Image–Madelynne Cornish

Water is the theme of this year’s Melbourne food and Wine Festival and the cyclical journey which water takes has inspired design firm HASSELL in their implementation of The Immersery: Festival Kitchen Bar and Raingarden. The three-tier structure built on a former rail bridge will include an urban viewing platform surrounded by a cloud of piping and an immersive water-themed soundscape by Philip Samartzis titled Cloud.

Cloud‚ articulates the Australian experience of weather patterns and water ecology. Standing in the dynamic atmosphere shaping the Yarra river, we are aurally transported through the water cycle: liquid in our rivers, creeks, oceans and bodies; up into cloud formations; downwards with the falling rain, thunderstorms and snow. Travelling across Australian landscapes from the Alps to the Kimberley, then South into the Australian Antarctic Territory, each sound is embedded within the variable rhythm of our weather system. This composition includes field recordings from the Bogong Centre for Sound Culture archive.

Rain-gardens of drought tolerant plants will be planted in reclaimed 40-gallon drums. The gardens will serve an educational purpose, informing visitors about the process of capturing and recycling water and its role in growing plants and food. Melbourne Water will use the space to celebrate its role in providing the city’s drinking water by exploring the journey water takes from Melbourne’s protected catchment areas through urban areas into the bay.

The Immersery project is a part of Horticulture Australia’s 2020 Vision campaign, which aims to increase green urban spaces by 20% by 2020.