Characters & Spaces self-guided tour

  • 15–25 July 2009
  • State of Design festival
  • The block of Elizabeth/Swanston/Collins/Flinders streets
  • Melbourne, Victoria
  • Australia

    Researcher: Christine Eid

Christine Eid was commissioned as a researcher on the project to explore the stories behind 17 sites in central Melbourne and their connections with a style of lettering, a form of architecture, a time in social history, an art movement or a sporting event.

From Richard Beck’s mural on Hosie’s Hotel and its connection to the 1956 Olympic Games and the internationalism and modernity of Melbourne, the ironic hidden message in the abstract lettering in the Centreway Arcade questioning consumerism in a commercial environment to the billboard above Young and Jackson’s Hotel which was permitted because of its heritage listing for its historical precedence and cultural value as an advertising site.

Initiated and written by graphic designer and typographer Stephen Banham, the Characters and Spaces project focuses on the city block from Flinders Street to Collins, Elizabeth to Swanston and incorporating Degraves Street, Flinders Lane and Centre Place.

Eid undertook primary research and utilised secondary resources predominantly from State Library Victoria’s diverse and extensive collections. In addition Eid embarked on field research alongside Banham, walking the block countless times to identify sites of interest and the best vantage points for viewing.

The stories were documented into a free program (37,000 copies) and distributed as a supplement to the State of Design festival catalogue.

Character is an initiative of the Communication Design Program at RMIT University.

The fifth in the Character series, Characters & Spaces is in partnership with the State of Design Festival 2009.