Art

Review: Sugar Republic

22 February 2019

Hidden away on the sixth floor of Myer in Bourke Street is Sugar Republic, a colourful and exuberant interactive pop-up art installation about all things sugar.

Walking out of the elevator, we were greeted by friendly and upbeat staff who were able to cloak our bags, check us in, and set a fun tone for the morning.

A colourful curtain of hanging strips mark the entry way, with a multitude of different themed rooms ahead. First was a Willy Wonka-themed space, with some props to interact with, and a swing nestled around the corner. Next was a nostalgic milk bar mural, which was a nice tribute to traditional Aussie milk bars, and a nod to the creator’s first job in Prahran.

Many of the rooms are filled with colourful hand painted murals, wonderful patterns and fun quotes, and there’s plenty of confetti scattered around the gallery. Even the music playing throughout was sugar-themed (think Milkshake by Kelis), making it hard not to get into the spirit.

Playing around in an adult-sized ball pit was my highlight, and reminded me of just how much fun I had playing in these during my childhood – which I’m pretty sure was the point of the entire exhibition! The giant ball pit is, of course, representative of colourful sprinkles, but even more unique is the view. You can take in scenes of the city while wading and jumping through the ball pit, or floating on a fairy bread shaped lilo, as it is surrounded by glass walls. Don’t forget, though, you will need to have socks if you want to have a turn.

Sugar Republic staff walk between the rooms offering a variety of free lollies and sweets, of which you can and should take as many as you like. There’s just something fun about chewing Hubba Bubba while in an oversized Hubba Bubba-themed room, or eating Skittles while surrounded by rainbows. There are other free samples around the exhibit, and I would encourage you to make the most of them! (They have vegan icecream options too, and they suggest chatting the the staff if you have dietaries). The staff are really really keen to help make it the best time possible, and so they are happy to take as many photos and videos as you like for the ‘gram.

I went at 11:30am on a Monday, and there were enough people for atmosphere but not too many that we had to wait for things, which is the perfect balance for me. They also have some adult only night sessions available, if you are wanting some child-free fun.

Sugar Republic is open from February 10 until May 20.


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