The Ian Potter Southbank Centre (Melbourne Conservatorium of Music)

Finalist 2020

The Ian Potter Southbank Centre was designed as a purpose-built home for the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM), a University of Melbourne (UoM) faculty. Among its established neighbors, MCM’s new home required a clear public identity, addressing its dual function as a public performance venue and a university teaching space. The project sought to announce a new home for Australia’s oldest and most prestigious music institution – a bold and contemporary identity for a landmark new addition to the Melbourne Arts Precinct.

The scope of works included wayfinding strategy, concept design, design development, tender documentation and construction administration. MCM required a wayfinding system that would allow visitors to both find their new home and then navigate through it effectively. The solution and its messaging had to break down the barrier of MCM as a university building and ensure both its functions were well known to the public; that it is a performance space as well as a student learning space. Neon was selected for the main building signage on the facade for its boldness and sense of craft and vitality. Referencing the language of nightlife, exhibition and entertainment, it embodies the student journey from practice to performance; a place of learning as well as ‘center stage.’ It is inviting and prompts visitors to enter and engage with the space. The wayfinding design subtlety draws on musical references. The ‘monospace’ typeface provides each character with a consistent measure and weight, like a bar or a beat. The musical stave was reinterpreted as a visual underline, which anchors content and branches out for multi-line text.

The Melbourne Conservatorium of Music stands out from the crowd, and its new amenities allow students to connect with and immerse themselves in the arts precinct and neighboring buildings.


Design Firms: 



University of Melbourne

Project Area: 


Open Date: 

March 2019

Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 

Trevor Mein, Adrian Vecino

Design Team: 

Adrian Vecino (design, wayfinding strategy), Mark Janetzki (creative direction), Jack Normoyle, Todd Dawson (industrial design, design development), Danielle Churton (design management), Paul Sparks (technical direction)


John Wardle Architects (architects), Donald Cant Watts Corke (project managers)


Unknown (manufacture and installation)

Related Links: 

New Member Offer

Click to access the 2020 "Never been an SEGD member before" $185 sign up offer

Upcoming SEGD Events

2023 Careers in Experiential Design
2023 Wayfinding and Placemaking
2023 Experience Washington D.C.