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Upcycling

Gallery & Workshop

Property Donor: The GPT Group


Shop 2, Silk House, 200 Hunter St Mall, Newcastle NSW 2300

Contact: Nick Nelson e: [email protected]


UPDATE November 2009 Nick has moved out of his shopfront in the Hunter St Mall and heading to San Francisco for inspiration. When he is back in Australia he plans to continue offering Upcycling workshops.


Upcycling is a gallery and workshop featuring art and design that has been refashioned in interesting ways. It’s the brainchild of Nick Nelson, a 31 year old graphic designer who recently moved to Newcastle form Sydney.

Nick works as a graphic designer creating visual designs, identities and systems that communicate and motivate for small to large business, organisations and individuals but Upclycing comes from his life long interest in the environment.

“I’ve had a strong interest in recycled, re-purposed design that is imaginative and motivates, which also inspires us to be more conscious of our environment,” Nick says, “I created a blog on the subject and got a bit of interest. I also wanted to spend less time designing on a computer all day and more time designing in a tactile and spontaneous way. Renew Newcastle popped up and seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore this interest by way of having a workspace and gallery.”

“Renew Newcastle inspired me to have a crack at this interest of mine because it offers both a limited risk combined with huge potential. It works on so many levels; I get to follow an interest of mine, I have a physical place to display it, I have little to risk financially, I get to meet other like minded people, and I get to be a part of an innovative new way of promoting artistic and creative endeavors by way of free shop space in an otherwise run down area.”

“It’s a great opportunity to create a new creative precinct that offers immense potential to revive a place which has been in decline in this area for years with energy and enthusiasm.”

The space is called Upcyclingand functions as both a gallery and a workshop. It features art and design that has been recycled from discarded materials in highly imaginative ways.

“People will be able to see how local and international designers have used discarded objects and transformed them into ingenious designs that function both as art works and useful items, not to mention the added benefit of making us more conscious of today’s throwaway society and the decline of our natural environment in general,” says Nick.

“Upcycling is a place to not only view these exciting designs but also have a chance to upcycle something yourself via a workshop, for both children and adults. It’s also a place to be inspired by not only the art and design but also books on design, art and the environment.”

“My space was a real blank canvas – literally a blank piece of concrete wall! With excellent double access and glass walls front and back, it gets a lot of natural light which fills up the spacious interior and provides a perfect gallery and workshop setting. It’s also got harbour views!”

“The space has been lying dormant and unused for two years since the reconstruction of the historical building called Silkhouse was done. It used to be a department store and Italian shoe maker. My response to the space has been to try and accentuate the dominant feature of clean straight lines that lead the eye from the front of the shop, to the back, and through to the green strip of grass and out to busy, energetic Newcastle harbor. The raw hard surfaces throughout the space of concrete walls, floor, and ceiling, combined with two entire glass walls provide a generous amount of natural light and opportunity to present work on the large expansive walls.”

“My aim is to keep the space uncluttered and maintain the rawness of the space with emphasis back onto the art and design within the space.”