Inspired by industrial chic, and designed with a focus on sustainability and resilience, the refurbishment followed a period of intensive cleaning and involved installation of a living green wall and timber cladding and feature lighting, as well as drainage work and removal of the existing canopy.
The lane’s most innovative feature is a 24-hour digital screen dedicated to moving image art. Known as Masons Screen, the project is a partnership between the Council and CIRCUIT Artist Film and Video Aotearoa and will showcase 12 new and existing works in its pilot year, including three specially commissioned pieces.
This combination of urban design and public art highlights the creativity of the capital, says Mayor Celia Wade-Brown who believes the revitalisation will encourage people on foot to use the lane.
“Council is committed to improving the attractiveness and safety of laneways in this most walkable capital. Masons Lane is the direct result of the 2012 Smart Capital Plan to create a dynamic and connected city”
Councillor Nicola Young, Central City Projects portfolio leader, who campaigned for Wellington’s lanes to become a feature of the inner city, says collaboration was the key to success.
“Masons Lane is the most important of the CBD lanes because it links office workers on The Terrace with Lambton Quay’s shops; it’s also been the most difficult, due to the complexities of removing the canopy which wasn’t owned by the Council.
“Once the adjacent property owner agreed to pay for the canopy’s removal, the upgrade could proceed. The result is terrific – now Masons Lane is intriguing, when it used to be dark and a bit scary.”
Local business owners are also delighted with the sophisticated upgrade and the exciting Masons Screen project.
Managing Director of First Retail Group Ltd. Chris Wilkinson predicts a retail renaissance in the area, aided by the refurbishment and the opening of the new Jamie Oliver restaurant in the old Public Trust Building.
“Projects like the improvements to Masons Lane in Lambton Quay will inspire renewed investment in the area, people will want to be there as it’s quite beautiful –it’s a look I wouldn’t mind recreating in my own home.”