Grimshaw Architects transformed the Meat Market in North Melbourne into a giant installation that literally wrapped around the hub for Melbourne Knowledge Week (MKW18), the City of Melbourne’s annual festival which explores Melbourne’s smart and innovative future.
Comprising of approximately one square kilometre of fruit netting, the tensile structure was manipulated to provide an atmospheric experience of movement and light that enveloped and connected the programmed events and lively discussions of the event.
“Our design takes its cues from the term ‘watershed’, which we’ve interpreted as a collector of ideas, turning points, and breakthrough moments about our city’s future. It’s also an acknowledgement of water as our most sacred and increasingly scarce resource,” commented Grimshaw Managing Partner and MKW18 City Design Ambassador, Neil Stonell.
The installation forms an exploration of surfaces and movement which exploits the properties of the netting to create a form that stretches, flows and at times creates a ripple-like effect within the space. Watershed utilises a data-driven light projection created by Digital Media Design at Swinburne University. The light projection activates and illuminates the netting to add further depth to the installation. Wood moulds were also salvaged from Supa Dupa Industries in the construction process of the artistic display.
Before commencement, Grimshaw Architects met with Wurundjeri Elders to gain awareness of the traditional landowners’ principles of sustainability, learning that watersheds, in themselves, are landscape forms that have shaped the social bonds of Indigenous Australians – a serendipitous alignment with the installation’s theme of coming together to share knowledge.
“With a global reputation for exciting and innovative work, Grimshaw has delivered an amazing and unique experience,” announced Chair of the Knowledge City portfolio, Councillor Dr Jackie Watts.
“[Watershed] exemplifies the depth of design and architectural excellence found in Melbourne and which helps to drive the vibrant knowledge economy in our great city.”
Watershed is a great example of creative design despite a limited use of budget and materials. Now that the event is complete, the netting is being recycled for local food growers to utilise.
Melbourne’s Knowledge Week will return in May 2019.