Recent news reports about Queensland’s retail landscape might have been heavily focused on the newly revamped Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast, but if boutique, curated designer shopping is your preference then James Street is the must-visit destination. Located just outside of the CBD, in New Farm, the James Street redevelopment is notable for its focus on art and lifestyle, with regular pop-up installations and a broad selection of bars, restaurants and cafes accompanying stores including Optiko Eyewear, Camargue, Gail Sorronda, Kit & Ace, Scanlan and Theodore, Mitchell Fine Art and Bang & Olufsen, in a previously tired neighbourhood cornered by the Institute of Modern Art.
Each year, James Street welcomes the resort collections (fitting, given its geography) with a week of special events, talks, launches and interactive experiences. A highlight of this year’s program is Blackout in a Glasshouse, a special installation by Australian-born, Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary artist Jonathan Zawada. Created in response to the Queensland government’s lock-out laws, Mr Zawada’s creation makes comment on the positive experiences that can take place after dark, highlighting the fragility and beauty of a night culture that is at risk from the lockout legislation, taking the form of a raised glasshouse with live blooms illuminated by black UV light, exhibiting a gentle phosphorescent glow.
Manuscript editor-in-chief Mitchell Oakley Smith will host a conversation with Mr Zawada at the installation’s unveiling on the afternoon of Thursday 13 October 2016. As well as bars, performances and art installations along the strip throughout the opening evening, other highlights of the event include a conversation between Romance Was Born designers Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales and Manuscript associate editor Alison Kubler; Gail Sorronda’s cruise 2017 collection presentation, and a special lunch to celebrate the release of Maticevski: The Elegant Rebel, a book about Australian designer Toni Maticevski by Mr Oakley Smith.