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Former State Theatre (Forum Theatre)

Peter Maltezos's picture
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Text from Walking Melbourne

The National Trust guide to the historic and architectural landmarks of central Melbourne

Former State Theatre (Forum Theatre)

150-162 Flinders Street, corner Russell Street

 

This wildly exotic structure, replete with an ‘Arabian nights’ façade and onion domed tower, was the flagship of the Union Theatre chain and was Australia’s largest silent era picture palace, seating 3370.

Executed by the local architects Bohringer Taylor & Johnson, the design was provided by American theatre specialist John Eberson in his distinctive ‘atmospheric’ style, where the interior is designed to give the impression of a walled Florentine garden, complete with artificial night sky studded with stars, surrounded by statuary (mainly sent out from Eberson’s Boston workshop).

It was built in a race with the equally sumptuous Regent Theatre in Collins Street, and opened first by three and a half weeks in February 1929. Renamed the Forum in 1962 when the balcony was subdivided off to form a second cinema, it became a Revivalist Church in the 1980s, and in the late 1990s became a mixed entertainment venue.

 

How it looked in the 1930s.

 

The Forum at night.

Photo by John Gollings.

 

Several shots of my own.

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Peter Maltezos's picture

I collect, therefore I am.
thecollectormm.com.au

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Peter Maltezos's picture

1980.

I collect, therefore I am.
thecollectormm.com.au

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Peter Maltezos's picture

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/200000piece-jigsaw-artisans-restore-fo...

200,000-piece jigsaw: Artisans restore Forum Theatre's hidden 1920s mosaic

MARCH 25 2017 - 6:20PM Carolyn Webb

Mosaic artisan Fabian Scaunich with the newly restored floor in the Forum's foyer. Photo: Joe Armao

Artisans have raced the clock at one of Melbourne's most loved theatres to restore a 1920s mosaic floor that has been hidden under carpet for 50 years.

The workmen laboured up to 19 hours a day for three months to return the elegant feature, created for the Forum Theatre's opening in 1929, to its former glory.

Melbourne-born, Italian-trained mosaic artisan Fabian Scaunich says the once broken and dirty floor of 200,000 mosaic pieces will be ready for the Comedy Festival launch at the Flinders Street theatre on March 28.

Mr Scaunich and two Italian workmates lifted 40,000 of the most battered pieces, and brushed and washed them.

More than 20,000 of these had to be replaced. The vitrified-ceramic newbies were bought from French company Winckelmans.

But while the Forum originals had an imperial width of three-quarters of an inch, or 19.05 millimetres, the Winckelmans versions measured 20mm, so they were cut by water jet at a Dandenong company so that each new piece matched the older ones.

Mr Scaunich said a mosaic "is not just something you can bung together. You have to go through the process."

To put the "jigsaw" together, up to 400 pieces at a time were glued to small blocks of paper sheets – in deliberately imperfect lines to match the 1920s pieces.

I collect, therefore I am.
thecollectormm.com.au

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johnproctor's picture

awesome!

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