Stories

Assemblage

The cultural fabric of cities, covering people and projects across art, architecture, design and cross-pollinated creativity with a focus on local makers and projects through to internationally good ideas.

Spacebusting: Raumlabor Berlin

Berlin-based architecture collective Raumlabor sees the city as a space for investigation, participation and endless possibilities. With much of its early work spanning the realm of temporary interventions, these days Raumlabor is turning its focus towards more enduring urban transformations. Emily Wong chats to co-director Christof Mayer about working at the intersection of art and city-making.

Culture & Capital: Liberate Tate

Liberate Tate is an activist art collective, formed shortly after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, that spent six long years campaigning British cultural institution Tate to drop its oil company funding through a series of nearly 20 unsanctioned performances, interventions and protests. Sara Savage speaks to co-founder Mel Evans about 'Big Oil', ethical sponsorship and the power of performance.

Contested Space: Art and the Right to the City

At the 20th Biennale of Sydney, two works by Keg de Souza and Richard Bell addressed the widespread marginalisation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices in Australia, and those of the country's various migrant populations. Genevieve Murray speaks with the artists about the significance of those works and the ways both artists utilise space to generate conversation around inequality.

A Place of Meaning: Bijoy Jain

Taking place for the third time in 2016, this year's MPavilion comes from the architect Bijoy Jain of Indian architectural practice Studio Mumbai. We met up with Jain at Robin Boyd's Walsh Street House in Melbourne to discuss Jain's characteristic interest in traditional craftsmanship and human connectedness to the landscape, and to find out the story behind his MPavilion design.

New Collectivities: MVRDV

As co-founder of Dutch architectural office MVRDV, Nathalie de Vries has continued to push the organisation in search of a humanist, hybrid approach to creating liveable spaces. Considering the city as inherently constructed, MVRDV's approach remains provocative as it re-imagines our cities moving into the future.

Shigeru Ban: Permanent Impermanent

Over his three-decade career, Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has split his time between high-end commissions and humanitarian architecture for those who have, as he says, an abundance of "power and money", and for others for whom architecture is purely a means to survive. In the recent print issue of Assemble Papers, Eugenia Lim speaks to Ban about the quest for social purpose that drives his work.

Daylighting: D.I.R.T. Studio

Virginia-based landscape architect Julie Bargmann of D.I.R.T. Studio creates places that defy traditional notions of nature and beauty. To her, a landscape represents the intertwining of social and ecological cycles, over time. Emily Wong speaks to Julie about how she uses 'toxic beauty' to transform industrial sites into 21st-century public spaces with a past, present and future.

One of a kind: 1-­OK Club

Almost a year after their first exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, 1-OK Club’s second effort is finally here! We’re proud to be presenting it at the current Assemble Papers HQ, 122 Roseneath St. Opening Friday 1 July, ‘WORKS 44-52’ will see nine designers showcase nine new works both #IRL and digitally. We caught up with Dale and André ahead of the opening.

A site between worlds: Zoe Scoglio

Melding video, sound and performance, Melbourne artist Zoe Scoglio’s interdisciplinary practice urges us to think about time. Contemplating a continuum stretching from the Big Bang through to possible futures in which humans may no longer inhabit Earth, Zoe’s art presents a perspective that contextualises our fleeting lives within a vast cosmological timeframe.

Critical Charisma: Situations

For Claire Doherty, public art is an opportunity to inspire and surprise by engaging directly in people's lives. As founding director of Bristol-based arts organisation Situations, Doherty opens the public realm to art through unconventional, long-term programs. Rachel Elliot-Jones speaks to Claire Doherty on how Situations continually disrupts our expectations of public art.

Contentious spaces: Practise Studio Practise

We're sure you've heard by now of the Brutalist Block Party, the May-long program of events we're presenting with Open House Melbourne. Central to BBP is the involvement of Melbourne creative studio Practise Studio Practise, who'll be presenting a spatial installation, two workshops, and a dining series with Otis Armada. We catch up with PSP ahead of the event.

Shadows on the hill: Dan McCabe

Whatever happened to the Australian Dream? Perth artist Dan McCabe uses tactical photography and subtle illusion to interrogate an ideal that has long influenced Australia's urban landscape. His latest work, set to appear at Next Wave Festival, will see the artist camping around Melbourne in a camouflaged car-shaped tent designed to spark conversation around urban sprawl and the crises of the 'renting generation'.

Food, politics, space: Cooking Sections

With their research-based practice spanning installation, performance, mapping and video, London-based spatial practitioners Cooking Sections (a.k.a. Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe) are dedicated to exploring intersections between visual arts, architecture and geopolitics through the lens of food – just don’t call them foodies.

Social Sense: MGS Architects

Can architects be agents for social change? Rob McGauran of MGS Architects in Melbourne speaks to Emily Wong about ‘meaningful’ architecture and ideas that aim to transform the city.

Mel Bright: MAKE on making change

Even the smallest acts of architecture have the capacity to make generous – and genuine – contributions to the greater urban fabric of a city. It only takes a short conversation with Mel Bright, founding director of Melbourne-based architectural practice MAKE, to determine just how pivotal that approach has been in all of the practice’s work.

Pushing The Limits of Representation: Bêka & Lemoine

Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine aren't your average filmmakers – their 'Living Architectures' series shuns idealised representations of architecture in favour of a more experiential approach. We caught up with Louise Lemoine to find out the story behind 'The Infinite Happiness', a documentary that looks inside the world of Bjarke Ingels's 8 House project in Copenhagen.

Offset House: framing Australian suburbia

"If the language of the McMansion is merely a veneer, shouldn’t Australian architects see right through it?" So ask Grace Mortlock and David Neustein of otherothers with 'Offset House', their un-supersized suburban house project currently on show as part of the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial. Here they reflect on their downsized Australian dream.

Hawapi: Outside in the Anthropocene

HAWAPI is a site-specific art residency held in a different location in Peru each year: from post-earthquake Pisco to the remote Pariacaca, a tropical glacier above Lima. In the lead up to this year’s edition, Eugenia Lim asked festival director Maxim Holland about HAWAPI’s philosophy of art with purpose and poignancy.

Social Structures: Takaharu Tezuka

“Architecture is consciously made to support those cultural activities and social structures that are unique to human beings... it may be described as the nexus for all human activities.” Takaharu Tezuka speaks with Maitiú Ward about the enduring influence of Richard Rogers and the importance of the humble roof as a social structure in the work of Tezuka Architects.

Otherworldly Architecture: AL_A

Melbourne will play host to its own AL_A project over summer: the 2015 MPavilion, the second temporary architectural structure in the Naomi Milgrom Foundation’s series to grace the Queen Victoria Gardens. Rain or shine, Maitiú Ward finds the prospect of an open air AL_A MPavilion an intriguing one.

CUCULA: All Together Now

Worldwide, our treatment of refugees leaves much to be desired. As the Guardian’s Ian Traynor writes, “immigration is one of the most toxic and incendiary topics in the national politics of so many countries". At a micro level, collectives such as Berlin’s CUCULA are countering hostility through collaborative design. Eugenia Lim speaks to co-founder Corinna Sy about crafting a culture of welcome.

Clare Cousins in the meeting room at the Blackwood Street Bunker. Photograph by Daniel Aulsebrook.

Clare Cousins: Buildings to Breathe In

Clare Cousins remembers The Barbican. She was eight years old and living in London. Her father, a specialist surgeon had brought the family to the city via Berlin, and young Clare had her eyes open. She couldn’t articulate it at the time, but the Barbican’s imposing structure and raw textural qualities made an impression. Nadia Saccardo talks to Clare about her team's “collaborative, small-steps approach.”

Modesty and materiality: Keiji Ashizawa

Keiji Ashizawa’s hats are many. As an architect, product designer and erstwhile steel fabricator, his work spans vast luxury residences to tiny tealight holders. There’s a common vernacular no matter the size or context – a lightness and conciseness informed by Japanese simplicity, modernist pragmatism and a deep understanding of his materials.

Social Architecture and (un)sustainability: NORD Architects Copenhagen

Johannes Molander Pedersen and Morten Rask Gregersen, founding partners of Danish architectural firm NORD, met when working and studying in London. Returning home to a stagnant construction industry and economic crisis in their native Denmark, they began practicing without buildings – a social architecture in lean yet progressive times.