Arts Centre Melbourne Cafe

TypeCafeLocationSt Kilda Rd, MelbourneClientArts Centre MelbourneYear2019StatusCompleteArchitectCumulus StudioImagesSean Fennessy & Jason Lau


Protagonist is the result of a 2018 Arts Centre Melbourne design competition which challenged a curated selection of Victorian architecture studios to design a unique and memorable home for the existing ACM forecourt cafe.

The new interactive design features a polished stainless steel base and an adjustable ‘Kaynemaile’ mesh exterior reminiscent of folding theatre curtains. In the morning, the curtain is raised to the desired form (fully open in summer, partially closed for private events) and is a visible, welcoming symbol that it is open from afar. At night, the curtains are lowered and locked to create a secure compound.

The lowered curtain creates a veil which can be used for art projection, marketing and branding of upcoming ACM events, and lighting to activate the precinct at night.

Despite it’s semi-temporary construction, the protagonist feels at home among the grand buildings of St Kilda Road, with key references in form and palette within the ACM spire and the bronze NGV roof.