Grey concrete cubes aren’t the most inspiring public sculpture – and nor are they supposed to be. The more than 200 bollards installed around the CBD last month were a response to a spate of terror attacks in cities around the world as well as the Bourke Street massacre.

The bollards intend to “restrict vehicle access and boost security”, the Andrews government says.

They’re supposed to be only temporary measures – to be replaced at a future date by permanent or retractable bollards – but that hasn’t stopped Melburnians from trying to beautify them.

Broadsheet photographer Jake Roden took a trip to the CBD to document the spread of “bollart” – the welcome transformation of functional, bleak safety measures into smile-inducing public artworks. And a couple of ashtrays.

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