TWELVE HOURS AT A BAR 1:1 design-build-enjoy

Yesterday was a fun day. I built a bar. That’s right, I built a functional beverage serving bar for Perth’s latest creative installation. 1:1 is a project that ‘aims to create a collaboration between architecture students and professionals as a way of building relationships and forming a creative discourse’. Check out the time lapse video from 1:1 in Sydney last year.


This year Perth joined Sydney, bringing 1:1 across the continent to the warehouse space of Perth City Farm, an urban farm that encourages the creation and support of sustainable food systems for community and environmental nourishment. On Friday 10th August 2012  teams in both cities were given a pile of ‘junk’ and a brief to design and construct a 1:1 scale installation constituting:

1. Entry statement
2. Chandelier
3. Spatial definers
4. Artwork/Interactive element
5. Tables
6. A bar (of course!)

Here’s my hourly account of the Perth event.

8:45am – Arrive at Perth City Farm for 9am start. Teams allocated, briefs distributed and materials assessed. Bartering allowed. I was on the bar team. Our materials were a sink, a rowing scull, timber slats, an mdf plank, perspex, wheels, rubber blocks, acrylic disks and plastic star-like things? Charged with coffee from the solar powered café the energy in the warehouse was electric and creative juices were a flow instantaneously!

9:45am – Each team seems to have a game plan. Some teams are showing more visible progress than others. Bartering and team interaction has occurred.

10:45am – Everyone is busy working away! Mike from Q3 Architecture has taken on the role of power tool expert for the day. He is very popular indeed.

11:45am – Work has spilled out of the warehouse into the courtyard facing the café and the mouth watering aroma of sausages on the barbecue is getting very distracting! Simone and Jess of sqm have thought about everyone with beef, lamb and vego sausages. Bread-wise there are white, multi-grain and rye rolls. What a feast!

12:45pm – How lovely it is out here in the sun. Beats sitting at a desk all day. A relaxed BBQ lunch is a great chance to re-fuel and chat with students and professionals from other teams.

1:45pm – We’ve passed the halfway mark and a lot of teams are making visible progress now!

2:45pm – Mike and his power tools are busier than ever!

3:45pm – The clock is ticking! Working on the ever-so-important bar, we have experimented with a number of different ideas and are now reaching for the finish line with our final design strategy.

4:45pm – Work has stopped and it’s time for clean-up! Each team has successfully completed their component of the installation. Smiles all round 🙂

5:45pm – Friends and colleagues have begun to arrive. The rowing scull bar is functioning wonderfully! We didn’t need the sink in the end because we cut out the main body of the scull and filled it with ice. Voila! Instant beverage cooler!

6:45pm – Lara MackIntosh from CEFPI and Geoff Warn from Donaldson and Warn shared their thoughts on the creative work as judges tasked with the selection of the winning team. (Gee, if I knew there was a prize I would have worked a little harder :P) As Lara had been present the entire day she was able to observe team dynamics and noted that the entry statement team made the fastest visible progress, the spatial definers maintained productivity although a certain amount of their work had come undone after lunch (as it sometimes does in the design process), our bar team was working away individually until the very end when we brought all our parts together to assemble what is one very outstanding piece, and it was hard to distinguish the students from the professionals – implying that architecture keeps one youthful, perhaps? Geoff commented on the design elements and was inspiringly poetic in doing so. What a pro he is with the mic. He’s definitely done this before 😉 I won’t try to relate his eloquent comments because that would be like an amateur trying to replicate a master’s work. But I will tell you that after a three-step elimination process the winning team was the artwork/interactive element for their drinking game that hangs from the roof incorporating spanners, industrial brushes and an old wheelbarrow. Each team member won a voucher for Venn. Not going to lie, I am envious. You can find a lot of cool stuff at Venn. And Venn is one of the select places in Perth that serve Matsos ginger beer. Our bar came a close second. Maybe it would have been too obvious to give the win to this masterpiece? I am happy nonetheless because the bar is one of two components that will be kept in the warehouse permanently! The other component to be kept is the chandelier of bicycle parts, plastic and perspex.

7:45pm – Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better spring rolls start circulating the warehouse! Followed shortly after by samosas, sushi, mini pies/sausage rolls and fish cakes. Yum!

8:45pm – What an amazing day! I feel a very good exhausted.

An iPhone shot from behind the bar. I love how that guy is admiring/caressing the scull 😀 Can’t wait to see the professional photos taken by Crib Creative!

A massive thanks to sqm for organising this day of creative explosion!

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