Wednesday, May 19, 2010

World's spot of bother in Woollahra

Those kooky kids over at World have come to blows with Woollahra Council, which apparently doesn't have much of a sense of humour. The Auckland-based fashion brand, which bills itself as a “factory of ideas and experiments” (the dress, below, is from their AW10 collection) and operates eight stores in NZ and Sydney, has come to the attention of the council regarding a paint job that was recently given to its Paddington, Sydney store. As it emerges, multi-coloured polka dots are illegal in Sydney's trendiest shopping strip. In a letter dated May 17th, Craig Jenner, Woollahra Municipal Council’s Team Leader – Compliance, gave World’s landlord 28 days to nix them.

both images/world

Here are a few terms of the order:

1. Restore the subject premises to the condition in which they were before work was unlawfully carried out by:

(a) Removing from the shop window the multi-coloured polka dots and:

(b) Painting the walls to the façade of the shop in a uniform colour, to remove the unauthorised multi-coloured polka dots that have been painted onto the front façade of the shop adjacent to Glenmore Road.

The letter goes on to say:

1. Condition 9 of development consent DA625/2004 requires the exterior colour scheme for the subject premises to accord with the requirements of Part 5.2.9. of the Paddington Development Control Plan 1999.

4. Council is satisfied that the multi-coloured polka dots displayed on the window and wall surfaces of the building are an advertisement. “Advertisement” is defined in Woollahra Local Environmental Plan 1995 as “a display by the use of colour, pattern, symbols…for promotional purposes… whether or not the display includes the erection of a structure of the carrying out of work”.

6. The advertisement does not satisfy the exempt development criteria for a flush wall sign or a window shop front sign, or the criteria for advertising in Heritage Conservation Areas, as specified in Woollahra Development Control Plan Exempt & Complying Development 2005.

It is not the first time that the council has taken issue with a fashion retailer in this vicinity.

In 2004, Woollahra Council deputy mayor Keri Huxley described the green used by World’s neighbour, Scanlan & Theodore, for its new Sydney flagship on the corner of Oxford Street and Glenmore Road, as a "hideous" and "particularly disgusting colour".

Huxley was unable to veto the colour however, because it was included in the building's development approval.

World's response?

“We are outraged the council is so ignorant and lazy!” World director Francis Hooper told frockwriter.

“If they just took the time to ask us why?! World wanted to make a statement for the season, to bring colourful cheer to the neighbourhood, to take away the doom and gloom and recession fever that has gripped the city. All the locals love it! We have become a mini tourist attraction. We have only had positives from everyone. Even our landlord has commended us on uplifting the area. It’s obvious this wonderful spotty art is just a temporary installation. Trust the council to bully a small business out of business. Arse holes!”


brooke said...

a. Scanlan and Theodore is a beautiful colour, what could be wrong with that green? It's just fine!

b. Robby Ingham! worst facade ever, it looks horrible and it's polka dots!

also, I love that they called woolahra arse holes. classic.


Anonymous said...

melissa said...

oh for heaven sakes...i am across the road and I think its just a bit of fun.....they are vinyl. Not permanent.

Sunster said...

boring ignoramus indeed
if they were serious about their local concerns withing their "council" and actually looked at what these "dots" were doing, they would be giving them some sort of recognition for adding life and colour to the grey

i say good on you guys
and fuck Craig Jenner, who is obviously a team wanker and not a leader

patty don't you dare sensor my comment, I don't care about lawyers, free speech !!

tamara said...

I understand the need for rules and boundaries, but surely something so uplifting hardly deserves to be met with such a firm hand.

It's neither a danger to the people of Sydney, nor offensive.

Come on council, deal with the bigger issues here. Like driving traffic to these independent shopping strips, which are being slaughtered by the Westfield monoliths.

Anonymous said...

thank you anonyamous, indeed there is nothing original about these dots, they are a copy of Kusama's work. A japanese artist who has been using dots as her motif since the 60's, this is just a rip off of the Wellington exhibition exterior.
Not an example of originality coming from a business that says they are a factory of ideas, hardly!

LS Stylist said...

Wow this is amazing - World is such a fun store (with amazing pieces!) I couldn't think of a better place for vinyl polkadots. The Council should be supporting them.

Anonymous said...

dear anonymous,

of course its a copy of kasuma but who cares!
copying is a form of flattery and majority of post modern art borrows anyway. kasuma didnt invent the polkadot...
hurrah for world! it looks amazing.....

Helen said...

When I saw this I thought it was Kusama, but there is no mention that they copied the work she did to the Wellington City Gallery last year, which I saw first hand (

But unlike what the latest Anon says, this doesn't feel like a form of flattery.

Meanwhile, of course the Woollarhra council doesn't like this stunt by World. Isn't everything in the inner suburbs of Sydney hertitage listed so you can't even renovate a place without going through about 20 steps of approval?

Do I smell a publicity stunt? Maybe.

Anonymous said...

In the fashion industry particularly, copying is grounds for a lawsuit not flattery.

The council are dogs here, but world went beyond appropriation. This is like for like. A shame really.

Anonymous said...

I happen to love it.

DARIAN ZAM said...

I remember when I first arrived in Sydney 20 years ago the absolutely FIRST thing I saw was in Darlington as the Taxi pulled onto Oxford Street - a whole row of colourfully painted shops including Sweet Art (the rest were fashion shops and are long gone). I thought it was amazing. Viva la colour I say, the more the better and good on Mr. Hooper for not holding back in his response.

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