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Natural Landscape Pillars

How can we create a mirror for cultural richness in Melbourne’s West?


GPT Group



Immigration has been a crucial part of Australia's history, and Melbourne (Naarm) is a city particularly known for its cultural diversity. With this in mind, GPT Group, who own and manage the Highpoint Shopping Centre in Melbourne's west, approached us to explore ideas for an 'experiential outpost' that celebrates the region’s cultural richness.

Centred around the theme "Countries Of Origin," this installation allows individuals to gather and share stories from their former homes through our mutual appreciation and connection with nature.

Approach →

Our concept aimed to create a serene oasis within a bustling shopping centre, providing people with a space to unwind and connect with nature.

We explored a range of layouts and arrangements to design an immersive inner zone for people to take a breath and uncover the ‘Countries of Origin’ story, whilst still allowing foot traffic to move through and around the installation.

Initial sketches of layout options

Local research and acknowledgement.

We delved into local government reports to identify countries with the strongest presence in Maribyrnong's migrant communities, settling on a diverse set of countries while acknowledging and paying tribute to the Traditional Owners of the land. From there, we then selected natural scenes that best represents each country.

We settled on a concept of Natural Landscape Pillars, featuring six upright LED pillars that emerged from seating furniture.

The installation centres around creating a space for people to gather and share stories from their former home, through our shared appreciation and connection with nature — a principle deeply rooted in Australia's history.

Experience →

Whether seated around the benches or strolling around the pillars, visitors can appreciate the sight and sound of these beautiful landscapes.

As visitors explore, they'd also notice a lively animated ringtail possum hopping around the pillars in the Maribyrnong River footage, which is a nod to the Aboriginal phrase 'Mirring-gnay-bir-nong', meaning 'I can hear a ringtail possum.'

Using the inbuilt touchscreen, visitors could transform the space with a simple tap.

Visitors can read more about the landscape, and gain insights into the former homes of local residents. When there is no interaction with the pillars, the content rotates between each of the landscapes.

To create an immersive environment, we incorporated slimline speakers to play custom soundscapes for each landscape.

The combination of immersive visuals and soundscapes gave visitors a sense that they were traveling from one space to another. Whether it's the calming sounds of sea waves, the melodies of native birds, or the rustling of leaves, each element contributes to an authentic reflection of the countries.

Placemaking enhanced with technology.

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