lit using LED componentry. The brief was always to have the design complement the AED units and to act as important indicative signage to where the units are located, which we think they’re successful in doing!”
The DANIEL EMMA-designed artworks are installed above AEDs in five city squares, Melbourne Street, the Riverbank, Velo Café and the Par 3 Café.
View a map of city AED locations and learn more about programs and services increasing safety in our city.