SATURDAY 10 JUNE 2012
HeineJones directors Mike Heine and Steve Jones attended the Society of Environmental Graphic Design annual conference and Global Design Awards presentation in New York City. They were delighted to receive a prestigious Merit Award for the Leeds Street Tree Grates project that are now a striking feature of the Footscray streetscape (client - Melbourne Water and Maribyrnong City Council) – a great commendation from the world's leading organisation representing environmental graphic design.
‘It’s a terrific acknowledgment of the effort we put into the project, and a great example of how environmental graphic design can contribute positively to our communities,’ said HeineJones’ co-founder, Steve Jones.
HeineJones are leaders in environmental graphic design, a process that creates powerful sensory experiences in built or natural environments. Maribyrnong City Council and Melbourne Water asked them to provide a tree grate solution that functioned as part of a ‘raingarden’, while also explaining the raingarden concept to the community.
‘Twenty-two trees are planted along the Leeds Street footpath and use water-sensitive urban design principles. The trees form a “raingarden”, which uses rainfall to wash the streets and water trees. The remaining water is filtered, cleansed and fed into the Maribyrnong River,’ Steve Jones explained.
The HeineJones solution features large-scale letters and word elements cut though the 10mm steel plates that house the trees. The words, some of which are in Chinese, Vietnamese and Arabic, form part of a poem written by HeineJones co-founder, Mike Heine.
‘Mike’s full poem is also cut into the tree grates at a smaller scale. Our solution engages the public in an emotive and highly legible way; the passage of the water into the raingarden system is through the poem that describes what the raingarden does,’ Steve Jones said.
The Global SEGD Design Award judges said the HeineJones project’s design and fabrication were “brilliant and seamless”, adding that the “pedestrian who walks by is almost literally invited into a dance with the environment, mimicking the natural movement of water.”
“The project stretched our boundaries and got us thinking about a visual problem in a written form,” Steve Jones said, adding HeineJones had translated the poem into several languages and so integrated Maribyrnong’s multiculturalism into the project.
As a result of the award, high-ranking American environmental graphic designers hoping to partner with the company have already approached HeineJones.
‘That’s very satisfying. And we hope this project helps the public to see the connection between design and everyday objects, that reinventing objects in our environment adds to our streetscapes and our communities.’