America has the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company and San Francisco's Pirate Supply Store; now Sydney, Australia has the Martian Embassy, a not-for-profit creative writing centre. It's a " fusion of a whale, a rocket and a time tunnel and was inspired by Moby Dick, H. G. Wells' Time Machine and 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick."
The concept is to awaken creativity in kids, so the design acts as a trigger, firing up the engines of imagination. It’s an intergalactic journey - from the embassy, at the street entrance, to the shop full of red planet traveller essentials, to the classroom. By the time kids reach the writing classes they have forgotten they are in “school”.
Designers LAVA, short for Laboratory for Visionary Architecture, describe it:
LAVA used a fluid geometry to merge the three program components [embassy, school and shop], and a computer model was sliced and ‘nested’ into buildable components. 1068 pieces of CNC-cut plywood were put together like a giant puzzle. Technologies from the yacht and space industry were used to create the timber ribs. Edged with Martian green, the curvy plywood flows seamlessly from reception desk to shop shelves to tables and benches. Walls, ceiling and floor, space, ornament and structure, become one element.
They laugh in the face of trends toward relocalization of manufacturing, importing their stock from vast distances:
A mix of Martian essential oils inspires young imaginations, whilst the sounds and lights of the red planet animate the space. Martian passports, alien money, 1kg cans of gravity, abduction kits and SPF 5000 sunscreen are just some of the 'Made on Mars' gift products sold in the Martian Embassy store.
Who needs Daniel Libeskind's silly cocktail napkin sketches; this is how real architects design.