The heritage-listed Mutual Store apartment owners are inviting locals to view their brand new murals on July 13.
The Mutual Store Emporium, on the corner of Flinders and Degraves streets, and opposite Flinders Street Station, was the very first department store to open in Melbourne in 1872.
It expanded to include the Empire Building next door and traded well for nearly 100 years before mass production and modern consumerism rendered its sophisticated and expensive wares unfashionable and unprofitable, and it closed its doors in 1965.
The CAE moved in and occupied the premises for the next 40 years, before relocating to Degraves St and Flinders Lane in the early 2000s.
Since then The Mutual Store and Empire Buildings have been beautifully restored and developed into apartments, and a series of large scale murals have now been designed for each level of The Mutual building, commemorating its early days, and referencing the long-forgotten leisure, style and grandeur of high-end shopping in the early 20th century. Each floor has its own entirely unique mural, depicting a scene from the department store in its heyday, and showing the particular range of goods available on that floor – drapery and fancy goods, millinery and mantles, even refreshment room and counting house!
The designing artist, Sasha Heath, has done similar mural work in Melbourne for many cafés and architectural spaces, including a large work currently showing in the Facebook office, of a stylised Melbourne tram.
Whilst normally closed to the public, there is a one-time opportunity to view these significant works at the opening event, to be held at The Mutual Store Building, 9 Degraves St, on Thursday, July 13, from 6.30pm.
The artist and organisers will be present to discuss the works, and time-lapse footage of the murals being painted will be shown during the proceedings. All welcome.