Project Walkthrough: Flinders Quarter Wreath Installation
In late 2021, we were commissioned to create a series of handmade papercraft wreaths as part of the Look.Stop.Shop. campaign for Flinders Quarter, supported by the Metro Tunnel Project.
The 15 giant sculptural paper wreaths were to be hung in different businesses throughout the Flinders Quarter zone of Melbourne CBD, to serve as an open invitation, a welcome back to our city, and a celebration of Flinders Quarter's enduring small business community. They were to be made by hand, and inspired by native botanicals with pops of personality unique to each business. After multiple challenging lockdowns in 2021, we was so honoured to be involved in this special homage to local businesses and the resilience of our community.
THE DESIGN PROCESS
We wanted to include Australian native foliage and flowers in our wreath design as opposed to a more “traditional” Christmas look, as a reference to our location here in Australia. We also wanted each wreath to have a festive feel too, and match other installations happening across Flinders Quarter during the holiday season. We achieved this in our design by juxtaposing native botanical elements with a bit of kitsch, using a glitter foam substrate to create big bows that topped each wreath. This added a glitzy feel that tied in well with the other installations and activations happening across the CBD at the time.
When creating concepts for any project we usually start with paper collages and mock ups as we like to “sketch” in 3D. Next, we scan these paper components and transform them into digital vectors from which to generate mock ups. The digital components can then be scaled and sent to my digital paper cutting machine which we often use for bulk cutting needs (for example, to cut the 2000+ leaves used to create these wreaths). To honour our studio's craft practice however, most elements are cut by hand and everything is always hand assembled. All of our projects tend to start and finish as tactile, physical forms - despite moving through digital phases in the design process.
In this project we actually reversed my usual process, creating a vector mock up first and then using that to generate a small scale physical mock up to test the look and feel. When there are many elements involved in a prop or installation piece, we find this reverse method useful because it allows us to make changes to the design quickly and easily based on client feedback, before moving on to a physical mock up. As you can imagine, it’s time consuming to make multiple physical mock ups so we try to streamline my workflow where we can. As there were 15 different sets of decorations customised to each business as part of this wreath project, it was easier to plan these out digitally before making them by hand.
After all the components were made, we then assembled each wreath by hand, gluing each component individually onto their coreflute backing rings. Overall, production took around 3 weeks from start to finish.
Finished wreaths in the studio, ready for installation!
Over two days, we installed the wreaths across participating businesses within the Flinders Quarter. After conducting a site visit to assess the hanging options, an individual installation plan was created for each business, given that they all had different space layouts and infrastructure to hang from. The installation process was a wonderful opportunity to meet and connect with the local business owners and staff and really enhanced the feeling of solidarity and community that had been present across the entire project.
One of my wreaths hanging in the window of the iconic pub and restaurant Young & Jackson, on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets, Melbourne.
Another handmade wreath, hung in the restaurant of the Double Tree by Hilton hotel on Flinders Street.
Photo by Farley Webb
A huge thanks to Fides & Associates for commissioning us for this project!