While the Arts and Craft Movement began in Australia in 1972, it took many years for it to gain momentum. Sculptor Adam Ferrante had just graduated from the Victorian College of Arts and after undertaking a scholarship in Missouri, he went to New York City to check out its art scene. “I happened to stumble across the Brooklyn Dumbo Collective which is basically an art precinct underneath the Brooklyn Bridge,” he tells GRAZIA. “They used to hold a market every weekend. I thought it was a great idea to have back here in Melbourne where you can sell direct to the public as opposed to going through the gallery system. As you do when you travel, you bring things home.”
There were other precincts emerging at the time; London, Berlin – but none in Australia. “The underground art scene was a movement that was occurring in the early 90s due to the world economic crash,” explains Adam. “The overheads and prices to sell through the gallery system were too steep for artists.” Inspired and with the help of his brother Christian, Adam transformed their father’s car junkyard into an Artist’s market on Rose Street in Melbourne which has been running now for a staggering 16 years. And unlike the exorbitant rent costs of Melbourne shop leases, “artists can test their products then and there without the big associated costs on the High Street”.
“The market attracts trends. When people aren’t performing or aren’t selling, they tend to move on. It happens organically,” explains Christian. “People apply with up-cycled or recycled goods and they tend to flourish. But the people who are applying, we handpick. As trends develop, you get more and more people applying and we integrate them into the market mix. We have some really great makers at the moment who are all about sustainability and products with a low carbon footprint.”
“It’s a maker’s market,” interjects Adam. “You don’t get in unless you make it.”
Coming to life on Saturdays and Sundays, the Ferrante brothers count the coffee cart as an essential part of the market’s success playing a vital role in forging connections between artists and visitors. “I know the market wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for coffee,” laughs Christian. “From day one, it was ‘Where’s the coffee cart going to be?’ And then ‘Where are the artists going to be?’ You don’t get one without the other. Coffee brings people together.”
Just as they vet good quality products, they need good quality coffee and use a Nespresso Vertuo at home to recreate the café style coffee their city is known for. Whether it be a short Espresso or Gran Lungo blend the Nespresso Vertuo uses a patented extraction technology to ensure its experience is top notch. “People are creative in Melbourne – in art and design and in food. You can’t cut it with a trestle table and some products and you can’t cut it with bad coffee,” says Adam.
Just like Brooklyn in the winter, “café culture goes with Melbourne’s climate,” says Adam.
Creative Direction: Dané Stojanovic
Videography: Mitch Payne
Makeup: Mae Taylor