Members Spotlight: China Heights Gallery

Established in 2004, China Heights Gallery has built a long-standing working methodology, that benefits from a unique curatorial voice, one that engages a dynamic network of artists and applies an extensive range of practical expertise. Through numerous public projects, independent installations and commercial commissions the Gallery has been instrumental within the contemporary Australian art landscape.

The basis of the curatorial program, draws upon practitioners who successfully co-exist within the spheres of art and design and possess a creative versatility in the application of their ideas and aesthetics. China Heights seeks to cultivate an environment of deep immersion using a non-linear narrative, where each artist generates a specific portion yet perpetuates the vision of the whole.

Image of Jarrad Lynagh, by Oscar Coleman:

Members Spotlight: Urban Village Magazine

Urban Village Editor Lochlan Colquhoun reveals what in store for the Autumn edition of this hyper-local magazine.


The current autumn edition of Urban Village is on the streets and in letterboxes throughout Surry Hills, Redfern and Darlinghurst, featuring Shakespeare Hotel licensee Kelly Hargreaves on the cover.

The story outlines the history of the Hargreaves family in Surry Hills, from the time in 1975 when Kelly’s mother Margaret bought the pub and the family lived upstairs.

Now, of course, the family are embedded in the neighbourhood with Margaret also the licencee at the Strawberry Hills, and on any given day there might be three generations of the family working across the pubs.

This is the fourth edition of Urban Village and the magazine is moving to a quarterly format this year, with plans to compliment the print edition with an enhanced online offering.

One of the great things which has struck me from editing and writing for Urban Village since we launched the magazine last September is how just about everyone I meet has an interesting story to tell.

 We do a lot of business profiles because that is part of what we do: a big part of our mission is to promote local businesses to the community.

Some people might think they are pretty run of the mill stories, but I haven’t found that to be the case, and it certainly wasn’t the case when I went to the new veterinary clinic and hospital on Crown Street.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t Dr Nima Rahmani. He was passionate about his job and obviously extremely professional, which is what I had expected, but I hadn’t expected to hear his amazing and poignant story.

He was a young man, not yet 40, who had left his native Iran in his 20s and come to Australia to pursue his dream of living in a free and democratic country and pursuing his veterinary career.

The Australian system didn’t recognise his Iranian qualifications, so he worked in catering at Sydney Airport while he not only studied to pass his Australian exams but also to pay for them.

And on top of that, if he hadn’t passed first time his ability to stay in Australia would have been compromised so he was in a “must do” situation, and had to pass an examination where only 11 per cent of people pass first time.

Happily, he did pass, which is an amazing testament to him, and then began an odyssey around regional Australia as he gained experience as a vet and worked his way back to Sydney.

I found it an inspiring personal story and an example of how if you just scratch beneath the surface of a neighbourhood like Surry Hills, great stories are everywhere.

Another story we have in the current edition came to us in response to something we’d done earlier.

As a younger person I’d played a lot of cricket in Moore Park, and wrote a nostalgic piece on the great days of the Moore Park Cricket Competition, one of the oldest park competitions in Australia which was graced by legends like Victor Trumper and Bill O’Reilly.

From that, we had a call from Virginia Hall who has lived on Cleveland Street for 40 years and who was interested in my story.

Virginia told us that a workshop at the rear of her house was used as a cricket bat workshop from 1895 to the 1950s as a family run business operated by the Dye family.

Donald Bradman, she said, had used Dye bats when he arrived in Sydney in the 1920s, and she still had some old patterns used in bat making.

I did some digging and discovered that not only had Bradman used the bats, but so had other iconic players including Trumper and the famous Gregory brothers.

It didn’t stop there, though. As a cricket fan and a history buff I have often been fascinated by a famous photograph of ANZAC troops playing cricket at Gallipoli in a break from the fighting in World War One.

In researching the Dye bat making enterprise I was fascinated to learn that the “Comfort Fund,” a charity which collected money from the public to buy extras for Australian troops, had purchased Dye bats which were sent overseas in WW1.

So it is quite possible that bats made in Virginia’s house on Cleveland Street were sent to Turkey in 1915 and were used in that famous ANZAC photograph.

All of these amazing stories are emanating from Surry Hills.

We look forward to uncovering more as Urban Village gains even more momentum in 2018.


Meet Deepend

Meet Deepend! 

October 16, 2015 by Haakon Bjoern-Hansen
    From the office space of Deepend. Photo: Private.

   From the office space of Deepend. Photo: Private.

It is time to introduce you to another creative member of our chamber. Through their Creative Director, Nitin Mistry, we would like you to meet Deepend!

Could you please begin by briefly explaining what Deepend is and what you do?

 Nitin Mistry, Creative Director at Deepend

Nitin Mistry, Creative Director at Deepend

We are Australia’s largest independent digital agency, with a focus on communications, content and platforms. We help businesses succeed with great engineered ideas and innovations, which have people at their heart. Deepend is proudly part of a four-agency collective, the Deepend Group.

I’m the Creative Director which means I lead all creative aspects of a project, from initial ideation to final output and beyond.

Take us through your typical day at work as a Creative Director 

Coffee, write to-do list, check blogs and industry news, creative team meeting, oversee multiple projects, client meetings, quick lunch, oversee multiple projects, client meetings, coffee, finally start on a brief I was given two days ago with a deadline of tomorrow morning, lack of ideas leads to panic, listen to music, have multiple ideas pop into my brainbox, get excited, relief and then relax.

With so much going on in the present, what are the future plans for Deepend?

To remain ahead of the curve and continue to innovative in a world where the industry landscape is changing at an exceptional pace.  

How would you describe the organisational culture of your business?

Fast paced would be an understatement. But this speed is met with a hunger to do things better. Innovation is such an overused word, but it really is at the core of Deepend’s mission. Every project we work on and every decision we make is steeped in that ethos.

Why did you get involved with the SHCP?

Because, in the digital age, it is more important than ever to remain an integrated part of your community and make solid connections with surrounding businesses. 

What are the most important lessons you have learned from working at Deepend?

Most important lesson: Talk to as many people in the agency as possible. We have some super smart and passionate individuals with an amazing range of skills, all of whom contribute to outstanding creative solutions.

Second most important lesson: Don’t play Noel, our Design Director, at foosball on a Friday evening if you want to leave in a good mood.

 As they say: Work hard - play hard.

As they say: Work hard - play hard.

Thank you for the advice! Finally; if you could improve one thing in Surry Hills, what would it be?

More coffee shops? Less hills? More manicured beards? Actually I’d leave it as it is, flaws and all. The energy of Surry Hills is unique and it’s imperfections as much as its beauty and creativity make it such an alluring place to work.

A huge thank you to Nitin and Deepend for taking the time for this interview!




Meet Office Space

Let me Introduce You to The Office Space! 

September 7, 2015 by Haakon Bjoern-Hansen

 We met with Sammy Preston (right). Photo: Rachel Yabsley. 

We met with Sammy Preston (right). Photo: Rachel Yabsley. 

This is the first in a series of interviews where we introduce you to our members! To start off the series, SHCP met with Sammy Preston, the communications manager at The Office Space. 

Let's begin with a short introduction. Could you please tell us what The Office Space is all about? 

The Office Space delivers inspiring offices, meeting rooms and communal areas to support the endeavors of individuals through to small and established businesses. Very basically, we create aspirational workplaces to inspire our residents and impress their clients. We create intuitive work environments which are enhanced by architecture, design and art, bolstered by business support services, and activated through an engaging and informative program of events and activities.  

We have two locations in Surry Hills – Paramount by The Office Space in the iconic, heritage listed former Paramount Pictures building, and our HQ Reservoir by The Office Space on Reservoir Street.

The Office Space was founded in 2003 and continues to lead the charge in the share office industry because of its unique and diverse offerings.

We consider ourselves to be more than just an office. We are place makers, motivated by elevating the experiences, professional development and image of all our residents. We achieve this through our investment in the style and culture within our spaces. These components are carefully curated to support and stimulate our residents and switch them on to creative and commercial insights, in turn revealing a world of new business opportunities.

You mentioned The Paramount building, which you just recently expanded into. How have the first few months been? 

It’s been a very exciting time for the business - a second location and second office concept has been on the cards for The Office Space for sometime, and we have had a long love affair with the Paramount building. There is a great new energy within the business, and for those who are a part of our community. It’s been fantastic seeing the vision come to life, and welcoming new faces into the new office. 

 The Office Space offers beautiful offices in the Paramount building. Photo: The Office Space. 

The Office Space offers beautiful offices in the Paramount building. Photo: The Office Space. 

What other future plans do you have for The Office Space? 

At the moment we are focusing on building out our event programming. It is a special part of The Office Space, for our residents to enjoy but also for the wider business community to experience and get to know The Office Space. This program includes our monthly panel series, ‘Insight by The Office Space’, which is held in partnership with the Golden Age Cinema. We also host monthly lunches with local restaurants, and a Friday night social series – which this month is a whisky master-class with our French friends and Le Baron des Spirits.

In the future we hope to look at new locations, and new work concepts. We’re watching the face of Sydney so rapidly changing through everything from new developments to road transformations. As the city changes, we’re always looking for exciting opportunities where we can bring The Office Space concept. 

Why did you get involved with the SHCP? 

We are as much invested in the business community that exists inside of our four walls, as we are in the community that surrounds us and the businesses existing in Surry Hills. So for that reason, being a part of SHCP was very important to us and we jumped at the chance. In collaboration with SHCP we have been able to broaden our business market concept, ‘Quadrangle’ into the greater, all encompassing Surry Hills market event, ‘Carousel.’

Which event are you looking forward to this year? 

Looking forward to working with SHCP on our second edition of Carousel in November. 

Let's finish off with a couple of questions about Surry Hills. If you could improve one thing about the area, what would it be? 

As property values have risen exponentially, I think a lot of the earthiness or grit of Surry Hills has headed west. It would be amazing to be able to draw that back in to the area – artist run galleries and studios etc. I was reading about the Imperial Slacks collective that once upon a time inhabited a whole warehouse right near our offices. I can’t imagine that existing in Surry Hills now. 

And the thing you would never want to change? 

Probably the coffee options. 

We thank the Office Space for taking the time. If you would like to find out more about them, visit

Keep an eye out for the next interview in a week! 

Our First Blog Post

Welcome to the Surry Hills Creative Precinct

We are excited to help shape the Surry Hills Local Economy. Keep a lookout for future blog posts featuring some of Surry Hills' most innovate creative industries and businesses.

Have a great Monday!