Monument Park is a sculpture park located in the public open space at NewQuay at the intersection of several tall residential/commercial buildings. In 2014 the largest public art project delivered in Docklands was unveiled and Monument Park is Australia’s first capital city public sculpture park. Interestingly, the project was mostly paid for through a compulsory contribution by all Docklands developers of 1% of the value of their projects towards urban art.
The brief was to create a social space on the site of a windswept, concrete plaza. It has now been transformed by artist Professor Callum Morton, Head of the Department of Fine Art at Monash University Art Design and Architecture (MADA),, architects McBride Charles Ryan and landscape architecture studio Oculus into a permanent art installation that encourages people to play, roam and linger. (Read about the fascinating design and fabrication process here).
The inspiration for the abstract colourful sculptures was actually shape of seven iconic statues in Melbourne’s CBD, such as Vault, Burke and Wills and the Marquis of Linlithgow..
The interior of each monument is actually the outline of a Melbourne monument, and then they have been draped with a ‘concrete carpet’ of the Hoddle grid. The idea was to emphasise the idea that Docklands should be regarded not as an isolated precinct but rather as an extension of the city.
The monuments are not placed exactly on their location within the grid and the colours are not representative in any way – more to add some brightness to the concrete area.
The monuments provide colourful play spaces for kids, with steps to climb, notches to use as footholds and slanted slopes for sliding down. The nooks are intended to help shelter people from the wind while they sit and admire the water and the CBD skyline. It’s interactive art that also functions as outdoor furniture.
Monument Park includes some low vegetation which poke through the ‘holes’ in the concrete carpet which will give the concrete sculptures a wild, ruined look once they’re grown and provide a buffer for wind and sun. It’s difficult to grow plants in that space because of the wind coming off from the harbour.
At night the monuments are particularly spectacular as they are automatically lit from within to highlight the colours from afar and create space-like structures that draw in people’s curiosity.
Combine a trip to Monument Park with a visit to the excellent Library at the Dock, the Melbourne Star or a Sunday play session at the Lego Education Centre and you have a family-friendly Docklands adventure for a day!