Artwork by the harbour taken down, with “immediate” beautifications being explored 

Artwork by the harbour taken down, with “immediate” beautifications being explored 
Brendan Rees

A timber art installation that occupied a space along Harbour Esplanade for more than a decade has been removed after it was engulfed by flames in September.

The structure, known as the Sealight Pavilion, opened in November 2022 after it was commissioned between Monash University, Rintala Eggertsson Architects and Grimshaw Architects and supported by Development Victoria (DV).

The recycled timber – which included a tower and a cantilever – was chosen to amplify the experience of “the natural phenomena of sea, sky and light” while offering a place to meet, to “escape the elements, or simply to witness the passage of time”.

However, a fire tore through the installation on September 16, with the cause being unknown, although Victoria Police said it was not being treated as suspicious.

Fire crews were called to the structure fire near Latrobe St just before 12.30am, which was brought under control within six minutes.

Docklands News inspected the charred remains of the structure days after the fire however the cantilever appeared undamaged. 

DV confirmed in late November that the installation had been safely removed from its location after it was “damaged beyond repair by fire”.


“We will continue to work closely with the City of Melbourne on future activation opportunities that will benefit the community and promote the vitality of the precinct,” a DV spokesperson said.


It is not known whether another structure will be erected to fill its place, however the City of Melbourne is pushing to beautify Harbour Esplanade with “immediate” temporary measures including relocatable planter boxes, public benches, public artwork, and additional greening being suggested.

“There is an opportunity to partner with Development Victoria to deliver physical improvements and a program of small-scale activation at Yanonung Quay on Harbour Esplanade; leveraging the recent investment by Port Phillip Ferries,” a council report said.

“This proposal would create a community focal point, including a platform for community events and place-based engagement which can be realised within the next 12-24 months.”

The council will also seek an update from DV on a public art fund while also investigating opportunities for creative spaces, and options to “celebrate the water as a unique element of Docklands”. •


Caption: Sealight Pavillion after fire engulfed the art installation.

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