Monash University students win Secret Garden Melbourne competition

Two students from Monash University have won first place in the inaugural The Secret Garden Melbourne Ideas competition at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS).

Francesca Sanguinetti and Jeanette Stoffregen won the garden design competition after a competitive showcase and judging process. The Secret Garden Melbourne Ideas competition launched by Committee for Melbourne, renowned landscape architect Jack Merlo and MIFGS received over 150 creative ideas to transform an existing underused ‘grey’ space along the north bank of the Yarra River – Birrarung in Melbourne’s CBD into a ‘green garden activation.

The top three finalists were each given a budget of $5,000 to build and exhibit their concept in a 4m x 4m space at MIFGS. In addition to Merlo, the judging panel included Mayor Sally Capp, Carolyn White – Associate Director of Bates Smart, Matt Gaffney – Melbourne Committee Acting CEO and MIFGS representative Martin Semken.

The winning duo’s ‘Riparian’ concept will be brought to life later this year in collaboration with Merlo.

The Riparian concept was chosen for its innovative design, functionality and sustainable features, as well as its ability to connect with the community day and night, Merlo explained.

“Each of the finalists presented extremely unique designs that really impressed the judging panel, but there could only be one winner! Congratulations to Francesca and Jeanette for their thoughtful waterfront concept which highlighted careful attention to the story of the site and was very well presented and executed. I look forward to working with them to realize their vision later this year,” said Merlo.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the future Secret Garden Melbourne pop-up will surprise and delight residents, business owners and visitors, helping them to feel connected and engaged with the city as it emerges from the pandemic.

“Congratulations to the Melbourne Committee leadership team. You have been focused on turning ideas into results and have delivered something truly special with the Secret Garden Melbourne Ideas competition. We are so excited about this program, which supports and nurtures talented up-and-coming creators.The ideas presented will help us transform public gray spaces into green spaces within our city, addressing sustainability issues and supporting Melbourne into the future.

Planning for the Secret Garden Melbourne pop-up will begin in April 2022, with the green space expected to be open to the public once completed.

Image: provided

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