The folks behind the People’s Market have just bought themselves the biggest dome in Australia. Manufactured in the States from over 500 individual pieces, no one can boast a bigger, more geodesic dome. Luckily, they’ve got an enormous party to throw inside it: Melbourne Music Week.
For 10 days, starting last Friday night, the dome - known as The Residence - will feature a constellation of artists from Africa Hitech and Jacques Lu Cont to The Bats, Canyons, Mikal Cronin, Andy Stott and almost everyone on the Chapter Music label. And, the walls of The Residence will be lit with video mapping, light installations and digital arts projects. “It’s actually incredible,” says Niki Filipovic from the People’s Market. “Just looking up at the geometric composition of it, it’s breathtaking.”
Built over six weeks by a US firm that supplies festivals like Coachella, the structure was shipped over to Australia and followed by its designer, who oversaw its erection. “It took 10 men three days to set up, but three long days,” says Filipovic. “We needed a massive crane to lift on the tent and the canvas. [But] it’ll only take a day to pack down.”
Rising up on the banks of Birrarung Marr, the imposing structure is intended as much as a sculptural statement as it is practical stage. “We wanted the overall aesthetic to be functional as well as attractive,” says Filipovic.
The People’s Market, whose Collingwood pop-up was the toast of summer 2012, have also designed and curated the space surrounding The Residence, cultivating a pop-up city-square with local food, market stalls, temporary gardens and bars. “The People’s Garden has been built around it to provide a local aesthetic with greenery and that sort of thing,” explains Filipovic. “Instead of it just being purely music-based, it’s also about food culture, and to give a platform for chefs to serve their food in a unique environment.”
The pop-up gardens will feature food from resident restaurant Misschu, along with a rotating roster of chefs from venues like Saigon Sally and Hannah Hanoi, The Meatball and Wine Bar, Horn Please and Rumi. Over the course of the week, Filipovic hopes the People’s Garden will become a destination in its own right, regardless of whether punters are seeing a gig. “I think that’s what we’re there for,” she says.
The site marks a new phase for The People’s Market, with the organisation moving away from its signature recycled look and refurbishing with something perhaps a little slicker. “We’ve still got containers involved, because they’re still integral to being able to service kitchens,” says Filipovic. “But really, it’s about stepping up and evolving how we’re looking, and being a bit more fresh and sharp and modern with the look and the feel of the space.”
Part of that redesign is hand-making furniture to suit the space, which the crew has been doing over the last few months. “In the people’s garden we have furniture that mimics The Residence’s geodesic shape,” she says. “All the chairs and furniture we’re building from scratch. All hand-built.”
And, although Filipovic hopes 2013 will mark the first of many collaborations with City of Melbourne on Melbourne Music Week, the festival will in any case provide a taster for the summer ahead. After the 10 days are over, The People’s Market will pack up and head south. “After MMW we’ll be setting up in St Kilda for summer at a new space on a rooftop there,” says Filipovic. “We’ll be carrying over everything we’re doing at MMW into our new address. For us, it’s really about providing a snippet to what we’ll be doing in St Kilda.”
For more details on The Residence, and the shows on inside it, check out Melbourne Music Week’s site or just head down to Birrarung Marr.
Check out a time lapse of the dome at The Residence presented by The Background and People’s Market here.