Melbourne Design Week is a 10-day program of more than 100 talks, walks, events and exhibitions, taking place largely at the NGV, but also other venues around Melbourne.
One of those is the Watchmaker, a pop-up space on Smith Street, named for the fact it’s housed in an old watchmaker’s shop.
Gelato maker Piccolina Gelataria is moving into the Smith Street space permanently in spring. Before the renovations begin, Folk Architects has transformed the interior into a mirrored exhibition space, which will host several exhibitions over 10 days.
“If you think about the ice-cream itself, there are design values there”, says Piccolina owner Sandra Foti. “Our inspiration comes from tradition. It’s about doing the classics and getting them right.”
She says she wants to keep the quirky elements that tell the story of the building in the renovation. The space features original terrazzo floors and a dramatic brick archway.
Over the 10 days Piccolina will be serving cups of its gelato for free. You’ll be able to try flavours including salted caramel, chocolate, and pistachio, among others.
Artists and designers sharing the space with Foti’s iced creations include photographer Nick Horan’s Ovoid depicting studies of the humble egg. Apparatus 4, presented by 227768C sees an undulating surface controlled by random algorithms.
Hub Furniture presents The Found Object, a selection of treasured objects sourced from the collections of Melbourne designers, and Friends & Associates, whose 26 Original Flakes, will see artists reconfigure an imitation copy of Jasper Morrison’s Hal Chair.
Designer Nick Rennie will present Undervalued an exploration of frequently overlooked designs such as the soft drink bottle or paper clip, that are often disregarded due to their ubiquity in everyday life. Each item has a value of $2 or less.
Folk Architects has created an installation that reveals various elements and periods of its past as a pawn shop, jewellery store and finally a watchmaker.
“An important aspect of the building is the glass and mirrored vestibule that marks the entrance from Smith Street,” says Folk Architects director Christie Petsinis.
“As an architectural device, the mirrored surfaces are used to dissolve the physical boundaries of the space, reinforcing focus on elements of the existing building, and on the exhibition. Used to manipulate and distort our experience of time and space, mirrors also act as a way-finding device.”
There’s also a video installation created by Coco & Maximilian, titled A Love Affair (With Gelato), made in collaboration with Piccolina.
The Watchmaker pop-up will run from March 16 to 26 daily from 1–7pm. Entry is free. Piccolina Gelateria will re-open the space as its concept store in late 2017.