Designer flooded with ideas for Metro Tunnel installation

Designer flooded with ideas for Metro Tunnel installation

Work has begun to install the Metro Tunnel’s first permanent creative installation – 360 metres long and involving 1.3 million tiles – in Melbourne’s inner west.

Stephen Banham’s work One Day in our Park is coming to life on a flood wall that forms part of the Metro Tunnel’s western entrance at Kensington, opposite JJ Holland Park.

The work is the result of extensive consultation with the Kensington community and draws inspiration from their connection to the park.

One Day in our Park will use 1.3 million green glazed ceramic tiles to create stories that were inspired by public submissions. The choice of the green colour scheme was guided by community preference to soften the street landscape and flood wall.

A team of four tilers is completing the tiling by hand in an intensive process that will slowly progress across the length of the flood wall.

The use of tiling is a nod to the local industrial heritage and to underground station designs around the world, such as the New York Subway and Paris Metro. As Stephen said, “Tiling is a beautiful medium – industrial yet poetic.”

An advisory panel – including members of Rail Projects Victoria (RPV) and the City of Melbourne, along with four industry experts – selected Stephen’s concept from a shortlist of five.

Stephen is a typographer, designer, lecturer and writer with more than 30 years’ experience. Some examples of his previous work include Melbourne Art Trams.

Stephen took inspiration from the Kensington community’s feedback about their use and enjoyment of the park, as well as some of his own observations, to develop the concept and create the “stories” that appear on the wall. These include lines such as:

“Laps walked until a teething child falls asleep”.

“Echoing thuds of cricket balls” and “Anxious glances at the football scoreboard”.

“Begging seagulls pretending to have only one leg”.

Stephen is no stranger to the Metro Tunnel Project; one of his designs Here, There (2020) was on display at the State Library Station construction site last year, as part of the project’s Creative Program.

Installation started in June for the flood wall creative design and will continue in stages over the coming months.

Fifty-one car parking spaces were recently reinstated and extensive planting of vegetation, mulching and installation of street lighting has been completed along Childers St.

While Stephen’s design is close to the Kensington entrance to the tunnel, the Metro Tunnel legacy station artworks will ensure the stations themselves are must-see destinations that will boost Melbourne’s reputation as Australia’s cultural capital •

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