The Martian Embassy / LAVA

  • 25 Jul 2012
  • Retail Selected Works
© Brett Boardman

Architects: LAVA
Location: NSW,
Project Manager: Berents Project Management
Project Year: 2012
Project Area: 150 sqm
Photographs: Brett Boardman, Peter Murphy

The new embassy was designed by LAVA, with partners Will O’Rourke and The Glue Society, as a fusion of a whale, a rocket and a time tunnel, an immersive space of oscillating plywood ribs brought to life by red planet light and sound projections.

© Brett Boardman

LAVA’s design for the Martian Embassy is for The Sydney Story Factory, a not-for-profit creative writing centre for young people in Redfern, Sydney. The project was a collaboration with production company Will O’Rourke and their creative partners The Glue Society, who developed the Martian concept which was then road tested with kids – of all ages.

© Brett Boardman

Chris Bosse, Asia Pacific director of LAVA said: ‘It’s the stuff great stories are made of – think of Moby Dick, H. G. Wells’ Time Machine and 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick’.

© Brett Boardman

‘The concept is to awaken creativity in kids, so the design acts as a trigger, firing up the engines of imagination. It’s an intergalactic journey – from the embassy, at the street entrance, to the shop full of red planet traveller essentials, to the classroom. By the time kids reach the writing classes they have forgotten they are in “school”.’

© Peter Murphy

‘Using a fluid geometry merging the three program components [embassy, school and shop], a computer model was sliced and ‘nested’ into buildable components. 1068 pieces of CNC-cut plywood were put together like a giant puzzle. Using technologies from the yacht and space industry the timber ribs create shelves, seats, benches, storage, counters and displays and continue as strips on the floor. Edged with Martian green, the curvy plywood flows seamlessly so that walls, ceiling and floor, space, structure and ornament, become one element.’

Detail 02

A mix of Martian essential oils infuses the tunnel to inspire young imaginations, whilst the sounds and lights of the red planet animate the space.
Martian passports, alien money, 1kg cans of gravity, abduction kits and SPF 5000 sunscreen are just some of the ‘Made on Mars’ gift products sold in the Martian Embassy store. ‘We had a lot of fun creating the first diplomatic mission from inner space’, added Bosse.

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Cite: "The Martian Embassy / LAVA" 25 Jul 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • benyamin

    thanks for pretty pictures.

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  • fred

    really nice space
    warm and special
    children would love it.
    not sure about the alien kitch but spatially breathtaking

  • al

    beautiful interior and worthy cause.
    i can see children all over the space writing stories about aliens and whales and dinosaurs as soon as they walk in