Fish Lane – a reinvigorated cultural energy

2016 also saw the beginnings of a collaboration between CREATIVEMOVE and the ARIA Property Group to implement the Fish Lane Art Program. ARIA is committed to making Fish Lane the best dining precinct in Australia. To this vision, CREATIVEMOVE has contributed a Fish Lane Public Art Strategy that is based around the curatorial rationale of ‘alternating current’. This proposes a relay of reciprocal ‘flow’ across all four blocks of the Lane, end to end, which constantly energises the Lane with engagement, expectations, and experiences, day and night.

Fish Lane is a long and fairly narrow strip of flat road parallel to Melbourne Street in South Brisbane. It functions as a service lane and is also commonly used as a pedestrian thoroughfare. The nature of the buildings abutting the laneway adds to the character of the space. Glimpses of timber escape stairs situated behind the Corio and Merivale Flats, and remnants of the loading bay that serviced the back of the commercial building at 27 Cordelia Street, demonstrate the historical development of the Lane. Fish Lane is clearly of cultural significance, as it has been listed on the Local Heritage Register. [Brisbane City Council – Fish Lane Heritage Citation]

To this heritage context, developers such as ARIA are adding premium dwellings such as the Melbourne Residences. Located on Melbourne Street and Fish Lane, the Residences comprise 178 residential apartments and exclusive residents’ amenities over 20 levels. Occupying a significant site on Melbourne Street, the Residences provide unprecedented amenity with numerous retail and dining options. It is at the heart of the peninsula, with the Cultural Centre, Convention Centre, and South Bank Parklands on one side and West End’s retail and dining district in Boundary Street on the other.

The Art Strategy details the themes and drivers, process and priorities for the commissioning of new artworks that are reflective of the character of the Lane, fit for a laneway in a new world city, and is grounded in existing Brisbane traditions and supportive of local artists. It offers an opportunity to develop an edgy precinct that extends South Brisbane’s burgeoning urban amenity through public art interventions and activations. Combining permanent, temporary, and changing artworks, the Strategy will create a destination and experiential immersion for audiences seeking out vibrant public places. The first three works are scheduled to roll out in time for the Fish Lane Festival in May 2017.

These artworks will enhance the reason why people are in the precinct – either to do business, spend time, enjoy dining, or to just chill out and enjoy a cultural experience that engages locals and visitors alike. ARIA is also active outside of its development footprint, contributing substantially to a partnership with Brisbane City Council to deliver the City of Lights initiative in collaboration with Luxxbox. Over the past two years, ARIA has worked with lighting specialists Luxxbox, Council engineers, and arborists to design the new lighting system that runs along four blocks of South Brisbane’s Melbourne Street. More than 200 hand-crafted lanterns of varying sizes have been made for the project and are currently being installed on 20 trees along the street.

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Fish Lane. Photo: Courtesy ARIA Property Group