We would like to sincerely thank everyone who has contributed to The Office of Public Works. Since 2006 we have worked with the brightest and the best on the design and operation of venues, events and worthy causes. Together we have created an incredible platform for experimentation and taken action on the issues we feel really matter. Above all else it has been a lot of fun.
Situated in the centre of Melbourne's Chinatown, Section 8 is visitant to a 170m2 open air carpark. Placed within the allotment are two pre-frabricated shipping containers carefully organised to serve the operational requirements necessary to operate a city venue. By preserving much of the site's public character the space imposes no social etiquette except for those we place on each other.
Cockatoo Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, hosted the 16th Biennale of Sydney titled 'Revolutions – Forms That Turn'. Lead by international curator and writer Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev it achieved a record visitation of 436,150 people and featured 175 artists from 42 countries.
In association with Lean Productions we facilitated the opening night in both the design of the event space and the operation of food and beverage. Given the restraints of both the location and the timing we developed a concept that was logistically viable and in sympathy with its physical and historical context.
The 16th Biennale of Sydney was awarded Australian Event of the Year and Best Cultural or Arts Event at the 2009 Australian Event Awards.
In collaboration with the Powerhouse Museum, and as part of Sydney's annual design week, we were invited to help facilitate the event for our concept of an up-cycled clothing bar. As the event was themed 'tell us a story' we drew on the narrative of clothing, both loved and rejected.
Though we were unable to officially open the venue we did developed a collection of industrial products during this process. An alternative to clay bricks that capitalised upon discarded items of clothing was one of the many experimental prototypes that emerged from our office.
"A torsade is something that revolves around an axis. This geometry is founded on poetic freedom and promises security" - L. Bourgeois
After securing the lease in a 250m2 disused warehouse our client approached us with a brief that would reflect their personality and speak intimately to their experience of living in Paris. Citing Louise Bourgeois we returned to them with a concept that could translate the undertones of a feminine geometry into an experience befitting both their brief and culinary principles.
Though we were not awarded this project we were pleased to see the strongest elements of our design carried through to construction by a competing firm.
Built in one of Melbourne's oldest standing buildings our design process followed the plot of the surrealist novel Ferdydurke in which we began with a matured concept only to have it slowly revert into its infancy. This 'process in reverse' forced our initial design intent from a single gestured aesthetic into a bar of multiple personalities.
At 12:51pm on the 22nd of February 2011 Christchurch was rocked by a 6.3 magnituded earthquake that killed 185 people and caused significant damage to the central city and eastern suburbs. As a neighbouring country we saw an opportunity for our office to contribute to the relief program. We signed the following acts to play at Birrarung Marr with the proceeds forwarded to the appeal:
Mi-Sex (NZ), Mike Rudd (ex Spectrum), Angie Hart & Blood Red Bird, Julia Deans (ex Fur Patrol) (NZ), Lotek, Clairy Browne & The Bangin’ Rackettes, Vince Peach, Dave Larkin Band, Spencer P Jones (NZ), The Council (NZ), Side Show Brides, Radio Star, The Wellingtons, Cash Savage, Pets with Pets (NZ), Polar Disco, Engine Three Seven, Vaudeville Smash, Massive Hip Hop Choir, Cherrywood and MC Jon Von Goes (Triple R).
Given the diverse demographic we set out to design a bar that could cater to family friendly day time trade and a live venue during the later hours. This was achieved by a combination of screening and the careful arrangement of the bar that created multiple environments within venue. Since opening we have observed the adaptability of this space to be more inclusive to the community.
We were approached by our client with the prospect of relocating their school for investment banking to within the education precinct on Geelong's waterfront. Totalling 8000m2 over four floors the historic Denny Lascelles Wool Store, erected for C J Dennys and Co. Woolbrokers in 1872, presented itself as a significant cultural artefact to Geelongs industrial history. From our first site visit we immediately recognised the sensitive qualities already inherent in the wool store. We therefore concentrated on the careful insertion of a school that could continually expand and contract relative to its student population whilst protecting the integrity of the existing building beyond the proposed program.