Through the looking glass

Kate and I had fun on Thursday night, oh yes we did. For Thursday night marked the first of the two nights of open studios at the Nicholas Building in Melbourne as part of Craft Victoria’s Month About Making. The adventure began when we stepped into the lift with Dmitri, the Lift Dude, who was wearing a pince-nez and a Russian Army greatcoat and listening to slammin’ techno as he ferried us up to the ninth floor. We acted all nonchalant, like we were totally used to people operating lifts, and admired the collection of postcards and random messages stuck on the walls of Dmitri’s domain. Once up top, we collected a glass of wine and a handful of M&Ms from the first studio we went into and began our exploration of the building. Over the next week or so I’ll post about some of the different designers whose studios we poked around in.

One room we spent a lot of time in was Room 11 on Level 4. This is the studio of the indomitable Tai Snaith, whose work O.W.L. readers will probably be familiar with, given our love of her llamas and other quadrupeds. But it’s also the studio of a number of talented other people, including Nadine Treister, who had a number of great geometric pieces of jewellery on display. Kate and I both fell in love with the same necklace, but I wrestled her to the ground and kept her there while I handed over money and claimed the necklace as my own. Don’t worry – her bruises are healing well and I’ll let her borrow the necklace whenever she wants. For a small fee, of course.

Above: Hexagonal necklace – by Nadine Treister, Jeu de Tree.

The Nicholas Building itself is fascinating – it was completed in 1926 and is full of period features, as well as being completely disorienting. I think this has something to do with the narrow, dimly lit and circuitous corridors, all tiled in pale green. This leaves you with the impression that you’ve just gotten lost in an enormous Art Deco toilet – but please don’t pee in the hallways. There are perfectly good toilets in the stairwells.

For those that missed the open studios, ne’er fear – there are a few shops (like Kimono House or Retrostar) on the first and second floors of the Nicholas Building that are open normal business hours, and some of the galleries in the building are also open for the general public (Blindside, Stephen McLaughlan Gallery and Pigment, for example). These all give you a good excuse to go and have a poke around this remarkable building.

Nicholas Building
37 Swanston Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

:: Arwen ::


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