Award-winning Colour Intervention

UPDATE: This colour supergraphics project won a Landscape Maestro award (see website) and a Master Painters Association Community award (2017). Kesterton Park picnic huts, North Sydney.

The project was timed to coincide with Vivid Sydney 2017 and featured high chroma colour. Colour can play a key role in transforming and revitalizing the urban environment.  Research indicates that colour encourages interaction and engagement, a theme that underpins the continued success of the VIVID Sydney Festival.

Designed by Zena O’Connor, this project was made possible by the generous support of key partners.

  • North Sydney Council – Martin Ellis (Director, Community and Library Services) supported the project and David Manson (Manager, Parks and Reserves) arranged for prepping the huts prior to painting.
  • Resene Paints – Rachael Devine prepared a technical spec and recommended an array of saturated colour, durable and environmentally sustainable paints for the project.
  • Master Painters Association (NSW) – Therese Lauriola (CEO, MPA) liaised with Robin Ottowa (Principal of Summit Coatings) and Sergio Da Silva (General Manager of Decorative Solutions), and the huts were painted by Tom Wood (Summit Coatings), Jayden Olival (apprentice from Decorative Solutions) and Ben Doganer (apprentice from MPA) plus the kind help of Zef Olival.
  • Sydney Harbour Trust – Dr Susan Culverston (Acting Executive Officer) expressed support for the project. The Trust connected their Platypus site to Kesterton Park to provide pedestrian access to North Sydney commuter ferry wharf.

The Makeover Process

The two picnic huts hadn’t been painted since the 1980s and were in need of a makeover: the ‘Heritage’ colour paint had faded and pealed, and the huts looked neglected and uninviting.  The initial design by Zena O’Connor was submitted to North Sydney Council in June 2016 and approval to proceed came through in October 2016.

The picnic huts were water-blasted by Lance Robinson of CMS on behalf of North Sydney Council on 4 May 2017 and the huts were painted on 8 and 9 May 2017.

The Design 

The colour supergraphics design was based on maritime signals (‘Oscar’) as Sydney Harbour is still a working harbour and sailing is a popular local pastime.

Two colour schemes were created, one for each hut and the colours were inspired by red, orange and pink yacht spinnakers,  purple Jacaranda blossoms, blue water and sky, green foliage and yellow sunshine.

Sydney maritime images Zena O'Connor

This is how the picnic huts looked prior to their makeover.

Kesterton huts Zena O'Connor

Colour Supergraphics – work in progress 4 to 8 May 2017.

Colour Supergraphics – completed picnic huts in Kesterton Park, North Sydney, 10 May 2017.

A ‘Grand Opening’ was held on 28 May and attracted a happy crowd. Feedback has all been positive including this letter to the Mosman Daily was published on 1 June 2017.

“The coloured huts are wonderful and the paint job seems to encourage people to look after them better”, Fazeley Read, High Street, North Sydney.

“I can see the picnic huts from my home across Neutral Bay and I love their bright, cheerful colours”, Jilly Gibson, Mayor of North Sydney.

The Kesterton park picnic huts feature on North Sydney Council’s website here.

For more information about HMAS Platypus site and the Sydney Harbour Trust here.