Vivid Sydney Part Two – Martin Place

The second instalment of my Vivid Series, this time covering Martin Place and the view from Darling Harbour. Also featuring a dinner review of Vapiano restaurant.

I had been planning to go back to Vivid for two weeks now, first being foiled by bad weather and then by excessive crowds on the long weekend. Unfortunately for an event like Vivid, being overcrowded can ruin the whole experience. Luckily you can avoid the crowds by visiting during the week instead of on the weekend, and using public transport instead of driving in. First on the agenda was Martin Place, an area that has always been part of Vivid and always puts on an interesting show.

Vivid at Martin Place


One of the standout artworks from Martin Place is called Fountain. Fountain is mesmerising to watch with an interesting concept behind it. Light flows from the centre of the fountain, rises up through the arches and drops down through the figures until reaching the floor. Though it may look like just a pretty sculpture, Fountain is actually a live-stream of global birth rate data, showing this data as ‘human water droplets’.

“A celebration of the human life cycle, Fountain demonstrates – in real-time – the global human birth rate as a flowing stream of humans evolving and fading in a solid stop-motion animation. ” – Quoted from the Vivid website – read more about Fountain here.

Totem Forest

Totem forest is a colourful and fun interactive artwork, involving beating drums to your own rhythm and watching as the pillars change from static to moving images.

“The drums do not omit sound. Simply find your rhythm and watch the colours and patterns chase, change, pulse, react and glow with each strike of the drum. The Totems transform from a static image by day to an animated and ever-changing canvas at night, when influenced by light. Whether you are playing or watching, no two light shows are the same. ” – Quoted from the Vivid website, read more here.

Mountain of Light 

Mountain of Light is my personal favourite of all the Martin Place displays. The mountain glows and plays atmospheric music while changing it’s colours and effects throughout the night.
Read more about it here.

Art of Performance

I almost walked right by this display, dismissing it as something for car fans only. I ended up going back and watching, then liking it so much I decided to film it!
Read about it here.

8Bits + Bytes

8 Bits + Bytes is the pop-up hub for lovers of burgers + arcades. As far as burgers go, there’s a lot to choose from, including Milk Bar by Cafe Ish, Pub Life Kitchen, Bangbang cafe and Sammy’s Burger Bar. There was also a dessert collaboration stall featuring Black Star Pastry x N2 Extreme Gelato. The burger stalls were in competition, with diners being able to cast a vote for their favourite burger using hashtags. The whole area was lively and buzzing with excitement over the burgers, bar area and arcade games. Though I would have liked to try out the big screen displaying interactive digital squash and some other of the pop-ups, the area was a bit too busy even on a Wednesday night, so we quickly moved on. You can read more about 8bits + Bytes here.

 Dinner at Vapiano

Not being in the mood for burgers, we ended up walking for 10 minutes and finding Vapiano.
Vapiano is a pasta lover’s dream. They also have pizza, risotto, salad, drinks and desserts. But as someone who loves pasta, I was particularly interested in the generously served bowls I could see people carrying back to their seats. As soon as you walk in, you’ll see a long line of people waiting to order, and then waiting at the counter while they watch their food be made fresh. The menu has an impressive list of items, and the ordering system is smart with the use of a card that you swipe upon ordering, and pay for at the front desk as you leave. The seating situation is great for groups, with two levels of large tables varying in size. For smaller groups or solo diners, you can walk in and take a seat anywhere that’s vacant.

Though the long lines are a down side, it’s busy enough to prove that a lot of people think it’s worth the wait. The decor in the restaurant is beautiful and classy, matching the theme of Italian food perfectly and making you feel like you’re dining in luxury. I ordered the pumpkin ravioli off the Winter menu, which was a satisfying choice after being out in the cold all night.

Vapiano is situated at King Street, Sydney, NSW, 2000.

The view from Darling Harbour of Maritime Museum

Despite having plans to see the displays at Circular Quay and the Botanical Gardens, we ended up heading towards Darling Harbour instead. It turned out to be too late to see the other precincts, but seeing the display over the Maritime Museum and it’s colourful reflection over the water was a fittingly beautiful and colourful way to end the night.

Though crowds at the festival get larger every year, I still love and stand by the idea of the Vivid festival. To me, Vivid is all about walking around the city and being able to see everything in a whole new light. Taking your time walking through town and feeling like you’re discovering new things in old areas is a great experience, and there are new precincts being added every year. Although Vivid may just be some lights around the city, it’s really a festival of discovery, ideas and appreciation of arts and technology.

Vivid Sydney ends on 18th of June, this Saturday.

If you visited Vivid this year, leave a comment telling me what your favourite part was!

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