How Joost Bakker Transformed The Lexus Melbourne Cup Marquee Into An Eco Aussie Haven

A day at the races isn’t exactly known for its sustainable credentials, particularly the biggest event in the country -- the Lexus Melbourne Cup.

The race that stops the nation is getting a strikingly green makeover this year by acclaimed Aussie artist and environmental activist Joost Bakker.

Forget the typical bright roses and neon turf, this year Lexus’ guest pavilion housed within the birdcage, now known as LANDMARK by Lexus, will be transformed into a native floral wonderland, plucked straight from the Victorian bush.

Image: supplied

Bakker -- who is behind zero-waste restaurants such as Melbourne’s Silo and Perth’s Greenhouse – has incorporated his masterful designs within LANDMARK by Lexus, a three story pavilion that embodies luxury, style and design. Returning to the modular steel frame building, which produces no waste whatsoever, is something of a homecoming for him, and a chance to redecorate.

Image: supplied

Rather than a lick of fresh paint however, guests of LANDMARK by Lexus are set to be awed by canopies of freshly harvested eucalyptus nuts, entire walls covered in earthy silver foliage, cars over spilling with leaves and tables adorned with paper bark and branches.

“I want people to change how people see Australian native flowers,” says Bakker.

“There's almost no Australian native flowers that suffer from pests or diseases and they don't need to be sprayed for fungus whereas a lot of exotic flowers that are popular today do, so just by simply choosing Australian plants you're doing a great thing for the environment.”

Image: supplied

When entering LANDMARK by Lexus, guests will be greeted by the Lexus LC Convertible protoype – an Australian first preview to the model, which will be overflowing with beautiful Aussie foliage. This same installation was recently in Sydney as part of the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour.

Inside on the first floor, and almost growing from the ceiling, a wall draped with native leaves, textures and scents will captivate Lexus’ guests as they enter the pavilion. Expect your Insta feeds flooded with this other-worldly backdrop.

Upstairs on the second floor of LANDMARK by Lexus, however, is the real star of the show -- a ceiling design piece that will make you think twice about the humble, or as Bakker calls them, ‘daggy’, Australian gum nut.

Although we typically find gum nuts on the ground, guests will have the pleasure of viewing this from below, with the gum nut installation being suspended from the ceiling.

“They're absolutely stunning at the moment. The side that gets sun when they hang on the tree is a beautiful purple and burnt orange colour and the side that's in the shade is a lime green. Once you pull them from the tree and suspend them you see that mix of colours that would otherwise be hidden in the shadows,” says Bakker.

For those lucky enough to be feasting on dishes by this year’s sustainable chefs Matt Stone and Jo Barrett of Oakridge Wines, will experience the power of omotenashi, known as Japanese-style hospitality which anticipates a guest’s needs before they even have to ask. Guests will be dining on tables showcasing our country’s exotic-looking flowers.

“Israel is the largest grower of Australian native flowers in the world, which is crazy. I'm really hoping that this is going to create a bit of a revolution and an appeal around the plants and flowers that evolved here and belong here.”

“I just want people to walk away and go wow, you know we live in an incredible place and these beautiful elements are all around us,” concludes Bakker.

Everyone will have the opportunity to see Joost’s floral installation inside the LC Coupe at The Park throughout the Melbourne Cup Carnival, giving guests a chance to experience and appreciate Lexus’ commitment to innovation, luxury and design.

For more information, click here.