New Works

New artworks at Melbournestyle.

Discover the amazing Typographic designs of Maree Coote HERE

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slow cities

When you travel, the essential buzz is the experience of what is different about a new place – the details, the food, the smells, the layout. Cities are like theme parks. You want to immerse yourself in the new mood, new stimulii. The different-ness is the most important thing. Otherwise, why leave home?

This is all about protecting Melbourne’s Melbourne-ness. You might not think it’s in danger. But just look at Sydney – they spent the past 30 years trying to make the word Sydney equal the word International. And guess what? They succeeded. Now, people come to Melbourne and I say: how was Sydney? and they answer: just another big city. How sad. They knocked down all their unique buildings, filled their streets with anonymous ‘international’architecture, gave everything that ‘international’ gloss and pushed the soul right out of the city. You could be anywhere. In fact, you’re nowhere.

Of course it could happen here – it’s started already, now that those of us who love Melbourne have shown the world how good it is, big gov and big biz are joined ready to remake the city that doesn’t need remaking. They’ve made a good start at the damage, with too many aparto towers in city road, the ravaging of southbank, and the most obscenely oversized development site of all now happening at south wharf. And just look at the mess they’ve created in docklands in just a few short years. No man’s land. (Actually, word is, it’s no women’s land, with most apartments inhabited by single males. AKA divorceland, actually.) It’s possibly the worst collection of buildings ever assembled in one place adorned by (mostly) appalling sculpture. And not one of these developments understands the essential nature of grass-roots and street-life to the creation of a sense of place. They are a vision in CAD software, an instant locale, not a real community, and it will take decades for that all-important plaque of street life to grow between their sterile streets.

Melbournestyle is all about preventing this slide into bland-ness, and celebrating Melbourne’s uniqueness. We are unashamedly non-global, anti-bland and pig-headedly parochial. We aim to protect the culture from the ‘weeding’ out of all the good and grungy places that give a city texture.To protect the public parklands from the cancerous spread of sportsstadia and its best friend, privatisation. To tell the stories from Melbourne’s past that make the city what it is today. And to have fun creating art in the context of all that. And it’s not just about Melbourne, although admittedly, that’s where it’s at for me. The sentiment works for all other cities. There’s a reason why there are no skyscrapers in Venice. Trash your USP and no-one will want to visit anymore. The founding fathers of Melbourne knew what they were doing. They gave us 99 feet wide streets and masses of public gardens. They gave us a great template to preserve and to emulate, filled with beauty, laneways, discovery and texture. Slow cities, like slow food, just have more flavour.