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Popular High Street precinct The Iceworks recently celebrated 10 years in the community, and they have gifted us with some colourful artwork to admire on our daily travels to the retail and dining hub…

The Iceworks houses some Willoughby favourites including dining options Dose Espresso, Braci, Gochiso, Via Alta and newcomer Grand Bees Kitchen. And then there are shopping options Betty & Lola, Cote Nord, services Chameleon Hair and Willoughby Vet Hospital, plus fitness community Studio High Street – Pilates & Movement.

Image: The Iceworks

The development recently celebrated 10 years in Willoughby and Property Manager Laurel Robinson felt a refresh of some of the precinct’s blank walls was in order.

Local signwriter Emiel Saada was commissioned to design and complete the murals and used the local Willoughby flora and fauna as inspiration.

“I personally love the walking trails through the local native reserves. Using native gum leaves as inspiration I went around the local neighbourhood with my camera taking reference photos to start drawing out concepts. I think most of the plants were less than 100m from my house.”

Emiel, like many locals, remembers the block before it was The Iceworks.

“My Willoughby Public School friends and I always used to get on our BMX’s and ride around the neighbourhood, often riding through Iceworks Lane to get some lollies with our pocket money from the deli (where the fish shop now is). I remember red frogs being 5 cents back in those days and Iceworks just being a mechanics. It’s been great to see that place develop into a nice community hub.”

The painting process was an example of Willoughby Living at its finest, with many people stopping by for a chat and to enquire about the works progression.

“It took my assistant Pilar and I 2.5 days to complete the large alley mural and two smaller sections around the venue. Everyone walking past was very encouraging and all had nice things to say. It was nice to see the new generation of the local kids watching us paint and asking questions.”

Emiel and his team were even surprised by a wallaby hopping past them one morning – news which eventually took our Willoughby Living Facebook group by storm as we followed sightings of the wallaby and celebrated its eventual rescue by handlers.

Above: Time lapse showing the progression of the painting

“It’s very nice for me to be able to do a large and hopefully long-lived mural in the area. It’s got a soft spot in my heart.”

To enjoy the mural and all the dining and retail options at The Iceworks, visit them at 183-191 High Street Willoughby.