A THOUSAND WORDS | The Nicholas Building

0 Comments

BY REBECCA RAMAGE

 

An affinity for architecture drew me to the Nicholas Building.

The development of my final folio at Photography Studies College, gave me the opportunity to explore this 90-year-old gem of a building and meet the thriving creative community working there. The Nicholas Building is a place for locals and visitors alike who are interested in architectural history, art and discovering local handmade goods.

 

The Nicholas Building – Swanston Street Facade

 

Norris was one of Melbourne’s prolific architects, designing many CBD buildings that stand today. Those among them, Block Court on Collins Street, G.J. Coles building in Bourke Street (now David Jones), Mitchell House on Lonsdale Street and the beautiful Majorca Building in Flinders Lane.

 

.

The Chicago style of architecture is typically utilitarian, which is true of the Nicholas’s nine upper floors. However, at ground level, off Swanston Street the T-shaped Art Deco Cathedral Arcade is ornate and delicate offering an inviting entry to the lifts to the upper floors and a home to local retail outlets.

.

Louise McDonald Milliner, The Nicholas Building, Melbourne, Hates, showroom.

Louise McDonald, Milliner

Brendan Dwyer, Shoemaker

 

‘Handmade’ encapsulates the Nicholas; behind the original timber doors are studio spaces as individual as the creatives who occupy them. Many have been tenants of the Nicholas for ten years or more, applying their trade and creating niche markets for a steady stream of loyal clientele.

 

Jewellers (left to right): Jenna O’Brien, Ester Weinberg, (Kitty the dog) and Megan Webb.

.

As well as these artisans’ studios, there are galleries offering emerging and established artists a space to exhibit their work. The Blindside Gallery is located on level seven, and offers a diverse program of experimental and creative practice.

.

Blindside Gallery, Evidence by Linda Judge

.

Besides its inherent splendour, and perhaps due to it, the Nicholas today is a space of reciprocal beauty; filled with people of diverse skills and talents, whose work is remarkable. Not least of which is the work of Weaver Mary Burgess.

.

Mary Burgess, Weaver. “Woven Memories”

.

From the loss of her beloved partner eight years ago, has come her project Woven Memories. In which Mary is commissioned to weave wall hangings, scarves and blankets as well as other memorials and keep sakes of her clients loved one from their clothes and other personal items.

.

Mary’s little hand made book titled “How You Loved Me” the vehicle for her own healing and inception for “Woven Memories”.

 

Since its inception, Mary’s Woven Memories has grown exponentially, taking her to Paris to run weaving workshops and this year undertaking two extraordinary pieces; one piece will be made from the tail of a much loved horse and the other from letters between loved ones.

.

The Cathedral Arcade’s restored Art Deco Ceiling

.

Walking through the square hallways with their original timber doors and butter coloured tiles; the ‘handmade’ theme that runs between much of the work here coincides with the feeling of the building’s 1920’s features. Which includes the mail chute, terrazzo floors and central light well on the upper floors. This all makes for a remarkable place in the heart of Melbourne to be discovered and nurtured.

.

.

.

Rebecca has recently graduated with an Advanced Diploma of Photography (Photojournalism) from PSC, in 2017 she will embark on a freelance career in photography. To see more of Rebecca’s work please visit  rebecca-ramage.squarespace.com

.

Something to say..? Leave your comments here.

Stay up to date via TwitterStay up to date via TwitterStay up to date via TwitterStay up to date via Twitter