The Antithesis of Formality—MATTER by Fiona Lynch

Words by Olivia Hides
Photography by Sean Fennessy

In a conscious juxtaposition to the taut architectural skin of the newly developed Melbourne CBD precinct 80 Collins, designed by London-based Universal Design Studio, MATTER by Fiona Lynch is an assemblage of organic sculptural forms.

Located within the entrance lobbies of the 80 Collins North and South Towers, this evocative, purposeful insertion within the traditionally streamlined and sterile corporate environment hides seating and concierge services within the oversized timber vessels that seem randomly arrayed in the space. Crafted from solid Monterey cyprus timber reclaimed from Victorian farms, each bowl was shaped by master woodturner Charles Sandford and then scorched to achieve a charred, blackened effect (naturally protecting the timber) by shou sugi ban artist Makiko Ryujin.

Commemorating a sense of arrival, both the raw materiality and the arrangement of the sculptures, which influences the path one may take through the spaces, encourages a closer engagement that suggests a moment’s pause in the often busy and crowded foyers.

As one of Melbourne’s largest CBD developments in recent decades, 80 Collins houses a mixture of office spaces, retail shopping and hospitality ventures as well as the new Next Hotel. Commemorating a sense of arrival, both the raw materiality and the arrangement of the sculptures, which influences the path one may take through the spaces, encourages a closer engagement that suggests a moment’s pause in the often busy and crowded foyers.

Speaking to a wide range of concerns – from the transformation of matter through art, design and commerce to the interaction between people and their environment – MATTER plays a subtle yet meaningful role in shaping the experience of the buildings.