Sydney Story Factory and the Earth’s first Martian Embassy and Gift Shop opened in the Sydney suburb of Redfern on 21 July 2012 after months of public anticipation.
Arup was one of 30 companies supporting the Martian Embassy project, providing pro-bono lighting, acoustic and AV design services. In close collaboration with the architects LAVA, the Arup team developed a scheme which took the architectural concept and applied additional layers via light and sound to to realise a unique visual and aural experience.
The lighting scheme for the Martian Embassy is based on two main components. Each side of the space is lit with colour changing LED lighting to give the space an ever changing and dynamic ‘Martian’ feel, while track based lighting from above provides general white lighting to working areas and highlights the retail space.
The AV and acoustic design helps provide a working environment through smart selection of materials with the AV sound system providing a custom designed soundscape adding to the overall immersive experience.
The intent of Arup's contribution to the Martian Embassy was to add another dimension to the space, and to differentiate it from anything that the users would have experienced before. This facility encourages creativity in young people and it was important to make the space conducive to that type of work.
The Sydney Story Factory is inspired by 826 Valencia, a creative writing centre for young people started by novelist Dave Eggers in San Francisco in 2002. To comply with zoning regulations, the centre had to include a shop so it was fronted by a Pirate Supply Store, selling everything the working buccaneer needs: peg legs, eye patches, parrot feed. It was a great success, providing an imaginative entrance to the writing centre, becoming a landmark in the local community, while raising revenue.
For more information, visit www.sydneystoryfactory.org.au