Stories

Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s Taramasalata

Growing up, our elderly Greek neighbours would pass my mum pale blue ice-cream tubs full of taramasalata over the fence. It was very light pink – almost white – in colour, with a subtle salty fish taste, and it was always topped with a few kalamata olives. I loved eating it doused with olive oil, […]

Kevin Heinze: Grow Guide

The late Kevin Heinze, a well-known Melbourne gardener and radio and television personality, believed that all people should be given the opportunity to take part in gardening activities. He understood the therapeutic benefits gardening could deliver for vulnerable people and helped set up the unique community organisation now known as Kevin Heinze Grow. Today, forty-one […]

Together Apart: Isolation Tales

Melbourne’s stringent lockdowns last year affected all of us in different ways. In the space of time between the first and second series of lockdowns, and when it was safe to do so, photographer Bri Hammond visited residents in public housing in Collingwood and Richmond to hear how they were faring in isolation. Each person […]

Living Infrastructure

Vindmøllebakken, a recently completed co-living housing project in Stavanger, Norway, sits on a small peninsula where the North Sea meets the meandering blue branches of the Boknafjord. Designed by Norwegian architecture firm Helen & Hard, and developed with Kruse Smith, Indigo Vekst and Gaia Trondheim, it is the first project to be completed under the […]

Essential Service

In recent years, regular outdoor food markets have popped up in Melbourne’s metropolitan suburbs, supporting regional farmers and local communities. At the end of August last year, organisers of these markets found themselves faced with an unexpected predicament. Under stringent COVID-19 restrictions, the Victorian State Government announced that farmers markets were no longer deemed an […]

Treading Lightly: Prototyping Brunswick’s Public Space

Across Brunswick, the ghosts of industries past collide with new forms of cultural production. Artists, designers and creators of all types work out of large factories; their workshops, spilling out onto the street, create a neighbourhood in motion. But as in all suburbs, progress here is inevitable. The question is, how can Brunswick change without […]

Unexpectedly Thriving

During last year’s lockdowns, what was considered ‘normal’ was thrown under the spotlight. While some can’t wait for life to return to ‘normal’, illustrator Sarah Firth thinks we can redefine aspects of our lives to be more accessible for more people – so more people can thrive. This piece is part of Assemble Papers 13 […]

Planet City: Collective Futures

When we think of our futures, tumbleweeds blowing across water-starved desert landscapes or rain-washed dystopian inner-city streetscapes spring to mind. It may feel like a climate apocalypse is all but inevitable, but are we too quick to default to hopelessness and dystopia? Australian-born speculative architect Liam Young’s Planet City – his most ambitious project to […]

Northside: Warren Kirk

Though change in our suburbs is inevitable, reminders of days gone by will always exist. The past catches up with the present in photographer Warren Kirk’s new book Northside: a time and a place. A tribute to our memories, and a reminder to look closer at the world around us, the book documents some of […]

Learning from Land: Elisapeta Heta

Architect Elisapeta Heta spent much of her time this year in the small town of One Tree Point just north of Ruakaka, on the east coast of Aotearoa New Zealand, in lockdown with three generations of her family. For her, the practice of architecture is intertwined with the practice of knowing oneself, knowing the fundaments of where you come from, and how you came to be upon land.

On Wellington: Loss and looking ahead

When was the last time you considered the value of spaces like libraries, town halls and theatres for your city? In Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand, the slow erosion of the city’s civic functions over the past ten years has crept up on writer K. Emma Ng. She walks us through this loss, and […]

Artist Ian Strange on concepts of home

For some, home is a way of mapping and understanding the world. Artist Ian Strange interrogates concepts of home through site-specific installations in suburban locations, challenging notions of memory, safety and security. OFFICE, as part of The Politics of Public Space lecture series, met the artist on Zoom in April of this year to discuss […]

Transformative Change at Murundaka Cohousing

In the Melbourne suburb of Heidelberg Heights, amidst the uniform rhythm of large single-family homes, one lot stands out. Its tall trees, myriad of parked bikes and the double-height windows of the large common house announce from afar that here, life is lived with a fuller breath. This is Murundaka, an environmentally and community-minded housing […]

Ears #41: Message to My Girl

For many of us in the midst of lockdowns here in Melbourne, music has been a guiding light through a challenging time. This month, in collaboration with our friends at Hope St Radio, Melbourne pop singer-songwriter Sweet Whirl – A.K.A Esther Edquist – brings us our spring edition of Ears, a mixtape compiled to transport you […]

Alternative ways of living with artist Satoshi Murakami

Houses are often thought of as fixed points in an urban landscape. What happens when your house moves with you? What if a house could generate its own income? Writers Grace Lovell and Yoshi Tsujimura visited Japanese artist Satoshi Murakami in his studio to discuss alternative ways of living. Satoshi Murakami lives and works in […]

Gamifying urban design with Block by Block

The development of our public spaces often feels hidden behind complex planning processes, motivated by the visions of a few. Could a more participatory design method help us to re-imagine the present and future of public spaces together? To find out, writer Robert Snelling chatted with Celine d’Cruz, vice president of Block by Block, a […]

Artist Ruth Buchanan on living life collectively at R50

As Oscar Wilde wrote in his 1889 essay ‘The Decay of Lying’, “life imitates art far more than art imitates life”. When the boundaries are blurred between art and living, can alternative ways of life thrive? Our editor Sophie Rzepecky spoke to Ruth Buchanan, a Berlin-based artist originally from Aotearoa New Zealand, during the recent […]

Sign of the Times: Melbourne’s Industrial Skyline

The historical rooftop signs that dot the horizon lines of our cities are often symbols of a bygone industrial era, memories clinging to facades. As emerging technology transforms advertising techniques, and awareness of our consumption habits in relation to issues such as climate crisis develops, what will become of the humble rooftop sign? Writer Samuel […]

Reground: How to Avoid Waste at Home

In 2014, Ninna Larsen was working as a barista. Watching thousands of cups worth of coffee grounds going to landfill, she knew there must be a better use for this perceived waste. So she started Reground and teamed up with Kaitlin Reid. They began by taking coffee grounds from cafes and delivering them to local community gardens. […]

Max Delany: From Resilience to Sustainability

The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have exasperated underlying structural conditions and inequalities we face as a society. Here in Australia, an underfunded art world is struggling to stay afloat. What do contemporary arts organisations and institutions look like in a post-pandemic world, and how can their financial models become more sustainable? Artistic Director and […]

Social Food Project: Zero Waste Beetroot Risotto

Whether he’s cooking with insects as an alternative protein source, or saving natives by eating invasive species, Ben McMenamin has been using food to start crucial conversations for years. As the founder of the Social Food Project, Ben loves to craft inventive and delicious recipes that help us eat our way to a sustainable future. […]

Christopher Hawthorne: The ‘Third’ Los Angeles

Chicago has the Chicago Architecture Center, New York has the Municipal Art Society, and Melbourne has countless public and non-profit institutions such as Open House, MPavilion and the National Gallery of Victoria to raise awareness and public literacy around design in our built environment. However, says Christopher Hawthorne, “There is no city that needs that […]

Mabu Mabu: Semur Chicken

Mabu Mabu is a Torres Strait Islander owned and run café, catering and food business with an emphasis on using fresh, seasonal and native ingredients to create beautiful dishes that bring people together. Nornie Bero is the head chef and business owner. A Meriam woman of the Komet Tribe, Bero is originally from Mer Island in the Torres Strait, and […]

Ex-Embassy

In August 2018, the former Australian embassy to East Germany in Berlin’s northeast suburb of Pankow hosted Ex-Embassy, an exhibition of six artworks and five texts, and an open research archive. Instigated and hosted by the artist Sonja Hornung, and researched and assembled with writer and artist Rachel O’Reilly as curatorial advisor, it included the […]