Communications and Social Relations Assessment 3- Final Publication Group Members-‐ Sophie Cooper, Suzannah Ahearn, Eleanor Marsh
ARTEFACT #1 “Royal Arcade”
Royal Arcade, home to fashion houses and speciality stores, is a testament to an existence of Melbourne that has passed away. Despite several refurbishments, the Renaissance-‐style architecture still remains from 1869. In 1995 the arcade was placed on the Victorian Heritage Registry (Royal Arcade n.d). This is an indication that the arcade remains an iconic landmark to inner-‐city Melbourne, but it has found this position difficult to maintain for some years now. There are several reasons for the decline of the arcade in Melbourne, the most notable being the rise of large-‐scale department store and suburban mall shopping. McCann (1996) notes that CBD and suburban shopping precinct development has been rife in recent years, due to politicians and developers belief that this is imperative in maintaining the economic practicality of the city as well as maintaining ‘fashionableness’.
Arcades were brought to Melbourne in the 19th century as the manifestation of European fashion, and were praised for their likeness to the arcades of London and Paris (McCann 1996). McCann describes Royal Arcade as once being an ‘ornament to the city ’. Arcades housed anything from fashion, to travel agencies, to tobacco and personal hygiene. The intimacy and personal experience of this ‘indoor street’ shopping acted as a seclusion for women from the outside world and arcades came to personify consumerism in the early 1990’s(Davison 2006). However, as Architect Dimity Reed comments, in the late 1980’s people lost interest in values or understanding how civilisation functions, all they saw was ‘money and cranes in the sky’. Retail trade in Melbourne had undergone and continued to undergo a series of profound changes. Davison attributes this to the rise of ‘new technologies, marketing techniques, social and economic preferences, architectural styles and planning philosophies’ which ‘remade the physical and social milieu of shopping’. Shopping malls and department stores simply provided more choice, and were more efficient. The construction of an extensive rail and tram network spreading out to the suburbs, created a constant flow of commuter traffic, allowing shopping precincts to be built away from the CBD. The advent of mass car-‐ownership was the single most important factor in the rise of the regional shopping mall (Davison 2006). Arcades and laneway shopping did not provide weather protection, nor did they offer the newfound obsession of fast food. A notable observation by Davison is that the context in which people shop has come to be seen as a paradigm of how the modern city structures broader social relationships. Currently we are witnessing a shift in the culture of shopping, back towards boutique laneway shopping experiences.
In the 1980’s the arcade underwent refurbishment to ‘recreate a style of past living that had faded’ (McCann 1996). The Chairman of the committee overseeing the renovations sought for customers to feel valued, rather than just ‘another ticket on the cash register’ (McCann 1996). The issue of architectural taste has a profound impact on the use of landmarks such as the Royal Arcade, and attempts at updating the arcade have been halted by the fear of losing the original foundations. McCann believes that it is possible for historical sites to remain in an era of rapid change. To illustrate this he points to the success at preserving the Coop’s Shot Tower in Melbourne Central which has been incorporated into the contemporary surrounding structure. ARTEFACT #2 “Centre Place”
Centre Place is a narrow laneway that runs between Flinders Lane and Collins Street. It is a characteristic combination of tiny cafes, vibrant bars and boutique shops. A unique spot always buzzing with people hurrying to work and others sitting, chatting and eating at intimate tables, which spill out onto the path from matchbox-‐sized restaurants. As you look left up the alleyway from flinders lane the wrought iron “Centre Place” sign, written in cursive script, immediately attracts your attention to the quirky alleyway. As you begin to walk up the path you notice that every few meters there is a new brightly coloured sign, a subtle change in the outdoors furniture and aroma that indicates a slight change in menu and therefore restaurant. Italian immigrants first introduced Melbourne to coffee after the First World War (Frost et al. 2010). However Melbourne’s coffee culture heritage was not just simply imported from Italy, as food historian Michael Symons (2007) stated; Melbournians have “followed the Italians in making espresso, and the French in sitting around cafes’.” Centre Place, like some other laneways, is the product of globalization and Melbournians own twist on European cultures. The popularity of Centre Place, it seems, can be intrinsically linked to its success in creating a European ambience and experience. Melbourne prides itself on this, as a high-‐quality coffee culture is seen as an attribute for a city to require in order for it to seem sophisticated and chic. Melbourne’s laneways are as much an advertising tool as they are a cultural part of Melbourne’s identity. Centre place, like all of Melbourne’s “grungy chic” laneways, was once considered the slums of the city (Ferreter et al. 2008) .Recent changes in attitudes, which have resulted in rejuvenating and embracing the laneways, have come from a desire for Melbourne to appear and be recognized as a “global city.” This is evident in the most recent advertising campaign “lose yourself in Melbourne” which
depicts Melbourne as being a destination to be discovered on foot, and embraced through sophisticated cuisine, art, popular culture and fashion. Melbourne laneways offer a unique experience and Centre Place has great global appeal due to its European atmosphere with a quirky twist. The city council has made it clear that the plan for the future is to further develop the network of lanes to enhance the reputation of Melbourne for its café culture as well as market the city as the laneway capital of Australia (Ferreter et al. 2008). It could be said that in an age where technology has removed the need for interpersonal communication, that café culture represents one of the few remaining opportunities for public sociability. (J Montgomery 1997) The social atmosphere of cafes and restaurants is being even further implemented through the use of communal rather than individual tables. Centre Place creates many opportunities for this through its variety of treasures that create a truly “Melbourne” experience which has plenty of “global” appeal. ARTEFACT #3 “Waffle On”
The ‘Waffle On’ French café with attached waffle stall is located in the inner city popular laneway, Degraves St. Degraves St. and the adjoining laneways are a prominent tourist attraction in Melbourne and are ‘where Melbourne’s love affair with coffee explores its roots in the many European inspired cafes.’(Hewitt, 2009) ‘Waffle On’ opened in July 2003 and is situated next to the underground entrance to Flinders St Station, the stalls receive a constant flow of hungry commuters. There is street graffiti surrounding the cafe, its style and set up create a Parisian street cafe atmosphere. ‘Waffle On’ with its French staff and Fresh baguettes conveys an authentically French character. The owner Marc Laucher and his staff are known for constantly speaking in French to their customers, this inherently is part of the appeal as it transforms the simple act of getting a quick lunch, into a cultural experience. ‘Waffle On’ illustrates how a place can contribute to Melbourne’s overall branding image, and also its consumers’ perceptions of their own identity. The shops such as ‘Waffle On’ in Melbourne’s laneways are linked with Melbourne’s branding attempt to perpetuate a somewhat cosmopolitan European image. Donald (2010) highlights that this branding attempt is strategically aimed to encourage tourism from neighbouring Asian countries as they can ‘experience Europe’ without the costs and travel, within Melbourne’s lanes. In conjunction with perpetuating Melbourne’s brand image, it also allows Melbournians to feel cultured, without traveling the world. The popularity of ‘Waffle On’ seems to be its success of encapsulating a European atmosphere and creating what its customers call a ‘real cultural experience’ (Lizee 2005). In a multicultural city such as Melbourne, people
are on the search for new and authentic experiences every day. Where people live, work, and eat seems to be intrinsically linked with the formation of a person’s identity. Rofe (2003) argues that the cities gentrified class distinguish themselves by viewing themselves as ‘global citizens.’ Such cultural artefacts can contribute to a person’s identity, and their possible view of being a global citizen as it ‘infuses the individual with a sense of cosmopolitanism’ (Rofe 2003). ‘Waffle On’ offers a person this brief cultural experience, such as encouraging customers to order in French. A case study of a man who considered himself a ‘global citizen’ in Rofe’s study said he ‘likes to experience different cultures, not some cheap fake copy.’ Elliot and Davies study of subcultures argues that consumers are engaged in a ‘symbolic project’ where the consumer actively builds an identity out of symbolic materials (2006). Products and places hold cultural meaning which consumers can draw from. This constant search for something new and ‘real’ leads our consumer driven industries to constantly try and advertise something ‘authentic’ that will provide its customer with an experience. Just as ‘authenticity in the performance of identity’ (Elliot & Davies) is important in the construction of an individuals image. Authenticity is a crucial part of creating a successful marketed brand or image. The advertising industry is continuously trying to create an experience for the customer rather than just a product.
REFERECNES ARTEFACT #1 Davison G 2006 ‘From the Market to the Mall: A Short History of Shopping in Melbourne’ Background Report for Department of Sustainability and Environment Retail Policy Review 2008 McCann A 1996, ‘Melbourne’s Royal Arcade and the Empty Time of Fashion’ in Australian Historical Studies, vol. 27, no. 107, pp. 343-‐355 Royal Arcade Website, author/date not given, last viewed 3rd June 2010 < http://www.royalarcade.com.au/new_page_1.htm> ARTEFACT #2 Ferreter S, Lewis M , Pickford M. 2008 ‘Melbourne’s Revitalized Laneways’ last viewed 24th May 2010 <http://courses.washington.edu/gehlstud/Precedent%20Studies/Melbou rne_Lanes.pdf> Frost W, Laing J , Wheeler F, & Reeves K, 2010, ‘Chapter 7: Coffee Culture, Heritage and destination Image: Melbourne and the Italian model’, in Jolliffe L, Coffee Culture, Destinations and Tourism, Channel view, Great Britain, pp. 99-‐110 Montgomery J, 1997 ‘Café culture and the city: The role of pavement cafes in urban public social life’ Journal of Urban Design, University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire, UK ARTEFACT #3 Donald, S 2010. Lecture ‘Destination X: The Branded City’, Communication and Social Relations (COMM2411) Course, RMIT University, 13th April 2010.
Donald, S & Gammock, J 2007, Tourism and the Branded City: film and identity on the Pacific Rim, p.45-‐61, Aldershot, England Burlington, VT Elliot, R & Davies, A 2006, Symbolic Brands and the authenticity of Identity Performance in ‘Brand Culture’ Edited by J.Schreoder & M.Salzer-‐ Morlins Routledge. New York. Hewitt, A 2009, Lose Yourself in Melbourne’s Laneways: Melbournes Top Attractions, Ripefruit Media <http://www.onlymelbourne.com.au/melbourne_details.php?id=94 08> By ‘Lizee’, 2005, ‘French Charm, Belgium Recipe’ Blog -‐ Restaurant Review <http://www.mcity.com.au/melbourne/eating/634/waffle-‐on> Rofe, M 2003, Theorising the gentrifying Class as an Emergent Elite Global Community, Volume 40, Urban Studies. Routledge, London