Lendlease – Darling Square
Stitching a new place into the fabric of a city
Darling Square is an urban regeneration project we undertook in partnership with Lendlease to bring Sydney’s newest inner-city precinct to life. Over five blocks and a series of streets, laneways and public squares, we created a thriving neighbourhood that responds to the community's needs through distinct precincts that unite to form a holistic offering unlike anywhere else.
We developed an overarching strategic position that allowed us to create a grounded sense of place. Driven by research insights that city-dwellers were increasingly feeling alone, we developed a strategy grounded in the idea of ‘For the people’ – cementing human connection as the core of Darling Square.
For the overarching Darling Square brand, we created an energetic overarching identity that was full of personality. Visually, the identity represents the concept of a neighbourhood taking ‘shape’ by playing with shapes, the square and other forms discoverable in the urban environment to encapsulate a place with a youthful spirit and urban energy.
From an isolated district to a connected neighbourhood
We used this positioning idea as a platform for the development of the many precincts that made up Darling Square. Each was named, and, where appropriate, we created an identity to ensure each place had a personality and story.
One such precinct at the heart of Darling Square is The Exchange, designed by world-renowned architects Kengo Kuma and Associates. A mixed-use building, The Exchange includes a ground-floor market hall, mezzanine restaurant and two-level City of Sydney library. In addition to creating an identity for the building, we developed a leasing campaign to sell The Exchange to a select group of potential buyers. To do this, we focused on the story of the architect and the unique opportunity to own an iconic building in Sydney’s heart. Ultimately, The Exchange was sold for upwards of $70 million.
We also developed brand architecture for several secondary precincts within the Darling Square umbrella. We oversaw placemaking and wayfinding for precincts like Steam Mill Lane and Little Hay Street to flesh out the Darling Square offering and create a rounded, well-connected neighbourhood.
From a lack of energy to a thriving destination
Energised precincts within Darling Square were key to bringing in outsiders and turning the neighbourhood into a destination. Tapping into the importance of food and experiential offerings for young city-dwellers and drawing them to Darling Square was Maker’s Dozen. An innovative food destination, the precinct featured 12 handpicked local retailers as well as regular events programming.
From no community connection to increased community engagement
To communicate the Darling Square offering, we developed audience touchpoints like campaigns, social media content and a neighbourhood newspaper. All of these engagement points utilised photography that celebrated experiences, featured people connecting with each other, and were written with a strong tone of voice that gave Darling Square a true personality.
As a result, the campaign received a staggering response in market, with digital and physical assets reaching many millions of people and an exceptional earned media response worth millions of dollars.
Within Darling Square, a number of precincts also won local and international recognition – with The Exchange making TIME Magazine’s 2021 World’s Greatest Places list and Steam Mill Lane winning Concrete Playground’s People’s Choice Award 2018.