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The Strand Is Hosting a Series of Designer Collabs and Pop-Up Bars to Spotlight Local Talent

The historic centre has teamed up with Arts-Matter and a lineup of talented local artists for a series of exclusive collaborations.
By Suz Tucker
August 17, 2023
By Suz Tucker
August 17, 2023

The surge of interest in online shopping has crested over the past few years, in part due to our inability to enter physical stores but also because of the general convenience and, frankly, addictive qualities of the click-to-purchase ritual. Despite this undeniable pendulum swing toward keyboard-driven purchasing, there are still advantages to the bricks-and-mortar in-person shopping experience that make it irreplaceable.

For starters and on a practical note, there's the instant gratification of taking home a new item without delay. You've seen it, touched it or tried it on for guaranteed success. Then, on a more emotional level, there's the atmosphere and ambience of in-person shopping and the experience of a physical storefront that is still, for my money, a true leisure activity until itself. And more and more, retailers are creating moments to elevate that experience further and give that personal connection more weight.

Throughout the month of August, the Strand Arcade is luring shoppers to its hallowed halls with a series of activations to shine a spotlight on local design talent (The Strand is home to stores for designers Dion Lee, Sarah & Sebastian and Aje — among others) and bring that extra spark of intention to punters' window shopping.

The Strand Arcade have collaborated with Susan Armstrong and Michelle Grey, the co-founders and curators of Arts-Matter (read our interview here) on a series of installations that bring together local artists with a handful of The Strand's Australian designers for "Sculpture: The Fashion Of Form" to showcase the ways in which the creative disciplines come together.

An installation by artist Christelle Scifo. Photography credit: Brendan Thorne

When it came to the approach to curating the program Michelle Grey said, "We were inspired by the longstanding history of collaborations between artists and designers, and the intersection of their respective creative fields. It was important to us that there was synergy between both the visual aesthetics of the artists and retailers, as well as a shared vision and philosophy behind their brand and creative practice."

Adds Susan Armstrong: "When we paired the right artist we knew straight away — it felt like a natural fit."

The works to seek out includes art displays from talented emerging artist Orson Heinrich in collaboration with Camilla & Marc, Dion Lee and acclaimed photographer Justin Ridler, sculpture artist Dion Horstmans teaming up with Jac+Jack, and more.

Dion Horstmans sculptural work at Jac + Jack.

"I think customers and visitors like to engage with a space through a number of different ways, whether that's by seeing a beautiful store window, a sculpture in situ, the architecture of the space, or the product displayed in a creative way," Michelle Grey told Concrete Playground. "In our curation we wanted the art to compliment all of the above, and give people another way to engage with Sydney's exciting creative scene."

Beyond the artworks and the shops themselves, throughout August The Strand will also host a Malfy Gin Cart and a Glenlivet Pop-Up Whisky Bar for teaming a tipple with your browsing. There will also be a series of Book Club and Espresso Martini evenings hosted by Jordan Turner (more info here), as well as styling showcases of the season's new collections available with renowned fashion stylists Nicole Bonython-Hines and Jessica Pecararo that can be reserved online.

Acid Flwrs installation for chocolatier Koko Black.

Photography credit: Brendan Thorne.

Published on August 17, 2023 by Suz Tucker
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