No matter where you are, or why you are there, urban street events need to be original and provide enough interaction to ensure people have a good time, share a good time and walk away happy and pleasantly surprised. To achieve a consummate experience, there needs to be layers of activity that work well together. The EcoWorld event, aptly (without a letter to spare!) named the ‘SY Spring Festival by Yarra One’, was designed with a particular look and feel that allowed the event designer to create perfect synergies between contributing elements.
First and foremost, the ‘urban oasis’ aesthetic was ideal for the season and inner-city location. By using a soft, tropical colour palate through décor, activation and even live art pieces (more about that later), the mood of the entire space was set confidently and necessarily in the face of the city dankness that surrounded it. Even the abundant plant life was chosen for its large-leaf variety, and hung as well as grounded to provide a complete visual range. It should be noted at this point that this event took place in a carpark adjacent to a disused warehouse, adding yet another layer of synergism to the event, in that the ground level of the new building will become an indoor, multi-purpose community space called ‘The Atrium’.
Entertainment content at this event was also selected based on its brightness and shareability. The DJ might these days be considered ‘old skool’, but the hedonistic, upbeat tunes were exactly what the space demanded. Fun games of ping pong on brightly decaled tables and spectator-driven giant Jenga challenges were completely frivolous, but perfect for sharing with new or old friends in the urban oasis.
Artist Ellen Porteus is known for her quirky, wallpaper style illustrations, and with various collaborators across the weekend completed a wall mural that of course spoke directly to the aesthetic of the event. Banana-sized pieces of colourful chalk were laid about the place, beckoning other, yet less Instagram-worthy, “artists”, to take part in the shared creative outpouring. The result of these scribbles in no way mirrored the professional contribution of another artist on hand: fashion illustrator Sarah Darby, who provided personalised portraits to those happy to be drawn rather than draw. A truly local flavour was added with a selection of pop-up designer market stalls offering artisan-made jewellery, soaps and scarves. By providing springboards for interactivity and creativity, the construct of the space was alive and personalised. It seemed to evolve as each brush stroke was placed upon the wall or new group of kids tried their luck at Jenga.
Food provided guests with yet another chance to create their own experience, this time by the range of cuisines and servings on offer. For those looking for a sweet treat or coffee break, Melbourne icon St Gerrys was deep frying delicious Greek donuts and Coe&Coe was providing the caffeine. Lunch was served hot and soulful from Gumbo’s New Orlean’s kitchen or Nem Nem Vietnamese. Things kicked into overdrive on the second Sunday of the two-weekend event when food was provided for free, giving EcoWorld every chance of creating positive good will be appealing to the stomach of locals!