The District Docklands - Combining art, activations and signage in a masterplan that delivers.

The District Docklands has undergone a significant transformation!

Following the rebrand in November 2017, the centre has seen significant changes on its journey to transforming into an urban village; an integrated retail, entertainment and leisure precinct. 

Owners AsheMorgan involved NH Architecture to undertake the 5 year Masterplan of the precinct. 3 years into the masterplan sees significant change. The centre has added international retailers H+M, Hoyts Cinemas alongside a new entertainment and dining precinct, a fresh food market place and grocery offer with Woolworths as its anchor and it is in the process of construction of a Marriott hotel. The addition of quality tenants and investment in the community with provisions to support the local and adjacent suburbs has already given The District Docklands a boost in activity and will provide longevity and amenity into the future.

In an article in SCN, AsheMorgan’s founder and Principal, Michael Moss stresses the point: “There’s meaning in the new name,” he says. “Docklands is now established and The District Docklands will become its village, its community space, its heart and its public expression. We are looking to create a ‘place’ rather than a shopping centre. We want this to be an integral part of the landscape of Docklands where the environment is an oasis for families, residents, tourists and workers that is part of, but different from the hustle and bustle of the CBD. Docklands is real and is maturing into a powerful and important marketplace.”

Our creative studio worked closely with NH Architecture, AsheMorgan and Conversion Partners to provide a wayfinding strategy that was underpinned by the new brand and vision for the architecture and public realm. With the rebrand and change of logo we were given the unique opportunity to completely redesign the signage and wayfinding across the entire precinct. This presented opportunities to further weave the brand into the architecture and public realm and to provide cohesion to all branded touchpoints onsite.

The narrative set into to our concepts were inspired by the form and shapes derived from the monogram of the new identity and distilled the uniqueness of the docklands into the design. The use of flexible cores in the form of piers from the neighbouring docks or vertical gardens enabled the design to adapt to the various needs of the site and modes of use. One of the core pillars for AsheMorgan was for the site to be an urban oasis, filled with greenery in an inner urban context. It was therefore essential that our design responded and allowed for this outcome. 

A complete signage suite was designed and delivered; with the implementation of stage one being completed in 2018 and continuous involvement in ongoing development at the site. Placemaking activations, entries, tenant branding, building ID, wayfinding totems, amenities and directional signs were all part of the dramatic inclusions. A digital strategy was developed to align to the signage strategy and provided integration with the architecture, viewing distance review and analysis and curation of specialist digital artists. This desire to integrate the digital is instilled in vision for the redevelopment.

Bill Giouroukos says, “At The District we have a vision beyond the physical retail offer. Our plan is to embrace digital best practices from leading world markets to deliver a seamless physical and digital retail experience.” 

Bill is a seasoned retail development executive who has occupied senior positions with Westfield in Australia, the US and UK, and has been brought in by AsheMorgan to assist with the redevelopment of The District Docklands.

The investment in quality design, with a focus on an integration of art and infrastructure sees the immediate success of The District Docklands and will ensure ongoing longevity. Over the next 12 months, The District Docklands take its place as a seamless extension to the Melbourne CBD.