MANY 6160: Fremantle’s Temporary Retail Hub, Workshop and Event Space
Words by: Freya Hall
Image Credit: Dave Sharp, Vanity Projects
When the old Myer store in Fremantle closed its doors in January 2013 many feared the 5-story building would become a dilapidated eyesore plaguing the heart of the vibrant port city. However, as fate would have it, this could not be further from the truth.
The Myer building was not vacant for long before Spacemarket, a not-for-profit organisation specialising in ‘pairing disused spaces with useful people’, decided to give the building a facelift. Blood, sweat, tears and 576 coats of paint later, MANY 6160 was born.
MANY 6160 is now home to an eclectic range of creatives all operating in a complementary coexistence.
On the ground floor you will find individuals, groups, franchises, and businesses; running retail operations in a pop-up like, organic open space. Perth locals will recognise Pigeonhole, Billie & Rose and artworks by Anya Brock. But there are also vintage shops, a café and even a hairdresser on this floor.
In the centre of the ground floor there is a suspended, cylindrical, velveteen curtain concealing the escalator to the first floor. The curtain stands in stark majesty to the other whitewashed walls, reminiscent in grandeur to those in Twin Peaks’ black lodge.
But the surrealist fit-out doesn’t end there – wandering around you’ll also notice a cheese sculpture the size of a St Bernard, church pews, technicolour furniture, and a large alphabet imprinted on the floor. In this sense, the interior of MANY 6160 provides an oasis within a building that, from all outside appearances, can only be described as ‘beige’.
If you wander up the now defunct escalator you’ll find one of the three production floors. These floors are filled with artists, designers, sculptors, musicians and craftspersons using the building as studio space. If you peer through the artistically rendered grates at the top of the escalator you can see workshops pragmatically coexisting amongst abandoned Myer artefacts, such as ‘Miss Shop’ signage.
The rooftop, which was previously used as parking space by Myer employees, is now an entertainment area that is used to host events such as parties, gigs, outdoor cinema, and yoga classes.
Given its multileveled capacity, MANY 6160 is unlike regular pop-up shops. Not only does it provide unparalleled opportunities for artistic collaboration and facilitation in Perth, but it has also been described as the ‘the largest temporary space occupation of its kind in the world.’
Sadly, MANY 6160 is temporary and will only exist until redevelopment plans for Kings Square are finalised. So, if you haven’t had time to visit I suggest you make it a priority. I can personally vouch that I left MANY 6160 one Cruella De Vil-esque faux fur coat richer and very intrigued.
MANY 6160 is open Thursday to Sunday 10am to 5pm.