City of Dandenong Interpretive Structures

Merit Award 2015

The City of Dandenong has the most diverse multi-cultural immigrant population in Australia. As part of a major revitalization program, the central commercial district of Dandenong has undergone a significant redevelopment and now boasts an inspiring urban landscape with a very strong design ethos. The design solution needed to reflect that design ethos, respond to a local culture that embraces English as a new and shared language, and reply to the public’s request to understand the history and story of their new home.

The project brief called for a flexible and manageable interpretive solution that could be applied city-wide, adapt visually to local environments,and respond appropriately to the story and history being told. HeineJones’ solution celebrates the English language through laser-cut “hero” words that “erode” one end of the structure, creating a transparent quality, reducing the visual impact, and adding visual interest. The hero words add a layer of interpretation and elicit an emotive response. The remaining section of the structure forms a clean canvas to present detailed information.

HeineJones’ flexible design is realized in a ribbon-like form that can be expressed in various compositions in response to existing structure, furniture, or landscapes. Initial compositions include a vertical, freestanding form; horizontal wall-mounted form; and a form that is “draped” over a concrete plinth. Materials include laser-cut and folded mild steel, zinc electroplating, two-pack paint, and screen printing. The solution is suitably robust, despite its apparent fineness.

The project included research of the interpretive subjects, writing, pedestrian circulation analysis, site selection, design, documentation, and manufacturing and installation management. The solution makes an important contribution to the overall revitalization of Central Dandenong and influences the way the city is understood and experienced by residents and visitors alike.

Jury Comments: 

“This project demonstrates excellent use of typography in a three-dimensional context. Die-cut letterforms dissolve the vertical and horizontal markers in a visually engaging way, while the secondary typography that provides the actual information is effectively integrated into the markers to complement the visual attraction seen from a distance.”

“The bold die-cut typography emerging from a solid form creates a dynamic sculptural form. The "draped" form playfully interacts with existing street architecture and draws the viewer in. The rugged materials and design are well paired with the environment.”

“The unexpected immediacy of form and language creates an enhanced level of engagement with this environment.”

Design Firm: 



City of Greater Dandenong

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Photo Credits: 


Design Team: 

Mike Heine (creative director), Steve Jones (production director)





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