About Space is all about showcasing people making and presenting original items, in temporary locations at the heart of our city. It's also a chance for groundbreaking businesses to try their hand in a central retail space, or in our neighbourhood communities such as Naenae.
Spaces are cleaned, windows washed and the lights turned on. Projects create vibrancy and activity on a temporary basis, and help brighten our central city.
The projects we support have a local focus and must bring new and unique ideas to our CBD and neighborhood. About Space's pop-up shops and community displays give our local artists, community groups and entrepreneurs a chance to shine.
Our work in the CBD
In the four years since About Space started we've done great work to reduce the number of vacant spaces in the CBD:
- 68 projects across 38 properties
- of those properties activated, 16 are now commercially tenanted
- many tenants are new businesses that brought over 60 jobs into the CBD.
More than 22,000 people visited an About Space Project in the CBD.
The programme is successful largely due to the generosity of the property owners that allow the use of these vacant spaces where the only benefit they are offered is staging the space for an eventual commercial tenant.
This year’s Common Ground Public Art Festival in February partnered with About Space for the largest multi-space activation at Centre City Plaza. The festival used seven vacant spaces and the public space to feature a variety of community art projects, talks and interactive workshops. More than 600 people visited the Centre City Plaza during the eight day festival.
Our work in the Naenae community
With the success of the About Space programme in the CBD we have set up an About Space programme in Naenae.
There are some very generous property owners in Naenae that will allow their vacant spaces to be used, where the only benefit they are offered is staging the space for an eventual commercial tenant.
With the housing developments that are happening in the community we believe it is time to work to revitalise the first pedestrian shopping centre in the country into a vibrant shopping centre again.
Apply to run a project in the Naenae community and watch this space for updates on the exciting things happening in programme.
Our latest projects
Milk bar cowboys, ice cream and the modern office: step back in time and experience the 1950's in the Hutt.
For the first decade after the war Lower Hutt was at the forefront of Modern Movement architecture in New Zealand. Housing and commercial developments in the Hutt Valley enabled some of New Zealand’s leading architects to fully explore town planning and functional design, key elements of the Modern Movement.
About Space and Council Archives is hosting a popup exhibition featuring images of the iconic Modernist Movement buildings built in Lower Hutt during the 1950’s. The popup will also highlight icons from the era, royal visits and teenage rebellion in the Hutt.
Activities at the exhibition
Highlights include a milk bar vignette complete with ice cream from Carrello del Gelato, kids' games and activities and memorabilia from the infamous Elbe’s Milk Bar.
We'll host performances by the Lower Hutt Rock ‘N Roll Society, a speaker series on architecture, social history and their connections to our lives today and film of the lives and times in the Hutt.
We're looking for vacant spaces
We'd like to thank the owners of 120 High Street and 4 Laings Road for their generous involvement with the About Space project.
We've recently wrapped up some projects in the CBD and we're now on the lookout for new space in the city centre to revitalise and turn into vibrant business and community spaces!
Get in touch with us if you have vacant space that you'd like to enliven, or if you'd like to attract new tenants into your retail space with a pop-up event.
Find out how to offer us a pop-up retail space, how to apply for a business trial or how to suggest a community project. Plus, find out how you can keep up to date with what we're doing in the CBD and Naenae.
Check our Facebook page for more updates.