Tasting Australia - Building A Better Town Square

30 April - By Robyn Sharpe

The word CHARRED created from fire-blackened tree branches across the entranceway to Tasting Australia in Adelaide’s Town Square is a dramatic indication of what to expect once you get inside.

The creative inspiration behind the Town Square site is a collaboration between Event Manager Ross Ganf and award-winning outdoor event designer Geoff Cobham. The design aims to achieve several things: for the look of the site to be different to all other food festivals and unique to Tasting Australia; for the key structural elements to be reusable for future festivals, and to make it more open and accessible to the public as a free event.

The look and the layout has reached far beyond standard white tents encircling an oval. “We wanted people to have to work a bit harder to find things and to find their mates, as standing around in the middle of an open field can get a bit boring,” said Ross. “Also, you should be able to see a photo from Tasting Australia and know exactly where it is, and know that it couldn’t be any other food festival.”

To achieve this, Ross and Geoff created some distinctive food stalls made out of modified shipping containers with fire blackened timber fascia, and laid out in a way that encourages patrons to investigate everything at the site. Rustic outdoor tables and seating made from recycled timber and pallets weave between and surround various fire pits, adding atmosphere to the outdoor dining setting and reinforcing the Charred theme.

Impressively, six flat pack glasshouses have popped-up into fully functioning restaurants. These restaurants will feature many notable chefs showcasing their skills over the week-long festival. Construction of the glasshouses was completed in six days, and finished on Friday morning – just in time for the Sunday launch.

A primary feature of the site’s design is a very low perimeter fence, so that people walking past can easily see in and want to be a part of the activity. “This was an absolutely key feature, as we want the event to be welcoming to everyone and not to be seen as an exclusive or paid-entry event,” said Ross.

Most elements were created with not only design function in mind, but working within budget constraints, as well as using materials that are sustainably sourced. Ross plans to use all of these major elements at future events over the next three years, meaning that the materials are sustainable, and the unique look of Tasting Australia’s new Town Square will continue.

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