6 October 2023

Haig Park nature activation among new placemaking projects coming to city centre and Braddon

| Travis Radford
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Eggpicnic mock-up.

A mock-up of Eggpicnic’s potential Haig Park design. The final design will be determined by the results of a collaborative survey open to the community. Photo: Eggpicnic.

Local design studio Eggpicnic has asked Canberrans for their help choosing the birds, insects or other animals set to brighten up Haig Park’s shipping container.

Eggpicnic’s project is one of four new placemaking initiatives in the City Centre and Braddon, funded by the ACT Government City Renewal Authority’s Placemaking Grants program.

Eggpicnic’s design will be determined by a survey inviting Canberrans to choose the animals that represent them and the capital and to share their stories of connection.

“The artwork … will serve as a visual embodiment of our collective identity and of our hopes for the future,” Eggpicnic said.

“It’s through these connections that we can rediscover our place within the ecosystem, reshaping our concept of collective belonging.”

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The installation will also feature augmented reality elements, including interactive aluminium panels and QR codes, which Eggpicnic said will allow people to “bring the work to life”.

The wildlife conservation-minded studio’s birds and other animals have previously been projected onto Parliament and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

“The stories we’ve woven about wild animals often mirror our affection for them and this affection can serve as a pathway to nurturing care,” the studio said.

“Conservation, under this lens, becomes an act of preserving our mutual stories.”

Urban Pause by SKEEHAN.

SKEEHAN is the studio behind Urban Pause, a modular furniture system made out of reclaimed materials, funded under the ACT Government’s Placemaking Grants program. Photo: SKEEHAN.

Other initiatives funded include a new creative co-working space and arts hub at 15 Moore Street named Blank Space, taking its name from the Blank creative collective behind the project.

“During weekdays, [Blank Space] will serve as a collaborative workspace for creatives and in the evenings and weekends, it will transform into a platform for them to exhibit their work and practice,” Blank said. “Designed to address challenges like exorbitant rental costs and promotional hurdles, it will enable creatives to seamlessly showcase their talents in civic spaces.

“A dedicated community manager will facilitate collaboration, while its strategic leadership will forge essential partnerships, ensuring sustained community engagement and impact.”

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SKEEHAN, helmed by award-winning industrial designer Tom Skeehan, received a grant for their project named Urban Pause.

The versatile, mobile and sustainable modular furniture system will be made from reclaimed materials. An exact location in Canberra’s city precinct has not yet been chosen. “This system aims to enhance the aesthetic appeal and functionality of public spaces, stimulate local businesses and foster social connection among the diverse community members,” the studio said.

CHURCH Neighbourhood Goods, run by entrepreneurs Brock Dunn and Nicholas Mico who reopened their shop on East Row after being forced out of Odgers Lane, also received a grant.

Theirs will be an event rather than an installation, located in the laneway between Garema Place and Bailey’s Arcade, also on East Row. “Skateboarding, music, and art come together in this electrifying event,” the City Renewal Authority’s blog said.

“Capital Open aims to captivate both local and global audiences, making Canberra’s cultural scene more vibrant than ever.”

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