A brand-new retail precinct in Melbourne’s CBD has been transformed with works from some of Australia’s leading contemporary artists, creating a public art collection that looks to celebrate the vibrancy of art and the city.
As part of their ongoing effort to bring art and culture to the new precinct, developer Far East Consortium Australia have partnered with award-winning art collective Juddy Roller and Melbourne artists to facilitate the transformation of West Side Place arcade in the CBD – creating an immersive public art gallery that is set to bring a new wave of visitors back to the city centre.
“Both retail and the arts have suffered greatly from the consequences of the pandemic and this unique collaboration is designed to invigorate and support both sectors,” says Shaun Hossack, director of Juddy Roller. “By filling these retail spaces with the best of Australian art we hope to breathe new life into Melbourne’s CBD and give people a reason to come back to our vibrant city.”
The series of installations are inhabiting spaces destined for future shops, cafes and restaurants. Dubbed Australia’s first ever ‘artcade,’ the site welcomes works by some of the country’s top contemporary artists, with Reko Rennie, Rone, Adnate, Lisa King, George Rose, John Aslanidis, Caleb Walmlsey (aka Mayonaize), and Meggs all contributing to the project – set with the challenge of a 30-day installation deadline.
A truly unique exhibition showcasing a diverse range of artists and creative practices, the West Side Place ‘artcade’ sees Melbourne-based artist Rone creating a room lost in time in an ode to his hit 2019 project Empire.
Elsewhere, indigenous cultures from around the world are rendered in Adnate’s signature portrait style, while world-renowned artist Reko Rennie acknowledges the Kamilaroi people with a work sprawling across an immense 225 sqm hoarding wall.
Nestled between the impressive installations is concept café Merriment, which offers speciality coffee from the team behind Common Place. Designed by artist Lisa King and built by the Juddy Roller team, a renaissance inspired ode to female artists takes pride of place above the café, alongside a huge Art is Life neon installation – voicing a message that resounds through all of the artcade’s works.
One of the largest mixed-use developments in Melbourne, the site will also encompass luxury hotel, Ritz-Carlton. With a long history of supporting the arts in Melbourne’s CBD, Far East Consortium is a champion of cultural placemaking, and this site heralds the birth of a significant new contemporary art precinct in the city.
“The project was initiated pre-covid with the aim of giving new residents a sense of community, and by far the most rewarding part of bringing it to life has been seeing the precinct start to hum with happy residents,” said Far East Consortium.
“It couldn’t have come at a better time – Melbournians need something to look forward to and the introduction of the West Side Place precinct will bring to Melbourne a reminder of all the wonderful reasons to visit the CBD.”
West Side Place, 250 Spencer Street, Melbourne
On display until May 2021
Image: A Rone artwork on display at West Side Place – photo by Nicole Reed