In 2019, after a competitive tender process, Chas Clarkson was engaged by Brisbane Marketing to deliver their innovative ‘Play Space’ concept for Queen Street Mall.
A hyper-real, immersive ‘Merry Christmas’ decoration program that was designed to take the level of visitor engagement to a whole new level. A summer Christmas celebration that was uniquely Brisbane and a ‘must-see experience’ in the annual Brisbane Christmas calendar.
Brisbane Marketing’s brief clearly stipulated that they wanted to completely reinvent how 750,000 visitors to Queen Street Mall would experience and engage with the city’s Christmas decorations. They were looking for an original, non-traditional approach to the festive decorations in the mall – with a key focus on the ability to enrich visitors’ experiences, spark user-generated content and integrate activation programs along the mall for all to enjoy.
Brisbane Marketing set very specific criteria for the decoration program: aesthetic value, day and night-time presence, have a minimum 5-year lifespan, quality of design, value for money, and proven capability to deliver with exemplary WHS practices.
The decoration program was required to integrate seamlessly into the Brisbane Christmas program, thus it needed to embody its brand values and adopt its visual language.
Innovation was abundant in both the design and delivery approach for the Queen Street Mall project.
With the design, our team of cross-discipline designers and engineers chose to approach the suite of decorations using new and inventive techniques to meet the needs and challenges of the brief and to innovate within the industry.
The decoration suite was manufactured using either the latest 3D printing technology, or recyclable stainless steel to be more sustainable than traditional production practices. Using this method of engineering and construction will also allow the decorations to withstand 5 years of Queensland’s extreme heat and high winds.
This method also allowed us to produce the decorations as a ‘kit of parts’, fashioned to have the ability to be re-skinned or recoloured to last the minimum 5-year life span of the project. The parts were designed to fit together like giant-sized “Kinder Surprise” toys that can be placed into position with ease and simplicity, providing the capacity to assemble and install them over only 2 nights.
The ‘Merry Christmas Brisbane’ campaign was Chas Clarkson’s most socially-shared project to date and was a resounding success. However, there were a number of challenges that had to be overcome during the project.
The majority of these were in relation to production due to the new, innovative methods that were employed.
40% of the decorations were to be produced using 3D printing, which at the time was an unproven material for large public pieces in Brisbane. Therefore, there was a lengthy period of due diligence and research & development that was required before production could commence.
As we wanted this to be an immersive and interactive experience for visitors without barriers or supervision, we had to comply with and adapt the design to stringent health and safety codes specified by Brisbane Council.
As there was a history of graffiti, vandalism and weather damage within the Queen Street Mall precinct, we had to complete a vast amount of experimentation with the production materials in order to deliver decorations that would be hyper-resilient for the duration of the campaign.
This project was produced by a local and international network of suppliers who are all striving to lower their carbon footprint and ethically source their manufacturing materials. All the decorations within the suite of decorations can be broken down and stripped into their various base materials (such as PVC, aluminium, plastic, etc.) and be recycled.
The progressively-minded Brisbane Marketing Team supported Chas Clarkson’s recommendation to produce 40% of their decorative installations via Australian 3D printing technology, which prints with a PVC composite and once cleaned from its coating can be chipped down and reused again in the 3D printing process.