Artist: Philippa Playford
Date Installed
Installed 1999
Cook + Phillip Park Pool, 4 College Street (corner William Street) Sydney
Tags: Children, Water

Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Artwork Description

Cook + Phillip Park Pool is located in Sydney’s CBD, between Hyde Park’s Sandringham Gardens, and the Fragrance Garden in Cook and Phillip Park.

Philippa Playford’s Poolside Cocktail – Coral  is a brightly coloured sculpture designed specifically for the aquatic centre’s leisure pool, created to be functional as well as decorative.

‘Coral’ is a smiling ‘monster’ figure – which also acts as a wave wall, protecting the indoor toddlers’ play area from the rest of the pool.

The sculpture is created from concrete and glass mosaic tiles, to withstand their constant exposure to water and weather and  decorated with bold, colourful mosaic designs. Playford found inspiration for the designs in natural foliage, such as seeds and pods, which she collected from the area before the leisure centre was built.

The style is quirky, naïve and playful, with a fun, cartoon-like quality that makes ‘Coral’ popular with visitors of all ages.



Philippa Playford graduated from the Sydney University College of the Arts in sculpture, glass and ceramics and has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally.

She is an experienced community and public artist, with works displayed throughout Sydney and the surrounding regions.

During her varied career, she has also turned her hand to set and costume design, including set designs for iconic Australian films Muriel’s Wedding and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

She won an award for best costume in the 1995-6 Sydney Mardi Gras Parade – her winning costume is now on display as part of the Powerhouse Museum collection.

Get arts and culture updates from City of Sydney News.

Sign up