Art & Design


For A Different Gift This Christmas

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If you’re down to the wire this Christmas and still searching for the gift that will show what a loving, thoughtful person you are, you might consider dropping by Magic Lantern. Opened just over two months ago this Brunswick Street shop, studio and gallery specialises in pre-cinematic toys, art, books and general oddities.

Melbourne artist Lucy Parkinson and her partner Gonzalo Varela, a visual artist from Argentina, lived in Barcelona painting murals and running artist cooperatives before returning to Melbourne and opening Magic Lantern. A world away from the neon and noise of modern toy stores, Magic Lantern feels like a toy maker’s workshop from another era; with home-made toy theaters, marionettes, vintage view-a-scopes, sketch books and novels with titles like ‘A Short History Of The Wolf In Britain’. Lucy and Gonzalo tell me they want the space to be like a playground for young and old, where everything is interactive and able to handled. It’s also fun. How often do you get to flick though vintage flip books and play with a zoetrope?  Many items are hand made by local artisans, and when I visit Lucy’s father is out the back building magic lantern light boxes to keep up with the Christmas rush.

Magic Lantern is also a studio, where Lucy, Gonzalo and artists from a variety of disciplines collaborate. And it will soon be a gallery, where the products of these collaborations will be displayed. It’s an exciting, ambitious concept –  their first exhibition, planned for April, will feature animation strips for zoetropes, praxinoscopes and animation disks for phenakistoscopes!

For a one-of-a-kind gift or to simply re-kindle your inner-kid sense of wonder, amble into Magic Lantern.

Magic Lantern
155 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Open 11 – 7 until Christmas Eve
Re-opening Jan 4
Artists interested in collaborating on with Magic Lantern should email

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