Federation Square has come a long way in 15 years and the next big change is not far off, with news last week that part of the site will be demolished to make way for an Apple Store.
The announcement has been met with online petitions voicing strident opposition, and been roundly criticised on social media.
It’s making for a bumpy end to a year that should have ended on a positive note for the public space that celebrated its 15th birthday in October.
Over the years the square has played host to big international stars including Oprah Winfrey, and become a popular place to watch big sporting events like the Australian Open.
But it hasn’t always been a crowd favourite. When it first opened in 2002, many Melburnians regarded Federation Square as ugly – and Matt Jones, Fed Square’s General Manager for Programmes, says opinion is still divided – although nowadays it’s a lot more positive.
“Fed Square has its lovers and its loathers in terms of its aesthetic and the physical design of the space – it always has and it always will – and in a sense that’s a good thing for us as it keeps people discussing us,” Mr Jones told Hatch.
Mr Jones is also overseeing a new ‘Digital Experience’ for the square, which will open in 2018 and transform the way the space is used.
“I think it’s going to mark the start of Fed Square part 2, and will give the community a fresh mode in which to engage with us,” he said.
To hear more from Matt Jones – and from visitors during the Square’s 15th birthday year, check out the video below.
Story and video by Jordan Buchanan (@mrjbuchanan).