The people of Moorabbin had a simple request: they wanted somewhere to have a drink on a Friday night. So, Kingston Arts decided they’d give it to them. “There was a call-out from the local traders to have somewhere to go and have something to do that was close to them, after work on a Friday,” says arts team leader, Adrian Nunes.
To meet their request, the city brought in acclaimed Melbourne design firm, Nest Architects, to build a visionary new bar in the Kingston City Hall. Located on the heritage building’s third level, the lounge’s design resonates with the building’s 1960’s modernist aesthetic. Taking cues from the hall’s 1928 Wurlitzer organ, the bar is constructed from a wave of metal piping, surrounded by parquetry trim. “We’ve used all of the parts of the building as inspiration for the new design,” says Adrian. “This parquetry was the floor of the city hall. All of the pipe work, and the lights, are inspired by the Wurlitzer.”
If the unique design isn’t enough of a drawcard, Kingston Arts programmer Steve Kingi is currently assembling a 13-week lineup of live music acts in the works. “We’ve got various live performances, bands, trios and DJ’s,” he explains. “Each time you come here it’s going to be a different genre: it might be rock-and-roll, it might be swing, roots, reggae – we’re casting our net pretty far and wide.”
The idea is to start the Winter Sessions modestly, with small acts for locals, and ramp up events as time goes on. “Our starting point is one night a week, let’s put some small acts on, in intimate spaces,” says Steve. “Let’s start out there, then move into bigger spaces with the hope of filling the room.”
Big-name acts certainly wouldn’t be a first for the building, with bands like AC/DC and INXS pulling crowds to Kingston. “The idea is definitely to build capacity for live music. What we’d like to do, ultimately, with this building, is focus on music,” says Adrian. “Big-scale music, small-scale music, cabaret, touring artists, internationals – all sorts of things.”
For the meantime, however, the Endless Winter Nights series will run every Friday night from 5pm, with acts starting at 8pm.