Bookmark: Sound Transit

We’re inundated with images of cities around the world every day. Thanks to Google Image Search, photos of food, sights, fashion, people from Hong Kong, London, Tokyo and almost anywhere else you could imagine are instantly accessible. But none of them truly capture the real sense of being there, which is something that immerses all of our senses, not just one of them.

Sound Transit is a project collaborative online community project that seeks to change that for at least one of the senses. It captures thousands of recordings from hundreds of field recording artists around the world, each of which transport you to a different place and moment. You can visit Porta Capuana Mercato in Naples, the foyer of the Royal Festival Hall in London, or Nakano Station in Tokyo.

Surprisingly, the absence of visual accompaniment makes these recordings in more evocative and transportive, creating a sensation of sitting in a place with your eyes closed, absorbing the movement and hum that it uniquely creates.

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Bookmark: Brisbane Open House

Brisbane City
October 11th / 12th 2014

What better way to get to know a city than through the architecture, engineering and history of its buildings? In conjunction with World Architecture Day, Brisbane Open House is a free event, providing rare access to explore, review and engage with the city of Brisbane’s built environment. In this annual celebration, a selection of significant public and privately owned buildings are opened, giving people the opportunity to experience them via guided or independent tours.

Last year, a diverse and beautiful range of living spaces, creative workplaces, state-of-the-art research facilities and heritage jewels were among the buildings on offer, and the program for 2014 is sure to be just as spectacular.


Find out more here >

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Refresh: The Franklin Hotel, Adelaide

92 Franklin St

Located in Adelaide’s CBD, The Franklin’s seven rooms have been carefully, lovingly restored by the hotel owners themselves in recent years. The result? A boutique hotel experience that’s oozing with charm. The rooms feature wood panelling details, stripped-back brickwork, intriguing pieces of local art, salvaged interior details and stained glass windows guaranteed to sooth your soul. The menu at the hotel’s pub is simple but on point, not to mention the Sunday farmers’ market and city’s central food market are just a short, leafy stroll away. 

As an added bonus, this city darling won’t break the bank, with rooms starting at around $150 a night.

Book here.

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Designing Our Cities

As the designer, barista and co-creator team behind Melbourne’s long term pop-up Place Holder, Sonam Sherpa and Sam King divulge their visions for nurturing and developing better utilised, more creative cities.  

It was a love of design, a background in coffee and a desire to create something new that inevitably led Sonam Sherpa and Sam King to open their own café, Place Holder. Located on Melbourne’s Smith Street — an area already saturated with good coffee and great spaces — the café is there for a good time, not a long time. With a 12-month expiry date, Place Holder is a new kind of pop-up — a fixed-space answer to the city’s rapidly evolving, high turnover café culture.

When the opportunity to take over the space came to them from urban developers Neometro, the two used their hospitality experience and Sherpa’s background in architecture to design, build and launch Place Holder as an intimate coffee operation. The temporary nature of the project has given them the unique opportunity to fill an immediate gap in the city’s café culture while utilising urban space.

We chat to Sonam and Sam from Place Holder about their visions for creating better cities.

Q: Place Holder is essentially a pop-up, what do pop-ups and temporary fixtures add to a city? 

Sonam: With the appearances of high streets these days being clad in ‘For Lease’ signs and empty shops, it is apparent that the old lease formulas are not as relevant as they used to be. People are hesitant to trial their new business models and their concepts, instead the pop-up or temporary lease agreements allow for us to experience new models and fresh approaches. The temporary nature of the pop-up culture adds a new layer to the city and allows for new opportunities and testing grounds for new catalytic pursuits. 


Sonam wears:
Washed Denim Shirt and Fitzroy Slim Leg Jean

Q: With so many vacant or disused spaces, how do you think our cities could better utilise public and private spaces?

Sonam: I believe that this pop-up phenomenon should remain organic and not become regulated. Through freethinking artists, entrepreneurs and designers, the spaces will become consolidated. They just need to be opened up. For example, we tried to get a previous project off the ground only to be completely shut down by council for wanting to occupy a dormant closed off private space that was classified a car park.

Sam: I think Melbourne especially loves a temporary space, so I can see many more pop-ups and community gardens springing up in the near future. 


Q: You both have backgrounds in hospitality, what do you think coffee and cafe culture adds to a city? 

Sonam: Coffee is the drum that makes the beat for cities to march to. Cafés provide the environment to set the rhythm. The cafe culture is what sets the tone for your day. Melbourne is lucky enough to have the best cafe culture in the world, we have enough variety to help position what you feel like and what you will do that day.

 Sam: On a local level, I think cafés bring a sense of community [to a city] and serve as an extension of one’s office or living room.


Q: How important is the design and architecture of venues (hospitality and otherwise) in creating a cultural city?

Sonam: The spatial orchestration of a venue is what is most important to me. If you want to be higher or subservient to your customer you can through simple design strategies. I am all about transparency and equality of trade. Creative cities require an equality through their trade practices to allow people in to their respective worlds to see different processes. It’s my belief that creativity, like design, requires precedent.


Q: How have you seen Melbourne and/or other Australian cities evolve in the last few years? 

Sonam: This one is tricky and I think I’ll answer from my perspective as a Melbourne person. Australian cities are profiling their creative industries as tourism draw cards. What makes a city truly creative is multiple levels of art, design and free thinking that permeates through the fabric of the environment of the city. 

Sam: I started working at [coffee roastery and cafe] Seven Seeds just as the specialty coffee scene hit Melbourne and it has been amazing to see how cafe culture has erupted here over the last 6-7 years, to the point that I can no longer keep up with the amount of cafes that are opening every week.


Sam wears:
Stripe Linen T-Shirt and Chino Suit Pant

Q: What do you think people want from their city?

Sonam: Realistically — convenience. But I think people also want a city that has multiple layers and cultures that they are constantly surprising. I think hospitality is very important in providing these portals into foreign worlds for people.

Q: What cultural drivers do you think are instrumental in getting people to engage with public space? 

Sam: I think social media and online publications such as Broadsheet really inform and encourage people to engage with public space.

Q: What are your favourite cities? 

Sonam: Tokyo, Bangkok, Kolkata.

Sam: Too many to choose. New York, Paris, Rome.

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Go: Dark Mofo, Hobart

June/July 2014

The inaugural Dark Mofo was held in June last year, and it represented yet another step in Hobart’s evolution into Australia’s darkest, most enigmatic city: a nighttime, mid-winter festival celebrating the arcane, the morbid, and the unexpected. Hosted by Hobart’s (in)famous Museum of Old and New Art, it featured performances from internationals like Martha Wainwright as well as a large contingent of Australian musicians including the Drones and My Disco. It also featured food, light, and large-scale public art, including the seizure-inducing ZEE by Kurt Hentschlager, and Patricia Piccinini’s Skywhale hot air balloon.

Dark Mofo is back this year in Hobart (June 12 – 22), but also extending to the other side of the island in Launceston (June 20 – July 5). No lineup has been announced yet – the only thing the organisers have shared is that it will be “colder, darker”. Which is a terrifying and intriguing prospect.

Click here for more details.

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Bookmark: The White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney

30 Balfour Street, Chippendale NSW
Wednesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m

In this month’s ‘Cities’ issue of Kaizen, we carefully assemble a range of noteworthy urban delights that compliment the city you’re in.  

The White Rabbit Gallery is home to an ever-changing, significant and breathtaking collection of contemporary Chinese art, just four blocks from Sydney’s Central Station. Founded and entirely funded by The Neilson Foundation, the gallery launched in 2009, following a three-year refurbishment of the site. The building itself was a Rolls-Royce service depot in the 1940s and had to be completely refitted as a gallery space.

The freshness and seemingly limitless possibilities in the realm of contemporary art are apparent in each of the gallery’s exhibitions, updated every six months and consisting of a selection of work from the renowned White Rabbit Collection of Chinese contemporary art. Described by Art Gallery of NSW director Edmund Capon as “the best possible manifestation of the contemporary imagination from China”, the collection only features works from the year 2000 onwards.

Wang Qingsong, Follow You. 2009.

Sun Hongbin, Fat Lady. 2012.

MadeIn Company, Play 201301. 2013.

While the artwork remains privately owned, the four-storey building is a gift to the public, charging no admission fee for any of their exhibitions to date. The Tea House, located at street level, compliments the mind-bending display of avant-garde artwork well, giving patrons a chance to catch their breath in its tranquil surroundings, over an exquisite selection of Chinese tea and freshly handmade dumplings.

The White Gallery’s latest offering is titled ‘Reformation’, marking the gallery’s 10th show and involving the largest selection of works to date. It’s also considered to be the most disturbing and provocative of the exhibitions so far. ‘Reformation’ will run until 3 August 2014.

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