One of the most iconic spaces at RMIT’s City campus has just been given a facelift.
With a design that holds its own against some of Melbourne’s famous outdoor bars and ‘pop-up’ restaurants, the Alumni Courtyard is now decked out with new pallet furniture, dozens of bar stools and tables with a centrepiece featuring hanging foliage balls.
Students used the work integrated learning opportunity to hone their skills in ‘event space design’ while working alongside various suppliers including furniture vendors, various tradespeople, and RMIT’s Property Services.
Student Libby Matson said the design and implementation process was a “true eye-opener”.
“We learned a lot about sourcing supplies, time management, budgeting and the importance of communication and commitment from all team members,” she said.
“It was a great experience and we're grateful to have had the opportunity to put our learnings into practice in somewhat of a flexible, controlled environment before we head out into the real world upon graduation in June this year.”
Matson said the large foliage balls formed the centre piece of the design.
The balls are suspended from a custom made metal frame in the centre of the marquee with copper coloured rope and hessian running through clusters of hanging foliage.
Fellow student Bridget Hutchison said the project was not all smooth sailing as they worked in a ‘real-life’ environment.
The students had ongoing discussions with their client, RMIT, over such issues as occupational health and safety while also working to a tight deadline and dealing with restrictions on work hours.
“I really enjoyed the project and I am really happy with the outcome of the space,” Hutchison said.
“I think everything looks awesome.”
Visual Merchandising Program Coordinator, Sam Falanga, said the design process posed some fascinating challenges for students to negotiate, but overall he said they will have gained great benefit from their dealings with various stakeholders while working to budget and deadline.
“This was not an easy job to produce however the end result looks great,” he said.
Alumni Courtyard is a site filled with history. It once formed part of the Old Melbourne Gaol and is still framed by the Gaol’s historic blue stone walls.
The space also once acted as a garage for the Russell Street police station, before a campus renewal project, Urban Spaces, saw it integrated into the campus as a social space for students and staff.
RUSU use the space for their regular Chill n Grill BBQs and festivals and it provides the perfect setting for markets and events.
Story: Brenton Shaughnessy