May 22nd, 2019.
Melbourne’s Smith Street, Fitzroy is the epicenter of the City’s alter ego. The deeply resonant beat that reverberates throughout the area is symbolic of the dynamic creativity and vibrantly unique atmosphere that Melbourne does so well.
A melting pot of humanity and commerce alike, Smith Streets’ south end, in particular, is currently in the midst of an evolution that started with the central retail district in the ’90s. Slowly, as the saturation of fresh produce sellers, bakeries and unassuming greek cafes began to thin, and tenancy rates started to push new industry to the outskirts of the central business district, Smith Street began to experience the inevitable trickle-down effect as the new enterprise’s set up left and right. Soon a veritable flood of high-end businesses began to settle between the established purveyors of commerce around the Johnston Street intersection. Revamped interiors of commercial spaces were injected with contemporary aesthetic’s that, in some instances, challenged the elegantly imposing Victorian facades.
With much of the development of Smith Street dating back to its boom days of the late 1800’s, streetscapes depict an historical relevance that anchors the precinct and evokes a sense of tolerance. This notion of patience seems to have inadvertently paid off in the south end of the street which has relatively recently experienced its turn in the evolution of the strip. While many institutions remain – Alex W Grant Violins with its classic fit out wholly aligned to its business as well as the building itself. 3CR which has weathered the assault of decades of graffiti and risen to status in the world of street art – newcomers are approaching the development of their Smith Street bases with a considered approach that is much more reminiscent of the streets golden days where an overwhelming sense of community pervaded.
Double Monk, Aesop, and Saint Francis Place are perfect examples of the elevated and timeless approach of brands that are creating a new atmosphere in the south end of Smith Street. With sensitive design integrations that culminate in interiors and branding much more in harmony with the streetscape and much more resonant with Fitzroy’s demographic today, these are tenants that are poetically and considerately slipping into the new normal of Smith Street.
9 Smith Street by Neometro epitomizes the timeless aesthetic that is effortlessly bookended by 100-year-old buildings. Hovering above clean, minimal tenancies on the ground floor (one being the new home of Neometro’s practice) and reflecting the historic vigil of the industrial buildings across the road, the qualities of community and bespoke trade remain, with the invisible boundary represented by Gertrude Street provides respite from the nearby buzz.
Words by Tiffany Jade.