COVID-19 has crystallised a social and economic movement bubbling beneath the surface of this past decade. We have seen mass introspection and a re-examination of how we live and want to live.

Existing businesses & tenancies now forced to re-address their relationship with the High Street. We must speculate further on how these spaces can be utilised & maximised. The storefronts of these spaces present an opportunity to re-imagine and re-invigorate our high streets. To define new kinds of communities. Physically distanced yet closer together.

alt.material has chosen these storefront opportunities as locations for its 5th exhibition titled “COMMUNITY”. Sites that can engage with the street without the need to enter a physical space. Inviting designers to fabricate a piece of furniture or object that articulates & responds to the theme of COMMUNITY. Be it a functional response — such as an item of furniture — or an exploration of how do we might give form to COMMUNITY as metaphor. How does the designer respond to issues of proximity now that we are forced apart yet desperate for global connection?

Works are produced by leading & emerging designers from Australia, UK & Europe. Each designer has been selected based on their body of work, level of energy and alignment with the exhibition theme. The exhibition is comprised of 22 storefronts within the suburbs of Collingwood & Fitzroy, spanning the length of Smith, Gertrude & Brunswick Streets. Each one exhibiting a piece of furniture or object. Experienced on foot or as part of a curated walking tour. Each exhibit available to purchase via a digital auction.

COMMUNITY speculates on the future uses of storefront spaces. A catalyst for new opportunities to utilise space and re-animate our high streets.

— Ben Edwards, Studio Edwards