Experience an Urban Forest with BMD's Kauri Lounge

A team of Bachelor of Media Design students have partnered with the Ellen Melville Centre to create an ‘urban forest’ installation, as part of a series of Conservation Week activations.

The 'Kauri Lounge’ has taken over the centre's Helen Clark Room and uses a combination of projections, sculptures and sound effects to simulate a New Zealand bush setting in and around the existing lounge seating.

Throughout Conservation Week the Ellen Melville Centre has also been playing host to a series of talks and school visits intended to raise awareness of kauri dieback disease, an issue that is especially pertinent in light of the recent closure of Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges.

Students, Donald Mavunga, Sameera Khan, Mitchell Starns, Jaromme Lawn, Adam Smith and Andrew Eiserman, are in their second year of the Bachelor of Media Design, specialising in Interactive Design and UX. They were briefed by the centre’s management Ateesh Patel and Leesa Tilley to create an activation of the community space for people to experience the sights and sounds of a forest in the heart of central Auckland and learn a little about kauri dieback disease and the native forest that we cherish so much.” 

After an extensive planning and prototyping period, the group reached a final concept that would enable them to transform the space and educate the public, without impacting functionality.

“We were looking to create an inviting experience, but also inform (the general public) on the epidemic throughout our kauri. Kauri dieback disease is a critical issue to our environment’s ecology and we have been presented the opportunity to bring more awareness to the situation,” says student Donald Mavunga of the project.

Adam Smith adds, “The kauri dieback project at the Ellen Melville Centre has been a great learning experience, from dealing with a client to tackling the issue, and spreading the importance of the kauri tree and awareness of the disease that is unfortunately wiping these trees out.”

If you haven't already seen it, make sure to pop in next time you're passing! The Facebook event can be found here, which also includes the guest-speaker timetable. 

To find out what else is happening during Conservation Week (15 - 23 September), visit the Department of Conservation's website