Art, music and food collide at King Street’s inclusive new hub Space & Co.
As we gradually pry ourselves from the grip of the pandemic, it’s becoming more and more apparent that what we seek in a night out has changed. While dinner and drinks is something we’ll never do away with, the urge for a more sensory experience is rising. People want a ticket to something! Space & Co., a newly open multifaceted destination on King Street, is bringing music, visual art, drinks (both boozy and alcohol-free kinds), Japanese and Korean-inspired street food and inclusive vibes together under one roof. In a time where Brisbane’s art and hospitality scenes are trying to hone in on a new normal, Space & Co. is blazing a path forward with an all-in-one approach. Read on for a look inside …
When COVID-19 slowed Brisbane’s dining scene to a standstill, Hannah Sands turned to her music. The alt-pop artist, who since 2018 had been working as venue manager at King Street spot Welcome to Bowen Hills, took time to focus on her original compositions. As lockdowns eased and Hannah returned to work, she noticed that the kind of experience people were seeking no longer aligned with what was on offer at Welcome to Bowen Hills, so she decided to instigate some change and imbue a bit of her artistic passion into the mix. Hannah’s plan – to not only rebrand the venue, but also realign its values and scope – has resulted in Space & Co., a venue that complements an all-embracing food and drink offering with a creative focus and community-minded ethos. Overhauling the kitchen, which had long been a simple pizza dispensary, was one of Hannah’s first orders of business – inquiries were made to find an established operator that could deliver a menu capable of catering to the quick-lunch crowd while also nailing pre-gig feeds and linger-worthy dinners. Léa Angeles and Shaun Fugill of Teneriffe’s Zero Fox agreed to take on the task, bringing across its famed menu of Japanese- and Korean-inspired eats, which includes octopus karaage, ssam wraps, kimchi fries, bulgogi beef bowls, katsu sandos, salmon aburi nigiri and soft-shell crab baos. Up next was the bar offering, which has been overhauled to not only offer local craft beer from Green Beacon, vino from Nelson Wine Co. and a clutch of classic cocktails, but also a booze-free component featuring Heaps Normal’s IPA and Brew Dog’s Nanny State beers and non-alcoholic mocktails made using Lyre’s booze-free spirits – making Space & Co. a welcoming stop for those practicing temperance or simply eager for a dry night.
Space & Co.’s arrival comes at a pivotal moment in Brisbane’s art scene, which is still reeling from the repercussions of extended capacity restrictions. Hannah, alongside Space & Co.’s music booker Hope Defteros (known to many under the pseudonym Hope D) is looking to energise the venue’s atmosphere with stripped back Tiny Desk-style gigs from local ensembles and solo acts – not only giving artists another space to perform, but also a venue that is a far cry from the bar-first music venues where alcohol reigns as the preeminent product offered. Space & Co.’s old-school lounge-like performance space, which has been adorned in comfortable locally sourced vintage furniture, is a pressure-free nook for all kinds of acts, from free mid-week jazz shows by JMI’s jam band to EP launches from emerging acts on weekends. As a venue run by artists for artists, Hannah hopes to create a groundswell of grassroots community engagement with music, liaising with local organisations to create a non-discriminatory location for networking events, showcases for up-and-coming talent and a safe space for queer events.
In addition to being a performance hub for local musicians, Space & Co. is also looking to support visual artists. Hannah and her team have stripped back the previous iteration’s colour-heavy aesthetic to a more pared-back industrial-style foundation in order to funnel attention to a plethora of eye-catching artworks coating the venue’s walls and a host of plywood planters outside. In addition to feature murals and smaller external works, a gallery space in the dining area showcases framed works. According to Rozelle Tan and Maxim Chikanchi of MCRT.Studio – the artistic duo behind Space & Co.’s two feature murals – there’s a rising need for more avenues for artists to speak their voice. Venues like Space & Co. allow creatives to contribute to the overarching identity of the site and introduce locals to art outside of a traditional gallery framework. Space & Co.’s walls double as a living canvas, evolving over time as more artists add their personal touch. For now, vivid works from MCRT.Studio, Brigid Holt, Isabelle Cowan and Kayla Coombs are viewable inside and out, with more to come in the future.
Space & Co. is open to the public. Click over to the Stumble Guide to check out the venue’s opening hours and contact details.
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