The City of Newcastle Night-time Spaces (The Henges)

  • 2022

  • Product
    Commercial and Industrial

Designed By:

Commissioned By:

City Of Newcastle

Designed In:


The “Henges” are part of the City of Newcastle’s After Dark: Night-Time Economy Strategy, delivering an innovative solution to activate public spaces prone to antisocial behaviour. Bringing these spaces to life through the use of smart sensors, sound, light, augmented reality and interactive artwork that encourages playful interaction.

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  • The primary challenge was to create a multimedia, interactive, art-based display that encourages behavioural change by activating problematic and underutilised public spaces. Other significant challenges were overcome during product development of the standalone, off-grid, hot swappable, modular, manufacturable, vandal-proof and inclusive Henges. All while during COVID-19 which caused chaotic supply chain disruption and a compressed timeline of four months, meant our team needed to draw on all of our design, manufacturing and project management know-how in order to deliver this project.

  • The Henges draw people into spaces that are otherwise disserted and ominous and encourage discovery, play and interaction within the space. They enhance the space through the use of light, sound, and art with augmented reality overlays and visual appeal. They are self-sufficient (generating and storing their own power), weather and vandal proof, easily deployable and re-deployable. And give the public a multimedia art experience. The artwork is updated on a 3-month rotation, enabling cultural consumption of local and international leading artists.

  • An activated, safe and engaging night-time public space adds immense value by increasing participation in Newcastle’s 1.6-billion-dollar night-time economy. Additionally, this project provided local jobs, technology transfer and a test bed for universities and councils to test and refine the activations. The Henges are designed and built to last, hot swappable, modular, recyclable, off-grid, plug and play structures made from durable and sustainable materials such as Greencrete.

  • The key features of the Henges comprise: - Off-grid standalone solar and battery powered - Projected capacitive touch sensor driven user interface. - Built on a modular platform that is easily configured for different experiences, applications or locations - Hot swappable design which enables fast deployment and relocation - Onboard ultra-low power processor that controls lights, sound, sensors and switches. And also provides data on batter voltage, temperature and interactions with the Henges - Client brandable - Designed and manufactured for longevity using durable materials, Greencrete for the concrete components - Upgradable to include e-ink, touch foil or 55-inch monitor - Weatherproof and thermally managed enclosures - Designed for disassembly and recycling - Collaboration between Design Anthology, City of Newcastle and Fastlabs