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Bondi Beach: Culture for Sale

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 Bondi Beach: Culture for Sale - ArtLife Magazine

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Sydney. Australia is an infant in comparison to countries such as England. What we lack in age, we make up for in culture. Ask any Sydney-Sider and they will tell you about the increase of “alternative” "hipster types" who eat organic and dress in mismatched floral outfits. Sydney has developed into a city with trendy areas dominated by beautiful cafes, each more distinctive than the next. The café culture in Sydney has blossomed to match that of Melbourne, a city that had previously dominated the café spotlight with small, side alleys buzzing with coffee enthusiasts, workers needing a quick coffee hit or curious tourists. Sydney has really cleaned up its act. Bondi Beach has and continues to transform into an area where well-clothed locals acquire finely ground coffee at a number of popular hole-in-the-wall locations. One of Bondi’s newest stores, The Stable D.S. Co-Op, offers an experience that excites all of your senses.

The ‘Concept Store’.
While exploring Gould Street, a road running parallel to the famous Bondi Beach, I was fascinated by a newly opened store that combines two important components of Bondi; clothes and coffee. The Stable D.S. Co-Op is a ‘concept store,’ a new idea that I predict will soon be adopted in other shopping and coffee areas in Sydney such as Paddington, Newtown and Surry Hills. As the skilled barista froths the milk for a soy latte, you are left to explore the clothing racks that feature a range of popular Australian and international clothing labels. While neighbouring stores also offer unique clothing, The Stable D.S Co-Op attracted a range of customers, expanding their market to incorporate Bondi-goers who simply want to grab a coffee on the go, or travellers who want a taste of Bondi without spending too much money. The all glass storefront has the baristas facing the street to serve passers-by and lure shoppers to step inside. The large store is uncommon for Gould Street, with clothing hanging from the walls on vintage hooks and a few low laying tables displaying jewellery and fashion items, the minimalistic layout is an uncommon feature of a Bondi store as other stores are forced to adopt creative art-like architectural displays to maximise the space within a small store. This need for creativity has added to the attractiveness of Bondi Beach as it has become fashionable to develop a unique, almost ‘cramped’ layout for boutiques.

Is Buckler’s Buckling?
The cultural boom in Sydney has impacted all aspects of the Bondi lifestyle, from the clothing to cafes, even nightlife. The Buckler’s Canteen is a bar that opened only a few years ago but had immediate success as locals and travellers quickly became regular customers, showing up every night after work to absorb the atmosphere and a bit of alcohol. Constantly buzzing and filled with excitement, The Bucker’s Canteen is now home to local bands such as The Barefoot Band, providing up and coming bands with a place to express their creativity in an intimate environment. Despite this bar being one of the hottest spots in Sydney, it will soon close to make way for a large supermarket that will dominate the prime real estate. Could the recent cultural shift be something to fear?

Bondi’s recent architectural changes resemble that of Miami’s South Beach changes some years ago. South Beach, a now commercial and industrialized landscape, is designed to primarily accommodate tourists’ needs with extravagant hotels and the latest fashions. Just as South Beach has Lincoln Road, a large-scale open-air shopping area with clothing corporations such as H&M and famous nightclubs, Bondi’s Hakoah Club was recently demolished and replaced by a beautifully modern building with serviced apartments, residential units and a shopping centre. These changes to Bondi Beach have, and continue to increase the influx of tourism with Sydney becoming an enticing holiday destination. These developmental changes will inevitably impact the locals, as families who have lived in Bondi for generations may be forced to move as commercialization leads to increase in property price and the cost of living. This is the result of decisions made by Waverly Council, the local jurisdiction, who favour development as it increases the influx of customers and visitors, guaranteeing a large injection of money into their pockets. Perhaps the fame Bondi has amassed due to its unique culture will result in a commercialized landscape littered with hotels, damaging its natural integrity and creating an unliveable landscape for the locals.

Bondi Beach is loved for its atmosphere, laid back lifestyle and beautiful natural surroundings. I fear major changes to the man-made aesthetics of Bondi area will impinge upon the atmosphere, as locals will migrate to other areas, eradicating an important pillar of attraction. Sydney proves the promise of bright and sunny weather to eager world travellers, however I am ambivalent if the future looks this way to the locals.

Lifestyle - Spectacle
by Jessica Fuchs | Thursday, 11 July 2013


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