Melbourne Literary: Secret Message in Centreway Arcade

IMG_0919The Centreway Building was built in 1911-1912 and refurbished in the 1980s. During the latter work, a designer with a keen sense of irony installed a feature wall in the middle of the arcade.

A grid pattern on the wall is affixed with numerous letters (if you climb up to the first floor you can see them more clearly). Although hard to read, the letters spell out the following message:

“We live in a society that sets an inordinate value on consumer goods and services.”

It’s an intriguingly non-consumerist message for a shopping arcade. Nice work from the refurbishment architects, Cocks Carmichael and Whitford! (The original buildings architects, from the 1911-12 construction, were HW + FB Tompkins.)

For the font nerds among us, the message is in uppercase Helvetica.


A few years ago, I created the Melbourne Literary and Melbourne Peculiar apps in celebration of Melbourne’s standing as a UNESCO City of Literature, as well as some of the daggy, weird and downright peculiar things I love about my city. I thought I’d share the occasional entry from the apps. They are still available on both iTunes and Android, though they are no longer updated.