Meet the Maker: Claire Martin, associate director of Oculus, behind Seafarers riverside oasis

Understanding more than ever in the 21st century, the importance of connectivity between people and the environment, Oculus reinforces our relationship to the environment through their work designing Seafarers Rest and the landscaping at Seafarers. Claire Martin, associate director of Oculus, shares the team’s vision, design and inspiration behind Seafarers’ landscape design.

“The thing about landscape is that it’s always there, people don’t see themselves as separate to their environment.”

Infusing Seafarers’ approach to incorporating new with the effort to retain the history of the original site through urban renewal, Claire and the team at Oculus have thoughtfully crafted the landscape design to maintain a simplistic approach, where less is more.

In some ways I quite like the simplicity of the project so I think we’re not trying to over-design it, I think what we’re trying to do is as much by what we’re not doing as it is by what we are doing”.

Seafarers will be home to Melbourne’s first international hotel-branded residences and 1 Hotel, bringing eco-luxury living like never seen before. With interiors designed to bring nature indoors, Claire comments on the collaboration between Oculus, 1 Hotels and the architecture and interiors teams, coming together synonymously to elevate future residents’ lifestyles at Seafarers.

 “Connecting us with our environment and the wellness benefits of that and the air quality improvements that it brings. I think that collaboration is really about exploring, a sort of holistic and healthful kind of approach” says Claire, Associate Director of Oculus.

Seafarers’ upper-level terrace is designed to have an undulating experience; meaning you are meant to feel immersed in the landscape. By using predominantly, a selection of Australian native plants throughout, Oculus is framing the views and the character of the building, including its surrounding Seafarers Rest public park.

“We’ve really worked hard to try and design this to be for the everyday, so if you’re just visiting, passing through a place to sit, a place to read, a place to work on your laptop,” says Claire.

Claire and the team at Oculus have designed Seafarers Rest with the underlying goal of making new green space for the people living in the surrounding Northbank area and visitors to the precinct.

The purpose of Seafarers Rest is a refurbishment of an existing park asset. I think what’s really important about these sorts of spaces is that we are seeing a sort of reduction in public open space, increased density in the city so our spaces have to work harder and that’s where we’ve really worked hard to try and design this to be for the everyday,” says Claire in regard to the design of Seafarers Rest.

Seafarers Rest, set to be complete in 2024, is a 3,500 square metre public green space by development group Riverlee, approved by the City of Melbourne in their development of public spaces.