The Roundtable arrives in North Melbourne

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There is something new in the Errol St Reserve in North Melbourne; a seven-metre diameter public table filled with edible plants.

The installation titled the The Roundtable was originally short-listed for the 2021 NGV Architecture Commission and has been adapted to suit the Errol St Reserve.

The idea for the project came about during the dark winters of Melbourne’s lockdowns and was borne of a deep nostalgia and longing for the social. The table is the original common space, an object that celebrates coming together, seeing each other, and sharing food.

Most cultures include some form of communal surface, to meet around, to eat, to share stories and company. This takes many forms, but the coming together is consistent, a space within the home and the city that serves as a hub in increasingly divergent lives.

Tables are where deals are made, bargains struck, fortunes won and lost. Society operates both above and below the table, with the legitimate and illegitimate defined metaphorically as above or below the “board”. The enfranchisement of our communities and the ability to participate in decision making is marked by a seat at the table. 

The table is the repository of memory – a childhood spent hiding behind the tablecloth – a summer afternoon meal with friends.

This table encircles a productive garden of native and introduced plants intended to be eaten. Plant species have been selected for their appearance, scent and taste – visitors are welcome to pick, smell and taste the plants, but also to think of others when they do so. 

The installation will be in the Errol St Reserve for the next several months, after which it will be disassembled, with the construction materials up-cycled for use in other projects and the plants made available to find new homes with members of the community.

The Roundtable is a collaboration local architecture practice Common and landscape architects Enlocus and is supported through the Melbourne City Revitalisation Fund – a partnership of the Victorian Government and the City of Melbourne. •

See the project website for more information about the project and upcoming events.

the-roundtable.online

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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