North Melbourne’s The Roundtable named as a finalist in Premier’s Design Awards

North Melbourne’s The Roundtable named as a finalist in Premier’s Design Awards

A public installation initially conceived during the COVID-19 pandemic has been shortlisted for one of Victoria’s most prestigious design awards.

The Roundtable is located within the Errol Street Reserve in North Melbourne, and features a communal “table” which is covered in various species of edible plants.

Vegetation featured within the installation was selected according to appearance, smell and taste. According to its design brief, the table itself represents “the original common space, an object that celebrates coming together, seeing each other, and sharing food.”

Designed to facilitate social cohesion and connection, the project had been through several iterations before being unveiled in January 2023.

The final version of the installation encourages visitors to “pick, smell, and taste the plants,” as well as to “use the table as a hub for social exchange.”

Intended only to be a temporary installation, the piece’s longevity has exceeded expectations. Various public events have utilised the space, including public forums, social events, and community meetings.

The installation has therefore been celebrated for its “outsized impact relative to budget and project scope.” Its ability to create “something of enduring public benefit within minimal means” has been noted by critics.

Commissioned by the City of Melbourne, The Roundtable is a joint collaboration between urban design practice Common, landscape architects Enlocus and RMIT Architecture.

Winners of the 2023 Victorian Premier’s Design Awards will be decided upon by an expert panel of jurors.

The results will be announced at a ceremony in March. •

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