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Two Australian projects of geological and cultural significance – From Art to Part

ACO Freestyle Grates

In 2018, ACO’s Freestyle grates were installed in two high profile Australian projects – the Market to Riverbank Link in Adelaide and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) at the University of Sydney.

The Market to Riverbank Link is a joint venture project by the City of Adelaide and the State Government (through Renewal SA). It involves the upgrade of the city’s key streets to create an exciting and vibrant connection between the Adelaide Central Market and the Adelaide Riverbank. In this project, designers wanted to achieve a picturesque route for pedestrians and cyclists through paved footpaths, tree canopies, public art, lighting and street furniture.

Designers engaged an artist, Amy Joy Watson to develop a design inspired by the natural pattern shapes of geode mineral deposits, an acknowledgment to the evolution of the local geology of the region.

“As if uncovered by an archaeologist the banded pattern running through the drainage grates and carved out of the seating elements seem to unveil traces of ancient landscapes and rock formations…” “…These artworks speak to the layers of history, cultures, stories and time that has brought us to where we are now,” Amy Joy Watson

The ‘Geode’ grate is also featured on the joint venture website  

Iron Grates

As part of a $700 million investment in new campus infrastructure, a six-storey building was constructed at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS), University of Sydney. The adjacent public area is punctuated by ACO’s Freestyle grates positioned both at the top and bottom of stairs where the direction of the trench run and the design of the grate (featuring distinctive art) is deliberately orientated as to appear to flow down the stairs between the 2 levels.

“The design was related in part to a strategy the university has about recognising indigenous culture and the split in the two levels across the site. The site design worked as a line that connected the 2 levels and based on the organic form and flow of water between the two levels and these spaces the grate design emerged.” Keith Stead, Oculus

ACO’s Freestyle grate offering is part of ACO Australia’s Heelsaferegistration mark Anti-Slip strategy. Heelsaferegistration mark Anti-Slip is a philosophy imbedded into a distinct range of architectural grates underpinned by five key principles aimed at promoting safe drainable pavement design for urban architectural applications. The designers of both projects adhered, in particular, to the principle of “slip resistance” and therefore for both grates; a target slip resistance rating was specified. This meant for the ‘Geode’ grate 3D printed specimens had to be created and slip tested prior to signoff. The final castings were also slip tested.

For more info about the five principles underpinning ACO’s Heelsaferegistration mark Anti-Slip philosophy, visit

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