HASSELL’s design inspiration behind The Immersery

Photo: HASSELL young design team

We spoke to Brenton Beggs and Johanna Picton in the young design team at HASSELL about their design inspiration for the Festival’s hub space for 2014, The Immersery: Festival Kitchen, Bar & Raingarden.

Talk us through the design of this project and how you developed the concept.

The 2014 Festival theme is water and we’ve explored that subject through the design of The Immersery. We started both large and small, investigating the water cycle as a whole and the properties of water itself. Our discoveries led us to a concept that focused on the three states of water within the cycle (liquid, solid and vapour) and their common vessel: a cloud!

We also became very interested in the often hidden part of the water cycle - the system of pipes and reservoirs underneath our cities that transport water to our taps at home. The resulting interpretive design is a landscape of pipes and industrial materials for people to wander through and dine within. Guests can contemplate the water cycle atop Sandridge Bridge evoking the form and qualities of a cumulousnimbus, or investigate raingardens that highlight the importance of treating water once it exits our homes and cities for the local waterways

What are some of the key things you want people to get out of experiencing The Immersery?

We hope that The Immersery gives its visitors an opportunity to connect with the Yarra River in a way that they may never have before. As part art and part education, The Immersery will take visitors on a journey through the water harvesting process, hoping to reinforce the importance of water recycling and reuse, something that will increasingly affect us. The raingardens and vegetable raingardens house water-wise species, teaching the visitor about the ease and simplicity of rain water harvesting and reinforcing that it’s something that everyone can do within their home, regardless of size. The structure itself is sourced from recycled water infrastructure elements, enhancing the story, and giving the visitors a close-up look at the distribution of water across the city.

We hear you’ve been doing a lot of work outside of your normal work hours on this project – is it a project your particularly passionate about?

Absolutely, it's a project which gives our team of young designers great opportunity as well as great responsibility. It's also a project which we know will be incredibly successful. The long hours often come into play when we have such a vested interest in the outcome of the project and want it to succeed. The great relationship that HASSELL shares with MFWF is another reason for the extra drive to deliver a good outcome. It's a relationship that we’re keen to foster and see grow. As a fast paced project, it also gives the young designers opportunities and responsibilities that they might not necessarily receive this early into their careers - for example, leading the project, contacting suppliers and consultants, and also being hands on with the delivery process.

The Immersery: Kitchen, Bar & Raingarden will be open every day 28 February – 16 March from 8:00AM – 11:00PM. No booking required.

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