When People’s Market opened in March (then called the Melbourne Flea), the team managed to bring crowds to the gusty surrounds of the Docklands with their crowd-pleasing combination of farmers’ and vintage markets, art spaces, food, drinks and music.
Now the People’s Market has returned with a new and improved site, situated in the starkly different Collingwood neighbourhood. Niki Filipovic, one half of the brother and sister team behind the People’s Market project, tells us how the market’s return will be bigger and better than before.
“The same features will be there, but we’ve expanded the market so it becomes a whole day destination for people. We’ve got amazing chefs coming in, an interactive retail space and workshops from ranging yoga classes to beer brewing,” she says.
Set to open on December 1, some of the culinary big names setting up shop in a modified shipping container are George Calombaris (operating under the Hellenic Republic banner), Touché Hombre and MoVida Bakery. And there's also a bar offering Old Mout Cider, Thunder Road Brew and a creative collection of summer cocktails. The COMA (Containers of Modern Art) space, comprising two containers stacked on top of each other, is also expected to be a major drawcard for visitors.
“We want people to interact with the works in the space, which will be changing every month. The gallery space upstairs will also showcase works from exciting local artists,” says Filipovic.
Even long before information started to trickle out on the market’s high-profile stallholders, architecture websites have been buzzing over the new design. The second incarnation of the market, dubbed the ‘Recycled Garden’, was designed by architecture graduates Steve Vidovic and Kristina Taranto, whose vision for the market was selected from a national open-call for submissions. The designer duo fashioned a semi-permanent structure utilising shipping containers and other recycled materials, including cable spools, milk crates and huge truck tyres.
“The shipping containers have been completely transformed; one of the food stalls is covered in live herbs the chefs will be able to use; another one has been transformed into a hydroponic garden, with plants growing out of PVC pipes,” operations manager Mo Wyse adds.
The entire structure was designed to be portable and, as Filipovic explains, the market will “follow the sun” once it has run its course in Melbourne. “From here, we’ll go to Brisbane over the winter months. Then we’ll take the market to Sydney and hopefully return to Melbourne next summer with a permanent space.”
One thing the market will bring with it as it travels along the east coast is a sense of community. The market team recently had a town hall meeting with their residential neighbours to introduce themselves and, sure enough, the Collingwood residents are more than happy to welcome the market with open arms. If there was a negative point raised, it was only that locals wanted the market to stick around for more than five months.
In any case, repeat visits will be mandatory, especially next year when the space will hold events in conjunction with the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. For five months from December 1, People’s Market will be open from Thursday to Sunday, while themed market days (where 30 vendors will take over the space) will be on Saturdays only. All food and drinks stalls, retail spaces as well as the COMA space will be open on non-market days.