Freelance writer specialising in serendipity: the art of finding wonderful things by accident or sagacity. Comments and suggestions always welcome!
Published August 19th 2014
Fremantle's cooperative, creative retail space
When the Myer department store in Fremantle closed early in 2013, some people thought it would be the kiss of death for local business. A large vacant building at the heart of downtown could send the wrong message to visitors and investors, but where some saw failure, others saw opportunity. The Myre Project reimagined the building as a shared space that offered affordable opportunities for local artists and designers to create and sell their work. The doors opened in October 2013 and soon after the collective of shops and studios was renamed MANY 6160. Now, almost a year later, MANY is a thriving marketplace full of unique local wares that reflect Fremantle's eclectic style.
Visitors expecting crowded market stalls are in for a pleasant surprise. The ground level is dedicated to retailers and in a building with 20,000 square metres of floor space available, MANY's vendor guidelines emphasise open design with quality fittings. Colour is welcome and repurposed materials are encouraged. Roomy aisles make it easy to wander through the tempting arrays.
MANY strives to offer quality local goods that can't be found anywhere else. Here you'll find retailers like reSpoke, who transform discarded bicycles into useful new items, Maeker Studio custom handmade furniture and ANTIPODIUM London fashion. Bodhi Tree Surfboards supplies kits with everything necessary to build your own surfboard and Maden offers clothing, gifts and homewares by five artists. Visit MANY's Facebook or Instagram page for more information about the range of shops and products.
Upstairs is the Production Floor. Work space is available for artists, sculptors and craftspeople of all types. Some manufacture commercially, others sell their work on the retail floor or accept commissions. Public workshops are also held at The Skillsmithery. Run by design collective Studio Bomba, these weekend sessions are a chance to spend a few hours learning the basics of handlettering, blogging, leathercraft, terrarium making and more.
The roof of the building, formerly a car park for Myer staff, is now part green oasis, part event space. Last summer it featured a popular bar and it's also the home of the FreOasis community garden. Plans for this year aren't finalised yet but it's safe to assume the space will be used in original ways.
MANY is well worth a visit for anyone who is looking for exceptional handmade items. It's also a wonderful example of an unused space turned into a community asset. Have a coffee, read a free book from the Fremantle City Library mobile reading room and enjoy the relaxed and inviting atmosphere.
MANY 6160 is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 5:00.
Hello MaggieVP, MANY sounds lovely. I know my wife will be heading there if we ever get over to WA and I'll be haunting the coffee shop. Thanks for a lovely article that actually makes me want to be there. Regards, Tony