I attended the launch of the new Information, Cultural Exchange ICE/SWITCH centre in Parramatta this week and was inspired by the creative energy and commitment I witnessed. I’ve worked with a lot of people who have been active in Parramatta digital arts and culture over the years and ICE or SWITCH usually figures in their history.
The new centre has been designed to be a focus for creative activities in Sydney’s West and will run workshops and short courses as well as host business incubation and creative projects. The design of the space is very innovative and they’ve really managed to build in a lot of potential for flexible use.
It’s a renovated warehouse space really – previously a Vincent De Paul second hand goods centre. The design is very open – large Mac computer screens are featured in the reception foyer mounted above round tables. As you walk into the space a kitchen area is centrally placed with an island bar suitable for hosting events but also small creative meetings over a cup of coffee.
Two computer labs are visible from the foyer behind large glass windows and at the rear of the building there is a large multi-function space suitable for performances, meeting and events. Glass folding doors separate a big meetings and function room at the rear of the building which can also be opened to become part of the larger open performance space. Multiple video projectors and flat panel screens were used to display some of the dynamic work that has come out of the centre.
Finally I was really impressed by the open plan upstairs offices and a space (not quite finished) that is going to host incubator projects and businesses – a large open plan space with a view of the parkland at the Parramatta end of Victoria Rd.
The centre was launched by NSW Arts Minister Virginia Judge and there were some inspirational speeches including the Chair of the ICE Board Susan Green who related her personal story of empowerment through her work with ICE.