Watershed, Melbourne Knowledge Week Hub   Melbourne, Australia

Watershed was an installation that literally wrapped around the events at the Melbourne Knowledge Week (MKW18) hub, transforming an iconic heritage-listed building into an inspiring future-looking festival space.


Its design took its cues from the term ‘watershed’, a landscape form which Grimshaw interpreted as a collector of ideas, turning points, and breakthrough moments about the city of Melbourne’s future. The concept also acknowledgement of water as our most sacred and increasingly scarce resource.

Comprising of approximately one square kilometre of netting, the tensile structure was manipulated to provide an atmospheric experience of movement and light.

Watershed was an exploration of surfaces and movement which exploited the properties of the netting to create a form that stretched and flowed, at times creating a moiré effect within the space. A data-driven lighting projection activated and illuminated the netting to add further depth to the installation.

Stretching to lengths of 25 metres, the netting was connected by rope to existing theatre rigging elements within the interior of the Meat Market.

In addition to the netting, vintage artefacts of hydraulic engineering – enormous wood casting moulds salvaged by Supa Dupa Industries – spoke to the scale and purpose of servicing our cities, prompting visitors to the hub to think about what this infrastructure may look like in the future.

The Tensilation Modular Canopy System → created by Grimshaw’s Industrial Design Team in collaboration with manufacturer MDT-tex, provided a shapely waterproof shelter for the exterior spaces of the hub.

With a global reputation for exciting and innovative work, Grimshaw have delivered an amazing and unique experience. As a key partner for Melbourne Knowledge Week 2018, Grimshaw exemplifies the depth of design and architectural excellence found in Melbourne and which helps to drive the vibrant knowledge economy in our great city.

Councillor Dr Jackie Watts , Chair of the Knowledge City portfolio, City of Melbourne

Melbourne, Australia

Project Type
Culture and Exhibition Halls →



Michael Kai