INDEX Graduate Exhibition

About the project

INDEX is the RMIT Interior Design Graduate Exhibition, showcasing student’s major projects presented in a space which is designed and constructed by the students. The exhibition kicked off with a big opening night party which was followed by a week-long series of public events in collaboration with our principal partners Wulff Projects, Icon Co and Assemble.

The site this year was a large Brutalist warehouse recently purchased by Assemble which will soon be transformed a small footprint residential development. Our brief was simple – transform an old distribution warehouse into a captivating design exhibition, complete with library, bar and DJ booth – all in seven days.

Work began the day after I completed my final presentation – time was of the essence if we wanted to pull off one of the boldest installations in recent INDEX history. Labour was supplied by the sixty RMIT graduates, along with RMIT staff who worked immensely hard to ensure every pair of hands was put to good use. It was a crash course in demolition, construction, lighting, joinery and time management – our goals were lofty, but we were all eager to fulfill the challenging brief we had set ourselves.

As the week wore on the days became longer, with one’s diet comprising mainly of coffee and takeaway pizza. People soon feel into their roles; the lighting team tackled the dusty trusses and manoeuvred the scissor lift amongst the chaotic warehouse floor while the joinery team assembled timber stand after timber stand, creating jigs and improvising book shelves for the library. The curtain team measured out metre upon metre of silver lamé, creating the iconic ‘disco curtain’ that would greet visitors on Roseneath Street. Pallets of breezeblocks were unpacked and carefully assembled to create the bar and DJ booth. Walls were painted, holes were then cut into said walls, furniture was constructed and most importantly, a lot of fun was had!

The finishing touches were finalised just an hour before the doors opened to the public. As expected, there were several targets that we did not meet, but overall we were ecstatic with our efforts and all that we had accomplished in the limited timeframe.

The opening night was a huge success – we were overjoyed by the enormous turn out of friends, family, students, Melbourne designers and industry professionals. Sadly the night had to wind up around midnight, however it was a welcome excuse to go home and have a long, long sleep. Waking up with nothing to do was quite a change after a hectic few months of Uni and INDEX preparations.

INDEX was the most rewarding and enjoyable project I worked on while studying at RMIT – I thrived in the hands-on, get down and dirty environment and relished the opportunity to spend long days working alongside fellow students and staff. It was a great way to re-connect with friends that I had made throughout the four years of the course but had maybe not seen for some time due to different studios/classes etc. It was a pity that it marked the end of our time together. It brought us all a lot closer together, however cemented relationships that will continue to prosper as we all enter the industry as inspired, fresh and invigorated designers.

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Hilary McAllister

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