The 'Float'

“Creating an inspired local landmark”

Executive Summary

The Ponds is one of Australia’s fastest growing residential communities and Fleetwood has been involved from the earliest stages of its development. We’ve executed a wide range of large and important landscape structure elements for our client, UrbanGrowth NSW, including shelters, bridges, viewing decks, boardwalks and public artworks. Among our most prominent projects has been The ‘Float’, an award-winning public art installation featuring twelve large sculptured umbrellas, designed to blend into the suburban landscape and become an enduring part of its social footprint. It was also our first project at The Ponds.



UrbanGrowth NSW





Design Partners

Clouston Associates / Milne & Stonehouse

Scope of Work

Deliver, Detail

Fleetwood Involvement

Like each of our projects at The Ponds, we worked as a collaborative partner throughout the design and construction process. This saw us work closely with the artists, Milne & Stonehouse to bring their sketch designs to life through a series of elegant engineering solutions. The bulk of construction took place on the site itself, with Fleetwood installing the footings, fabricating the umbrella structures, and then cutting and installing the stainless steel transit meshes. We also collaborated with the lighting provider to ensure the project was completed in time for the grand opening of that particular sector of The Ponds development.

More Project Information


The vision was to create a visual landmark that would inspire and enchant the local community, day and night. It needed to be simple, captivating and enduring. The artists, Milne & Stonehouse, wanted the installation to make a bold statement on the presence and absence of water in Sydney’s changing climate, hence the use of a giant colony of inverted umbrellas – transforming them from sunshades and rain shelters into light receptors and water collectors.


The ‘Float’ is an artistically-complex contemporary structure, located at a busy intersection. As a unique piece of public art, staying true to the artistic vision was critical. The large umbrella structures (the biggest stands 12 metres high) needed to be realised by a manufacturer with the technical expertise and craftsmanship to deliver the highly creative and intricate componentry, creating an installation as beautiful as it was structurally sound. The stainless steel mesh was especially difficult to work with – it was flimsy and ultra flexible, hard to cut, and hard to attach to other things – but we came up with a methodology to make it work.


One of the installation’s most loved features is programmable LED lighting that responds to the changing seasons and weather. At night, the umbrellas glow with soft colours. When it rains, the same lights respond with a dance to celebrate the return of water to the landscape.


  • 12 giant sculpted umbrellas
  • Programmable LED lighting

  • Mild steel
  • Non marine grade paint system
  • Stainless steel

Sited on a busy roundabout, we needed to ensure the structures were installed securely and within the parameters of the roundabout to ensure the safety of commuters and the community at all times, in all weather conditions.


The ‘Float’ is one of the most iconic public structures at The Ponds. It’s an instantly recognisable community landmark that visitors always comment upon. In fact, for years now it’s been the main wayfinder for The Ponds (“turn left at the umbrellas…”). A quick search on social media also shows it’s a hugely popular selfie backdrop!


As a much-loved outdoor landmark, The ‘Float’ empowers the local community with pride and creativity. Its presence brings a smile to people’s faces, encouraging residents of The Ponds to explore and discover more of their surroundings and providing a natural talking point that brings people together. The lights change colours at night, adding another layer of excitement and interest for local families.


Award Name Location Year
UDIA NSW Presidents Award The 'Float' 2012
UDIA NSW Austral Bricks Award For Excellence In Residential Development The 'Float' 2012
Winner of the Plan to Place Award with Cox Richardson The 'Float' 2015
AILA NSW Parks and Open Space Landscape Architecture Award The 'Float' 2016