We’ve been lucky enough to have one of our recent projects selected as a finalist in the upcoming The Design Files Design Awards.
The Enchanted Garden was a concept derived by our team in conjunction with Glenvill homes to create a welcoming entry reflecting the surrounding landscape, to the vibrant new developmental in Alphington, named Yarra Bend.
The development has been dubbed ” the world’s most liveable suburb” with thoughtful sustainability and high-Tech facilities. The clients brief was for this garden to create a welcoming oasis that reflected the sites rich cultural history as well as its significance and proximity to the connected bush land corridor and Yarra River. We endevoured to create this link between the old and the new through interpreting the brief quite literally and cladding all vertical surfaces with relective materials, and keeping the focus of the design on the natural flora and fauna.
As you enter the garden you are greeted by a subtle running water course that curves throughout the garden. This soft water feature uses recycled rain water and is reference to the Yarra River, where cycling, running and outdoor gyms are connected by paths through nature. The adjacent curved reflective retaining wall which splits the garden into two levels represents the Yarra’s river banks.We wanted the curved pathway to take the visitor on a journey that evokes the senses, through sounds, touch and smell. Paying homage to the sites native bushland surroundings we chose to use a strictly native planting palette. The trees were planted in a strict grid pattern to reflect within the mirrored walls into infinity. We would have preferred river red gums as the feature trees, but these were not readily available in advanced sizes and this garden needed immediate impact from the day of opening.The main material pallet of polished aluminium and concrete was also to reflect the modern intent of the future Yarra Bend development, whilst combining natural elements to make the garden feel like a modern oasis. The use of rough cut porphyry stone was used to line the watercourse, in reference to the changing colours and textures of a flowing river.
Creating a wow factor from the entrance was imperative to the design, so we chose to incorporate 4-meter mirrored walls to extend the gardens beauty and boldness.Originally just going to be green walls, we pushed the boundaries to create something that is not often seen. The mirrored walls of the garden were designed to show a never-ending landscape, much similar to the natural surrounds on the nearby banks of the Yarra River. They are used in a way that allows you to escape the everyday life of the city, and be surrounded by the native and lush surrounds of the Yarra River. Almost transcending the space around you to a secluded oasis surrounded by lush native plants and hearing the trickle of the natural water spring.
The hi tech use of sound was also high on our priority list in making this garden a standout. We were lucky enough to engage a sound engineer to create sound loops of walking, bicycle riding, birds song, even a bicycle bell. That sounds loop as you walk through the garden really transporting the visitor within an open oasis and makes you feel like you are not merely a few km away from the city. This looped sound track is played back within the site through 24 hidden speakers, some being fixed to the back of the mirrored walls, effectively turning the boundary into a large speaker. The effect is further enhanced by splitting the speakers into different zones creating a layered effect, picking up on the frogs and insects in the understory, and the birds in the tree canopy. We have found that many of the local birdlife now visit the site looking for the birds creating our recorded sounds.
Winners to be announced September 19th.