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Open/Lab at Melbourne Design Week


Open/Lab is a portable structure which encourages opportunities for social encounters. As a piece of tactical urbanism, this adaptable and modular structure responds to defensive architecture, which is commonly understood as interventions in the urban form which make sites intentionally uninhabitable. Open/Lab is designed to encourage generative discussion around access, and how we might plan and design for more convivial, accessible and diverse cities.

As an adaptable civic space, Open/Lab can be used as a pop-up space to rest on your own, have lunch with friends, or debate with a stranger or anything in between. Open/Lab contains modular furniture that users can adapt to their own needs, including tables, chairs, rugs and shade. Designed in collaboration with Public Street and the Alliance for Praxis Research, Open/Lab is designed to be replicable with instructions on how to make a similar structure available on our website.

Open/Lab takes up residence in three different locations throughout the Melbourne Design Week, where it will be premiering. Location and date details are as a follows:

  • Wednesday 23rd March: Spring Street, Melbourne opposite Gordon Reserve, 1:00 – 6:00 PM

  • Thursday 24th March: Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) Forecourt, 12:00 – 5:00 PM

  • Friday 25th March: Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) Forecourt, 12:00 – 5:00 PM

  • Saturday 26th March: Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) Forecourt, 12:00 – 5:00 PM

  • Sunday 27th March: Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, in front of Atherton Gardens, 2:00 – 6:00 PM

Come use the the pop-up placemaking structure as you see fit, including moving its location (but please return it to its original location if you do so) and adjusting its structure to be able to host more people. It is entirely free to use.

The organisers are hosting a series of pop-up conversations inside the structure with different guests discussing the role and challenges of public space. These will be recorded live in situ, inviting anyone in the area to join the conversation, and will be available later as a podcast.

This project has been kindly supported by the RMIT Design and Creative Practice Enabling Capabilities Platform.

Find out more about the project at the Melbourne Design Week website

Open/Lab is being presented as part of Melbourne Design Week, and will be on display for public use from

the 23rd - 27th March.

 Find out more about the

festival and event here

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