Crome Bar, RMIT Design Hub, Melbourne Australia
Exhibited as part of High Risk Dressing / Critical Fashion Exhibition (Feb-April 2017)
Studiobird’s bar responds to the nightclub as a key site of the Fashion Design Council (FDC)'s legacy. It has been designed to accommodate interactive program-based activities around, within or upon it through the duration of the exhibition, with conversations and fashion presentations as well as functioning as an actual bar from which to serve drinks. Matthew Bird’s selection of materials – aluminum sheeting, LED strip lighting and fans – builds upon his design research, which seeks to subvert notions of traditional luxury by using everyday materials to test and expand upon a contemporary ‘DIY baroque’ and, in turn, references the rapid and responsive aesthetic of early FDC activities. The shiny surfaces and coloured lights, designed in collaboration with Caitlyn Parry, reflects a notional 1980s bar with a sunken central zone for the bar tender. The bar-in-the-round design flips the seedy strip joint with its high-low stage / seating, while also hinting at the intentional inclusivity of the United Nations forum – a deliberate clash of references to capture the FDC’s dark and exhilarating nighttime gatherings with what were also – towards the end of the FDC’s life – stadium-scale, fashion block-buster events.
Words: RMIT Design Hub
Photography Christine Francis