NGV Design Competition

An immersive installation by a small architecture practice, a writer and a scent designer Bushfires are an integral part of the Australian landscape. Cool Burn imagines the scorched aftermath of a bushfire. A series of blackened telegraph poles represent a forest of charred tree trunks. A bleached timber floor laid radially slopes from all directions to a circular clearing, which offers a counterpoint to the rectangular plan of the whole. Here, an integrated seat at the periphery on one side of the cleared space forms a meeting space and grass underfoot leads to the garden beyond.


The installation is designed to change over time to reflect the revitalisation of the bush after a fire. Small pebble/planter beds will feature native Australian plants that will slowly grow up and green the space. Scents will be designed inspired by the Australian landscape and bushfire: the first scent will be smokey and charred, the second fresh and the third a blossom scent. A soundscape, mist and lighting will further engage the senses. The name “Cool Burn” refers to the Indigenous Australian practice of burning small areas of land when the weather is cool and still. This vital land management skill has been practiced by Indigenous Australians for millennia. In addition to the existing team, consultants regarding planting, soundscape and Indigenous culture will be engaged to develop the project.