AS Victoria’s historic 1930s property Burnham Beeches gets set to be transformed into a luxury hotel, street artist Rone has been adding another level of decay to the already dilapidated venue.
The property, in the heart of the Dandenong Ranges, has had a colourful history. In high times it was a much-admired art deco style hotel with guests including the Prince and Princess of Wales in the 1980s.
Having laid dormant for the best part of 25 years, it fell into disrepair. Then, entrepreneur and celebrity chef Shannon Bennett and partner Adam Garrison bought the property in 2014 with ambitious plans for an emu farm, piggery, trufferie and restaurants, brewery, shop, cafe, a spa, cooking school, group accommodation, and outdoor cinema/concert facilities.
Last October, Bennett and Garrison finally received approval to begin work.
But before the spade hits the earth, they have handed the property over to Melbourne street artist Rone (Tyrone Wright), known for artworks in and around the urban streets of Melbourne's inner-north, and in abandoned houses and venues – as well as the Silo Art Trail.
His works depict haunting, stylised portraits of women's faces, aimed at finding the friction between beauty and decay.
Rone's takeover of Burnham Beeches will be the biggest project he has ever undertaken. One of the first priorities, was to ensure the venue was presented in an extreme state of distress and decay, including new techniques developed to create the look of mould, peeling and chipped walls and surfaces.
With styling and sound effects added, each room evokes a different feeling. Rone's muse for the project is actor Lily Sullivan (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Mental).
The exhibition, known as EMPIRE, opens on March 6 for six weeks. Tickets- $15 adults, $10 concessions - can be booked online or at the door. There will be eight sessions and day and some evenings. One day a week will be dedicated to school groups. Some private dinners will also be held with catering by the Vue Group.