Refugees Welcome Hatch Seat

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Nicholas Camerer’s prize-winning Hatch Seat is the new centrepiece of a community garden for Karen refugees.

Street Furniture Australia manufactured the seat as part of the Intergrain Urban Timber Project competition, which challenged graduate and student landscape architects to design a meaningful piece for the Historic Farm Precinct in Victoria.

The resurrected kitchen garden is a place for Karen refugees from Burma to learn new skills and share their culture, the result of a volunteer program by Parks Victoria and Werribee Park in partnership with AMES (Adult Multicultural Education Services).

Camerer’s design features red, white and blue panels to represent the colours of both the Karen and Australian flags. Robust timber cross beams double as a leaning rack for gardening tools when not in use as a seat.

The landscape architect, from Fremantle’s Ecoscape, travelled from Western Australia to see the unveiling of the seat for the first time in situ, in the flesh (or wood).

“It was fantastic to get over to Melbourne for a few days, to meet with the Parks Victoria managers, sponsors, and people who made it happen, especially the inspiring and warm Karen people of Burma,” says Camerer.

“Walking through the historic site, seeing the well-kept and productive kitchen garden and speaking with and tasting the lunch the Karen people prepared for everyone was a great way to round off the experience.

“Projects that aim to inspire, educate and strengthen communities are a pleasure to be involved with. This one offered the opportunity to flex a detailed design muscle within a well written brief, to meet the people involved, and see the piece built to a high level of craftsmanship. I know it will get plenty of use in the garden.”

Constructed by Street Furniture Australia’s production team in Sydney, the curved timber bench allows for easy maintenance and cleaning, and fits within the arc of an existing curved space.

In addition to the kudos of having a design brought to life, the first Intergrain Urban Timber Project came with a $2,000 cash prize, a mentoring lunch with an industry professional, 50 litres of Intergrain product and a one year Graduate AILA membership.

The winning design was chosen by a panel of industry leaders from AILA, Parks Victoria, Intergrain and Street Furniture Australia.

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Hatch Seat in the Werribee Park community garden.

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Featuring the colours of the Karen and Australian flags.

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A community lunch to celebrate.


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