Jacarandas – Sydney International Airport

Our client and customer, Geyer and Heinemann respectively, approached Stem & Stamen to design, supply and install 180 metres of preserved hanging gardens that would sit up to 5 metres overhead and provide a canopy throughout the Heinemann Duty Free area of T1 Sydney International Airport.  The concept quickly outgrew the intial name ‘Jacaranda’ that became more of a metaphor for the canopy that was envisaged.  In the words of Caitlin Mills-Sheehy from Geyer, the aim was to “create something with the feel of a garden that’s sprung from the rooftops after a bird flies across and drops it’s seeds”.  Ofcourse, we jumped at the creative opportunity and the result with the combination of lighting and material finishes, is spectacular.

The sheer size of the structures that our preserved gardens were to be installed into meant that our preserved gardens initially disappeared, however with the addition of more species and cascading plants, the effect was marvellous.

Our preserved gardens have no soil, water, sunlight or maintenance upkeep other than dusting every few months, which were the main points of interest for Heinemann as they would cut down on considerable maintenance costs when it comes to accessing the gardens at such heights and working within the limits of the Sydney Airport.

One of the main challenges we faced with this project were the limitations around site access, given the security requirements and curfew restrictions that meant working 10pm-3am when working in the areas open to the public, air-side.  The Stem & Stamen team grew to love working during nightshift, and the comradery amongst the other nightshift crews and the site managers at MPA Projects made the whole experience one to remember.