Creatives have a new space to cook up ideas with the launch of the Semi-Permanent Research Lab at 65 MacKelvie St in Ponsonby, Auckland, tonight.
Spanning all fields from street art to digital media and design, Semi-Permanent director and lab curator Simon Velvin says there's a programme laid out for the year ahead that hopefully some local folk will slot neatly into.
That said, he also says there's "no real brief" and is encouraging anyone to approach them with ideas. "Come out and have a chat," he says. "We're massive on collaboration."
He says many larger organisations overseas have similar labs operating within their premises that act as a natural hub of creativity and innovation – though of course, they have the benefit of bigger budgets and a steady flow of international talent.
Powered by Chorus, the Semi-Permanent Research Lab will have a 1Gbps internet connection and host a series of events, activities and workshops.
“We want those working within the Lab to have access to tools, resources and international experts to encourage New Zealand’s creative entrepreneurs to think globally and create locally,” says Velvin.
"Chorus has been awesome. They've gone 'hey, we want you to do some cool stuff, and we've gone 'yeah, we'd love to'!"
Victoria Crone, GM of marketing and sales at Chorus, says the Semi-Permanent Research Lab collaboration is an extension of the ‘What will you be with UFB?’ campaign, which saw 12 kiwi design students take part in the largest synchronised digital art display in Times Square history.
“The Times Square art project was an opportunity of a life-time for the young artists taking part, and the Semi-Permanent Research Lab partnership aims to extend these great opportunities to the next generation of Kiwi artists,” says Crone.
Three existing collaborative projects will be on display at tonight's launch, including two with Stolen Girlfriends Club.
One is a twist on the ubiquitous road cone. “We were inspired by the road cones used by the Chorus workers,” says Velvin. “We thought, ‘how can we inject some fun into them?’ The end result is a road cone shaped as a shark fin. We don’t expect these to be universally adopted, but we will use them for the creative industry and special events.”
Another is ‘Semi-safe’, the first of five module concepts focused on designing safety products to give back to the community. First off the ranks is a high-visibility winter coat to be given to every pupil at Raglan Area School (which Stolen Girlfriends Club creative director Marc Moore attended). “The school has no uniforms so this is an opportunity to give them an identity and something to be proud of,” he says.
UK digital maestros Hellicar and Lewis will be in residence at the lab for the first two weeks after its opening.